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.

Thundercat, “Friend Zone”
Thundercat’s galactic tongue-in-cheek journey, “Friend Zone,” the latest single from his upcoming Drunk, mixes fat synths with video-game references. He delivers the same gelatinous bass that he does on Kendrick’s “Wesley’s Theory,” which gives swagger to lyrics that dissect the curious mentality behind the title phrase. “You stuck me in the friend zone/ That’s that bullshit/ I’m gonna play Diablo either way/ You can go or you can go.” It’s a plea for pleasure in an instant-gratification world, though it also doesn’t miss the entitlement that comes along with that. There’s a cell-phone-ring-turned-instrument at around 20 seconds — a strong start for this, the anti–“Hotline Bling.” –Gabe Cohn

Lana Del Rey, “Love”
Just as we were beginning to taste the promise of spring in the air, along comes Lana Del Rey to trap us in a winter funk. Granted, her new song isn’t as elegantly morose as the Lana of yesteryear (she sounds … content?). But there’s always that nagging feeling of ennui and disconnect from the present that makes every Lana Del Rey song feel like an exercise in self-loathing. Even when she’s crooning about not having to worry — stringing together a Mad Libs of your teen’s Instagram captions — we should all know better. Lana envisions herself singing about the future from on the moon while her soul and all its passions are still stuck in the past. It’s as delightfully dizzying as the best Lana experience. One suggestion: Throw on the power chords this song deserves for the album version and then it’ll be love. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

MisterWives, “Machine”
MisterWives dabbles in what I like to call Theater Pop. It’s operatic. It’s dramatic. The sound of the music is as big as the sentiment in the words. On their last album, Our Own House, it was “Not Your Way” that went full Theater Pop, with Mandy Lee throwing a fist in the air and tearing through a “My Body, My Choice” anthem with her sugar sweet voice. That fighting spirit is back on “Machine,” with Lee warning her nameless oppressor, “You don’t know who I am or what I have been through, no. So don’t dare tell me what I should and shouldn’t do.” This song is batty in the best way, like a 2017 take on No Doubt’s “Tragic Kingdom,” and it sounds like they even used the Inception boom to underscore its narrative weight in a pre-chorus. It soars. It falls, and it is not going to be ignored. —Jordan Crucchiola (@JorCru)

Ryan Adams, “Prisoner”
Ryan Adams has been a prisoner of heartache for far too long. With the shackles off, he’s finally allowed himself to reflect on the time served, his crime of ever having loved, and how he’ll reenter the world a new man. I like this Ryan Adams more than any other version he’s been pretending to be and I missed him while he was gone. Welcome back. –DL

PWR BTTM, “Big Beautiful Day”
Absurdly warm weather isn’t the only preview of summer we’ve gotten in the past week — queer punk duo (and now proven workaholics) PWR BTTM announced their sophomore album, Pageant, due out in May, with a new single “Big Beautiful Day.” It’s a summer single in the winter, a ray of warmth to remind us that spring is in sight. While the sound isn’t wildly different from the material on their 2015 debut, Ugly Cherries, the message comes through with a renewed sense of urgency: “Curse that motherfucker who would spit upon another’s body / Who the hell gave you the right to tell me that I’m wrong?” It’s combative before turning compassionate: “Within those men there are boys who have never had the choice / But to grow up and be scared to be your friend.” The vacillation between anger and empathy makes this song perfectly suited to 2017, and the number of “fucks” also makes it a summer anthem. Here’s hoping Trump will listen to Pageant based on the title. –GC

Pale Waves, “There’s A Honey”
Someone sign me up for the newsletter, “Songs of the week that sound like they could have played in a John Hughes movie if John Hughes movies were being made right now.” I would play every single one of those recommendations every single week. –JC

Speedy Ortiz, “In My Way”
This is the first we’ve heard this year from Speedy Oritz, and Sadie Dupuis sounds as badass as ever singing over crunchy guitar mayhem — the distorted guitar equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting. “In My Way” is a return to more straightforward rock for Dupuis, whose recent solo album Slugger, which she released under the name Sad13, experimented with synth. The punks sound right at home on Our First 100 Days, with a hint of angry protest: “I’ve got brass knuckles and a trilobite gait/Who’s the one who dares get in my way?” –GC

Parquet Courts feat. Bun B, “Captive of the Sun”
The things that on paper sound like they shouldn’t work occasionally do in practice — kinda like that time Bun B unexpectedly showed up in the middle of Parquet Courts’ performance on Colbert, did a new verse on one of their songs, then bounced. We now have the official version of this very-Texas collaboration and it has no right to sound this oddly perfect. It’s like Beck meets Big Boi. But probably also better than however that genre mishmash would sound. (Though I’m all ears.) –DL

8 Best New Songs of the Week