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.

Jay-Z, “4:44”
Jay-Z’s new album should be regarded as the start of a new chapter for hip-hop, one in which the still fairly young genre has now molded a space where its elders have room to breathe new life into their craft. Shawn Carter got into rap late in the game (he was almost 30 when he dropped Reasonable Doubt), and now, approaching 50, the wisdom he’s collected over the years has finally caught up to his rap persona. “4:44” is the cracked, sideways portrait of a man who had a shot at marital bliss and blew it. Failing at love weighs heavy on the conscience, but failing at love with one of the most almighty women on the planet — especially when so many expected you to fail — is enough to sink the spirit. Infidelity and having to answer for your sins one day to your offspring should keep a man up at night; it’s no wonder Jay-Z recorded this song on Beyoncé’s microphone at 4:44 in the morning, using a sample from a song about cheating that No. I.D. chose specifically to trick Hov into baring his soul. Who could sleep next to the woman they love knowing you broke every vow and she forgave you regardless? At some point, in the middle of the night, you must awaken to forgive yourself and repent. At last, that moment is “4:44.” —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Tyler, the Creator ft. Frank Ocean, “911/Mr. Lonely”
In one of his first songs in two years, “911/Mr. Lonely” sees Tyler, the Creator enjoyably return to his usual habits. The song’s first half leans more toward the rapper’s oddly pleasant tendencies, as a laid-back drum loop and a soothing hook in which Tyler is a hotline — hence the title — is refreshingly stripped-down (at least for the former Odd Future leader). Never one to shy away from pathos, Tyler and the always-crooning Frank Ocean alternate verses on “911” as well, groaning over an ex-lover. The song’s transition into “Mr. Lonely” offers more of what fans have come to expect from Tyler: dark divulges into mental health over gruff, synth-infused beats. While it may just be same old, same old, “911/Mr. Lonely” is thankfully straightforward, and noteworthy for Tyler’s candid self-awareness, as he raps, “They say the loudest in the room is weak / That’s what they assume, but I disagree / I say the loudest in the room / Is prolly the loneliest one in the room (that’s me).” –Ethan Sapienza (@ClickTheMovie)

Calvin Harris ft. Schoolboy Q, PartyNextDoor, and D.R.A.M., “Cash Out”
As you hopefully spent your holiday weekend luxuriating in the thrill of doing absolutely nothing, summer cookout season officially kicked off. This is a time for cheersing under the summer sun, passing blunts by the pool, and indulging in some good grilled soul food. Such high levels of chill require a soundtrack; Calvin Harris’s breezy throwback made-for-summer jam “Cash Out” was designed for it. –DL

Samantha Urbani, “Go Deeper”
If you’re a cynical — or maybe just realistic — music fan, you’ve probably thought to yourself at one point or another that no one is ever going to do anything truly new again. That might be true. It is also totally false, but like everything else in this fickle game of taste and perspective, it’s all about how you view it. Samantha Urbani, who honed her chops in the band Friends and collaborated with Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, is fully committed to her solo material. Is “Go Deeper” like nothing you’ve heard before? No, but it shouldn’t be. Instead, it’s a controlled experiment in emotional highs and lows that moves from swinging ’80s drums that sound like they were pulled straight from the new jack swing playbook, to ominous walls of synth. This kind of disparate emotion switching shouldn’t normally work, but Urbani clearly has a great handle on song structure, and it’ll be exciting to see where she takes it. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@shockleysmith)

St. Vincent, “New York”
Probably my favorite thing about St. Vincent’s first new (presumable) album track in three years is that she debuted it live in New York City last year dressed as a toilet bowl, with her then-girlfriend Cara Delevingne in the audience. My second favorite: It’s fantastic and unlike anything Annie Clark has ever done, thanks to the introduction of increasingly prolific pop whisperer Jack Antonoff. Parts of “New York” — namely that opening piano section and buildup to the hook — sound like leftovers from Lorde’s Melodrama sessions. Listen closely and you’ll hear an early demo of “Supercut.” It’s about how we tether places to time and the people that were there and can never really disconnect any piece of the puzzle. New York means different things to everyone, but for this song it now represents the loss of the only person with whom St. Vincent could endure this city. She might be down a crutch, but at least she’s still standing. –DL

5 Best New Songs of the Week