songs of the week

7 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.

Vince Staples ft. Ty Dolla $ign, “Rain Come Down”
The third fantastically sober single from Vince Staples’s upcoming sophomore album, Big Fish Theory, finds the Long Beach artist revisiting familiar ground: “I feel just like Snoop on Andre day,” he says, envisioning himself as a successor to his home city’s most illustrious alumnus; a terse, smooth hook from Ty Dolla $ign, himself the inheritor of Nate Dogg’s legacy, plus a first verse so sharp, Staples repeats the whole 16 verbatim for the second, only adds to the sense that the past is never over. Yet the production by Zack Sekoff, joined to Staples’s preternaturally precise and calm delivery, sounds like nothing else: The song, like the artist himself, is essentially new, a sign of things to come. Fans aware through prior songs of the artist’s history will nod when he notes that he’s “paid a pretty penny for my peace of mind,” but careful newcomers can infer as much just by paying attention to the tremendous self-control implicit in his tone. No one could show so much discipline unless experience had made it absolutely necessary. —Frank Guan (@frankophilia)

Sigala and Ella Eyre, “Came Here for Love”
If a song could sound like a parade, this would be that song. This song is all the bright colors and confetti. It’s the song you dance to in a safe space that welcomes all genders, before “Proud” by Heather Small comes on and makes you weep openly with joy. Happy Pride, everyone! —Jordan Crucchiola (JorCru)

SZA, “20 Something”
It’s fascinating the way age becomes a person’s defining feature at any given period in their life. When you’re a teenager, you think there’s nothing more important than being a teenager and that these years will never end, not that you’re sure you even want them to. That feeling, you find when you enter your 20s, is identical. I’m 27, and I suspect that self-perception doesn’t change with maturity. Maybe SZA will feel stuck in her 50-somethings when she gets there (she’s excited for them either way), but, for right now, all the 26-year-old knows or can think about is being a 20-something. The final song on her debut album is a guitar-driven meditation on what it means to be in your 20s — this decade where you’re expected to start finding your way, when anyone who’s lived through it knows you never do. There’s a tremendous weight of failure and disappointment — “Prayin’ the 20 somethings don’t kill me,” she sings, channeling Frank Ocean’s vocal cadence — that often gives way to moments of not giving a fuck. Older generations who forgot what that kind of overall exhaustion does to the psyche might look at such moments and see laziness. But SZA knows that sometimes you gotta lose yourself in not caring, if only for a little while, to make it out of your 20s alive. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Rostam, “Bike Dream”
A central theme of Noah Baumbach’s 2005 film Squid and the Whale is how sometimes, despite our best efforts to speed up the process, it just takes some time to overcome fear of change and grow up a little bit. Spoiler alert, I guess — but at the end of the film, Jesse Eisenberg’s character is finally able to face the massive sculpture of a sperm whale and giant squid locked in eternal combat at the American Museum of Natural History, after being scared to look at it his whole life. In the scene, the squid and the whale are totems for his parents, who are going through a messy divorce, but you don’t need to know that to grasp the moment as an emotional awakening of sorts. Rostam’s singles from his upcoming Half-Light, first “Gwan,” and now “Bike Dream,” capture this same sense of process — struggle, acceptance, awakening — against the backdrop of a life in New York. Here, he’s sifting through his memories even as he’s singing them: Bittersweet nostalgia mingles with regret, and the entire concept of youthful love and loss actually starts to feel more cosmic than sad. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@shockleysmith)

Oumou Sangaré, “Kamelemba”
If, like me, you do not speak the native language (or languages) of Mali’s Oumou Sangaré, you’ll be grateful that this music video provides captions with the lyrics in English. When I didn’t know what I was hearing, “Kamelemba” was a beautiful piece of music, but realizing it’s a song about longing and love and keeping your own pride by withholding judgment of others makes the experience so much more rich. I want my summer to be an Oumou Sangaré summer. —JC

Toro y Moi, “Girl Like You”
Did chillwave get a bad rap, or exactly what it deserved? Notoriously pegged as a genre made by people who had nothing but time, an endless supply of weed, and loved relaxing by a placid body of water (oceans, slow rivers, and lakes got equal billing), the genre was written off as one-dimensional pretty quickly. More props are due, then, to Toro y Moi, who managed to transcend the genre by delving deep into off-kilter retro funk, and then spit it back slightly warped, like he was making music explicitly designed to be rediscovered and reissued by an enterprising crate digger decades down the line. Except Toro y Moi is so good at making songs in this mode that he’s in no danger of being written out of musical history. What would happen if someone made outsider music that everyone ended up loving anyway? The answer is “Girl Like You.” —SH-S

liv, “Heaven”
liv is a collaboration between Lykke Li, Andrew Wyatt, Pontus Winnberg (of Miike Snow), Björn Yttling (of Peter Björn and John), and Jeff Bhasker, and they’ve been slowly doling out singles since last year. The sonic fingerprints of the supergroup’s respective members meld together with all the harmony you’d expect from wall-of-sound Swedish indie-music assassins like these. Dive in for good vibes. —JC

7 Best New Songs of the Week