songs of the week

9 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.

Lorde, “Green Light”
First, her voice. That tortured rasp we all fell in love with back in the summer of 2013. Spartan keys. Lyrics about sharks. She pronounces the word “love” like it’s a needle under your fingernails. Then that piano line hits and suddenly we’re on our way to the greatest club in the world. (It’s in Manchester, and we’re in the early ’90s.) Are there more lyrics? Who cares! I’m waiting for it, that green light. I want it. —Nate Jones (@kn8)

Fleet Foxes, “Third of May/ Ōdaigahara”
The best part about the new Fleet Foxes track is how instantly their sound comes rushing back. It’s like someone pressed pause mid-song in 2011 and just remembered to hit play again. In the first half-second, we get the full Fleet Foxes experience: those cathedral harmonies, those titanic drums, that thumping piano, and, of course, Robin Pecknold, whose voice strikes the same balance of determined effort and cool grace that it always has. This isn’t to say there’s nothing new — the dynamic, multipart, eight-and-a-half minute song (from their upcoming third record) goes on to add strings to the mix, and, in its final act, an undercurrent of synth. It is this last section that strays furthest from the band’s previously charted territory, capping off a triumphant return that reminds us what we’ve been missing, while also promising that these hairy gurus have new tricks up their plaid sleeves. —Gabe Cohn (@gabescohn)

alt-J, “3ww”
Perhaps the best thing about alt-J is that no two songs of theirs sounds remotely alike. “3ww”— the first song off their upcoming album — “Left Hand Free,” and “Breezeblocks” have nothing in common. They’re threaded only by the presence of guitars, but even that’s gotten increasingly harder to argue. The ones on “3ww” are thick, layered, and distinctly not as English-born as the band plucking them. It builds into a pattern for a sonic quilt that unravels over five minutes. There are touches of baroque and electronica, then before you can even process any of that, Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice shows up to duet with Joe Newman. Oh, and the London Metropolitan Orchestra is involved. It’s a lot to love. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

PWR BTTM, “Answer My Text”
Leave it to the charming queer indie-punk duo PWR BTTM to give us the most relatable modern dating anthem of our time, which features a cathartic chorus that begins with, “Answer my text, you dick.” How long before this is every person’s actual Spotify anthem on Tinder? —Samantha Rollins (@SamanthaRollins)

Girlpool, “123”
On the first single from their upcoming Powerplant, Girlpool sound like an elementary-school choir that snuck out at lunch period to pierce each other’s ears. The verse — whispered like a secret in the sandbox — is quickly upended by an anthemic chorus: “Looking pretty at the wall / Is my mistaken love installed / While the moth doesn’t talk but in the dress the holes you saw.” If 2015’s Before the World Was Big saw the duo building towers out of Lego bricks, Powerplant seems like it may well be the toppling. —GC

Charli XCX ft. CupcaKKe, “Lipgloss” and “Dreamer” ft. Raye and Starrah
It’s a shame Charli XCX says her new album will be more in line with songs like “Pull Up,” off her newly announced mixtape out this Friday (yet another pre-album appetizer). It’s fine and formulaic, but the real gold are songs like “Lipgloss” and “Dreamer.” Why collaborate with pop peers like MØ when you could drop a swaggering punch in the pussy like “Lipgloss” (starts at 16:22, below) with raunch queen CupcaKKE? Pop should actually have some; this one bursts. It’s still in the direction of PC Music that Charli’s moved onto since her last album, but it doesn’t feel like a song any of that label’s artists are open-minded enough to make. To that point, if Charli ever wanted to fully depart pop and make some sort of robotic rap like other white girls before her, have at it. “Dreamer” is another song you’ll imagine Charli wrote for Iggy Azalea, but will be glad she kept to her damn self. (Stream it at 9:19.) —DL

Forest Swords, “The Highest Flood”
It’s been four years since we’ve seen a proper release from experimental electronic producer Matthew Barnes, otherwise known as Forest Swords, and thankfully, he’s back with an urgent return to form that sounds like a battle cry. “The Highest Flood” weaves together thumping drumbeats, horns, and eerily clipped choral samples to create a moody melody that just might get you ready to face whatever imminent dystopia awaits us. —SR

Khalid, “Young Dumb & Broke”
I appreciate a good bemoaning over the banality of teenage existence. Lorde’s 20 now, so there’ll be none of that on her new record. Which is fine ’cause now we’ve got Khalid for one more year. If you spend any time on Spotify, you’ve probably heard his breakout hit “Location” (it’s on every playlist, for good reason), but the Texas teen’s debut album, aptly titled American Teen, is worth a full look. “Young Dumb & Broke” is such an ode to finding love in a suburban teen wasteland that he wades through each captivating verse in the most convincing lackadaisical tone. I suppose you could compare it to Kevin Abstract’s American Boyfriend, if only he had this much vocal depth. —DL

Laura Marling, “Nothing, Not Nearly”
2016 may have been a cyclone of shitiness but, at least for Laura Marling, that yearlong joy-drought raised a rose of wisdom: “The only thing I learnt in a year / Where I didn’t smile once, not really/ Is nothing matters more than love, no nothing, no not nothing, no not nearly.” In “Nothing, Not Nearly,” the fourth single from her upcoming Semper Femina, Marling’s tongue ties knots around itself, stumbling, as if her body is trying to remind her mind that the message she’s singing is true. Marling flirts with rapping. The instruments choke and stutter. A stabbing, distorted slide guitar builds an entire solo essentially on three notes. The effect is a song that’s rhythmically gasping and panting, as though recovering from a sucker punch to the gut. Or, maybe more accurately, one that’s realizing it’s been punched and is trying to work out how best to respond while its foe draws back for another. And that’s pretty much where we’re at. —GC

9 Best New Songs of the Week