songs of the week

12 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, “Perfect Places”
Back when we first got “Royals” stuck in our heads in late 2012, Lorde was a precocious teenager who was already “kind of over being told to put my hands up in the air.” But while that outsider vibe has served her well in her career, it seems that with maturation has come an unabashed embrace of the type of made-for-radio pop the now-20-year-old may have scorned in her teenage years. The result is a track that hits all the pleasure points you want in a song that will undoubtedly soundtrack your summer: wistful lyrics about youth and overindulgence, a soaring chorus, and a booming drumbeat. The genius of the song, though, is that Lorde will still gut you while you’re busy throwing your hands up in the air with the refrain, “What the fuck are perfect places, anyway?” At last, a party song that’s as existential as you are. —Samantha Rollins (@SamanthaRollins)

Halsey, “Alone”
The whole experience of Halsey’s hopeless fountain kingdom is really good, but “Alone” differs from the rest. In fact, if you only listened to this song, you might expect the vibe of the album to feel pretty different. That doesn’t make it a discordant experience so much as a little treat, a surprise interlude that, if you started zoning out, would snap you back to attention and get you bobbing and clapping all over again. Welcome to the mainstream pop fold, Halsey. We’ve been waiting for you. —Jordan Crucchiola (JorCru)

21 Savage, “All the Smoke”
Anchored by a spare, ominous piano line weaving through distorted 808s, the new single from Atlanta’s latest trap icon delivers the same combination of stripped-down, urgent vibes and laconic, violent threats Savage trademarked last year on Savage Mode, the breakout mixtape produced entirely by Metro Boomin; though the new track owes its ace production to Southside, the mood it evokes is nothing if not quietly and forcefully familiar. Accompanied by a gory horror-movie music video, it’s an ideal lead-in to the artist’s forthcoming debut album, Issa. —Frank Guan (@frankophilia)

Foo Fighters, “Run”
What is Foo Fighters’ legacy if not a Hall of Fame’s worth of choruses? “Run,” the band’s first song post-hiatus, contains another gem that comes in two very different waves. There’s the anthemtic pre-chorus (which contains that directive to run) that then swells into a rip-roaring instrumental-ish freak-out that sounds like Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins doing their take on a dueling-pianos night. Then Grohl’s voice enters the fold sounding like he’s fronting a screamo band. I’m aware this description sounds awful, but I swear, it’s the best Foo Fighters have sounded in years. –Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

SZA, “Broken Clocks”
Is summer here? Or is it just SZA season? If you ain’t got time and you’re just burning daylight, you might as well burn it down with SZA. –—JC

Liam Gallagher, “Wall of Glass”
In my slow descent this week into rock stars I’ve managed to care about for two decades, there is also Liam Gallagher. Since the divisive Oasis singer has become more known for pestering Noel with his Twitter fingers than his music, you forget about all the talent being overshadowed. That’s also because Liam’s been dormant with music for so long, but now he’s got his first solo album coming out. “Wall of Glass” is a debut single so good it’ll make you want to wring his neck for having wasted so much time not making more like it. The sneering, fuck-all attitude, delicious riffs, and punchy quotables are all there. Harmonica, too, praise be. Time feels frozen. —DL

Torres, “Skim”
Torres’s music has always been intensely personal, mixing loaded, intimate moments with soul searching. If “Skim” is any indication, such reflection has provided at least some level of enlightenment: “There’s no unlit corner of the room I’m in,” she sings, shepherded along by a slinking synth march. “I’m only the skim of what has already been.” The track might set a dark tone for the impending follow-up to 2015’s Sprinter, but maybe that’s the cost of enlightenment. —Gabe Cohn (@gabescohn)

Arcade Fire, “Everything Now”
I’ve been told that people don’t like this song, and I think those people are keeping the torches lit for old Arcade Fire, as in Suburbs Arcade Fire. But here’s my coming out moment: I didn’t really care about Suburbs. I won’t argue the quality of the album, it just didn’t do much for me. As such, I think “Everything Now” is just pretty great. It sounds like the 1980s. It’s fun to dance around in circles to. Win Butler’s voice sounds like it could turn into David Byrne’s at any moment, and it makes me feel happy like a 2017 take on “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” would. So, hell yes, Arcade Fire. I’m here for your souped up Talking Heads phase. —JC

Japanese Breakfast, “Boyish”
The best lyric I’ve heard all year goes “I can’t get you off my mind. I can’t get you off in general.” Little Big League’s Michelle Zauner sings it on a melodramatic song from her solo side project Japanese Breakfast’s second album. The unshakable honesty will make you squirm. Songwriting nowadays isn’t so self-critical, but Zauner doesn’t know any other way to write. The rest of the song is about feeling inadequate about absolutely everything to do with the person you’re sleeping with and want to love. It might make you die a little inside every time you hear it, but songs like this have a certain magnetic pull — kind of like the cheating turd who inspired it. —DL

Alvvays, “In Undertow”
The final image we were left with on Alvvay’s 2014 self-titled debut was of a narrator stuck in space, painting pictures of Earth and waiting on a lover that it seemed clear would never arrive. “In Undertow,” the first single from the Canadian indie-pop group’s follow-up, Antisocialites, rejects that kind of dependence. “What’s left for you and me? / I ask that question rhetorically,” says a newly- defiant Molly Rankin. Now, she “can’t buy into astrology, and won’t rely on the moon for anything.” (Listeners who typically ask dates for their Zodiac symbol might bristle at that.) The band has kept their rivers of reverb, which sometimes makes them sound as though they’re playing to an empty middle-school gymnasium, an image that fittingly blends sweetness with melancholy. —GC

Sheer Mag, “Need to Feel Your Love”
Relationships usually don’t work out because they require an ability to communicate your own needs that most people just don’t possess. It’s human nature to not trust one other, and we survive by withholding that which makes us look vulnerable, or worse, weak. In the politics of love and sex, though, it’s not enough to assume you’re meeting your lover’s needs — in most cases, there’ll never be any indication if you are until after the fact. We don’t tell someone when they stop making us happy because we want them to read the unspoken language, and because we’ve been taught our mental health isn’t someone else’s responsibility. Sheer Mag’s “Need to Feel Your Love” — the title track of the band’s next album — achingly describes being at the crossroads of vocally demanding your worth but being with someone who just can’t give it the way you want it. It’s agony. —DL

Louis the Child ft. Ashe, “World on Fire”
If you take the chorus literally, “World on Fire” is a most sanguine little ditty about the apocalypse. It’s not literal, of course, but an easy-like-Sunday-morning jam about realizing your life is passing you by while you get lost in the daily grind feels like an appropriate vibe for our current climate. It’s keep calm and carry on, but with more of a “fuck it!” attitude than one built on steely resolve. “Hide behind the money. That’s the way it goes. The world could be on fire and we wouldn’t know.” The lyrics say panic, but the music says sit back and relax. —JC

12 Best New Songs of the Week