songs of the week

5 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.

Willow Smith, “Need to Know”
Willow Smith is a singular figure, so much so that if you click through the #transcendentallullabies hashtag she uses on SoundCloud you won’t find anyone else but Willow Smith (listed on the service simply as Wilough). The youngest Smith is like a delicate alien who’s just touched down on Earth and isn’t so interested in learning our native customs as she is in teaching us hers. Her songs tend to sound like little dreams, and her sweet, airy voice is capable of a surprising emotional heartiness. “Need to Know” is from her newly released EP, Mellifluous, and it’s as strange and pretty as we’ve come to expect from the experimental R&B songstress. We suspect the ethereal one’s personal listening library has a lot more FKA Twigs than it does her dad’s greatest hits, but if she wants to be the pioneering figure in the genre of Transcendental Lullabies then that’s just fine by me. — Jordan Crucchiola (@JorCru)

Ryan Adams, “Do You Still Love Me?”
One of the most unshakable feelings you might ever experience comes from driving a wrecking ball straight through a relationship and the inevitable regret that follows. It’s not always immediate — for awhile, indifference is convincing — and then, bam, the ball swings in reverse and slams back into you. Ryan Adams hasn’t been the same since he and Mandy Moore ended their somewhat surprising union last year. The record before the crash, his 2014 self-titled gem, was pure, honest, believable music from the soul, but also very much a calm before the storm that sounded like he knew was brewing. He sang of that wrecking ball then (granted, it was about his grandmother’s death) and, after it struck, all he had left in the tank was a Taylor Swift covers album. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it wasn’t him. His new song “Do You Still Love Me?,” now that’s a version of Ryan Adams we recognize. This one sounds bruised, reflective, and like his heart’s on fire. There’s a fight in his voice that went mute for a little while there. And even though it’s uncomfortable to listen to someone else’s private plea for love, I’d take this over hearing him fake numbness any day. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Little Simz feat. Tilla, “Poison Ivy”
Two things to know about Little Simz: She is prolific and she is sneaky fantastic. The U.K. rapper has independently released nine mixtapes via her Age 101 imprint since 2013. Her first full-length album, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons, hit iTunes last year, and next week she’ll drop her second LP, Stillness in Wonderland. She’s also 22. Simz can be boisterous and confrontational or muted and introspective, and here on “Poison Ivy” we find her ruminating on the impact of a toxic relationship. “I’m on the edge. Don’t push me now, but don’t let me down,” raps the London MC over a plodding, nostalgia-soaked beat. Simz is a master biographer in her songs, with a knack for a resonant kind of honestly. Her stated mission is to become the King of Rap, and if she keeps improving at the steady clip she has been, displaying a more dynamic talent all the time, her force will be one to reckon with for a very long time. — JC

J. Cole, “Foldin Clothes”
You know you’re old when you fall for a song that turns doing laundry into an extended metaphor for commitment. Welcome to adulthood; it gets real sappy on the slow journey to the grave. All sarcasm aside, a song about the thankless job of folding clothes for your loved one is just about the best use of J. Cole’s self-aware pen as it gets. Cole fans love to idolize him as a rapper whose bars go so far above and beyond everyone’s heads that it’ll take decades to decode them, and even then, our language may still not be evolved enough. This song houses a simple conceit: Do the chores for the woman in your life who’s nine-months pregnant, stock the fridge with almond milk, Netflix and not chill until you’re blue in the, ahem — whatever it takes to appease this woman, just do it. This isn’t a song about reciprocity, it’s about pulling enough of your own weight to lift your partner up with you. You shouldn’t lose yourself in love, but you have to learn to be a little bit selfless to find it. Remember, Cole’s a married man now — he knows! Practice what he’s preaching, boys. —DL

The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Amputation”
2016 doesn’t deserve such sublime new JAMC (or any new JAMC period), and yet, here we are. It’s as if no time at all has passed since their last record many, many years ago. You have to love that, after all this time, Jim Reid still sees himself and this group as some sort of infected appendage holding on to the body of rock and roll by sutures. By now, I’d say they’re more like a phantom limb. —DL

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