songs of the week

8 Best New Songs of the Week

Every week, Vulture highlights the best new music. If the song is worthy of your ears and attention, you will find it here. Read our picks below, share yours in the comments, and subscribe to the Vulture Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year’s best music.

Kings of Leon, “Walls”
What if Kings of Leon weren’t so bad? is what I thought while listening to “Walls.” I thought “weren’t” because there was a time when Kings of Leon meant something and that something was bad. And maybe that thing was easy or lowbrow, but I guess in the time since, I stopped caring. This song is cheesy and earnest, and I like it. It sounds most like Because of the Times, an album that came out nine years ago. Maybe that’s it: The song feels nostalgic. — Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox)

Green Day, “Still Breathing”
I’ve been addicted to Green Day for most of my life, but along the way, a few other addictions have popped up. Billie Joe Armstrong knows what that’s like, to find yourself already lost in something and then completely taken adrift by a vice. The last time Green Day tried to put out an album, they got overambitious, released three (!) practically all at once, then had to halt everything  when BJA relapsed in the middle of it all. I, like too many, wonder a lot about how and when I’ll also self-destruct, which is what makes songs like “Still Breathing” so vital. “Are you scared to death to live?isn’t just some empty verse over a pop-rock–minded song, not if it’s what you need to hear to actually keep you alive. Damaged, restless souls deserve to get fed, too. It’s just like Green Day to cook us up another anthem. — Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Bloc Party, “Stunt Queen”
Ever since their game-changing debut, Silent Alarm, it feels like Bloc Party has been on a journey to get back to it. And yet they never quite recapture their sound and urgency. “Stunt Queen” maybe comes closest. Remember angular guitars? Bloc Party does! — JDF

Peter Doherty, “The Whole World Is Our Playground”
Peter Doherty (and the Libertines, for the matter) still does it for me after all of these years. His new song — which coincides with announcing a new solo album, Hamburg Demonstrations — acts as a perfect reminder as to why I was so attracted to him and his music in the first place. A mellow, calming voice; beautifully simple, understated guitars; and wildly poetic lyrics that could spur hundreds of reflective essays and tattoos. (Also, double points for some of the opening guitar chords harking back to the midsection of the Libertines’ “Tomblands.” One of my faves!) Sit back, relax, and let the tune sail you on over to Albion. Trilby hat optional. — Devon Ivie (@devonsaysrelax)

Katie Ellen, “Wild Heart”
Almost a year ago, Chumped, a pop-punk band we quite liked, broke up. It was a bummer. Well, the band’s lead singer has a new project. No, she’s not Katie Ellen. Not sure who Katie Ellen is. Her name is Anika Pyle and she’s a real, beautiful songwriter. It’s hard to deny Katie Ellen’s music is a great deal more mature, having a sort of lived-in melancholy that we’re more likely to associate with adults. Though there are still some pop-punk/emo vibes, Katie Ellen finds Pyle more in the territory of the Crutchfield sisters (Katie’s Waxahatchee and Allison’s Swearin’), making a sort of indie rock that blends a lot of different styles from the past to create something specifically now. On the group’s Bandcamp, they describe it as “sparkle pop feminist fuzz core.” Works for me. It’s nice. — JDF

Danny Brown, “Tell Me What I Don’t Know”
Whenever Danny Brown drops the maniacal pitch in his voice just know he’s about to deliver a sermon. His new album, Atrocity Exhibition, is out this week, and man, it is good. “Tell Me What I Don’t Know” puts the atrocities of life on the streets on disturbing exhibit — the song just sounds evil, like the angel of death has its eye on you. Paul White’s patient, intricate synth work will give you the Stranger Things creeps, but it’s Brown’s narration of just an ordinary day in the Detroit hood that’ll keep you up at night. — DL

Sugar for Sugar, “Bizarre Love Triangle”
I am an all-out apologist for Scarlett Johansson’s music. Yes, even that Tom Waits album. Especially that Tom Waits album. Her vocals’ lack of affect creates an interesting contrast with Dave Sitek’s production. Have you heard her band’s first song, “Candy?” It’s a good song. Also, I think New Order is a great band to cover. My band covers New Order. Is this all just an excuse to bring up I’m in a band? Always. To be fair, the song was recorded to benefit amfAR. — JDF

You Blew It!, “Autotheology”
It’s an old refrain: Refrains are the best part of songs. You just lock into a phrase — doesn’t matter what it is — and say it over and over, usually while the crowd fist pumps and sings along because it’s only one phrase. I will be honest, I don’t even know what the rest of this song sounds like. I tend to sort of zone out and wait. But then it happens and I need to press repeat. Zone out again and wait. Finally it comes: “When God dies I’ll skip the funeral.” Mmmmm, that’s a sweet refrain. — JDF

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