songs of the week

6 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

Kesha, “Bastards”
A lot’s been said about the circumstances of Kesha’s new album Rainbow — the legal drama surrounding it, and whether or not her ex-producer Dr. Luke, whom she’s accused of abusing her, will profit from it (yes) — but some of the music deserves as much noise. This is Kesha’s first time in creative control of her sound, and it leans heavier on country and rock than Luke ever allowed. These are her roots: Kesha’s from Nashville and her mom Pebe famously co-wrote “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You” for Dolly Parton (the same song Kesha duets with Parton on on this album). Fittingly, Kesha opens the album with an acoustic ballad dedicated to the bastards who didn’t believe she could be successful belting out a sound that’s long bubbled beneath the surface of her best hits. It’s not a Kris Kristofferson cover by any stretch, but Kesha’s “Bastards” carries that same protest spirit — a beautiful smirk after a well-fought battle that hasn’t defeated Kesha yet. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Brockhampton, “Junky”
“Why you always rap about being gay? ’Cause not enough niggas rapping be gay.” That’s Kevin Abstract from Brockhampton in an extremely personal verse from the group’s latest single. The jarring beat is accompanied by an equally jarring visual, in which some people are adorned with fake blood, bodies move and contort in frantic ways, and an adult in a weeping baby mask is waving a knife around. Considering the confrontational nature of the verses, one of which demands women be treated with more respect, it all feels aggressively cohesive. It’s an impolite and honest song at a time when truth feels scarce, so dig right in. —Jordan Crucchiola (@jorcru)

Perfume Genius, “Body’s in Trouble” (Mary Margaret O’Hara cover)
Streaming companies are mostly all greedy, selfish, money-hungry enterprises, but, then, you know, sometimes they get artists to do really good covers. For his Spotify Sessions, Perfume Genius finally recorded the version of Mary Margaret O’Hara’s “Body’s in Trouble” that he’s been performing live for a few years. The original’s arrangement is sweeter than the lyrics suggest, but Perfume Genius’s cuts straight to the devastation. Every word aches with anguish and desperation, like the bones preventing him and Mary from going after their desires. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Hundred Waters, “Fingers”
This song is so haunting, and if you heard it and wondered, “Wow, what kind of video would go with this? Will she be in water? Will she be suspended in air and drifting through clouds?” The answer is, she’ll be laying on a pine-wood floor covered in 12,000 bugs. No joke, no exaggeration — 12,000 bugs were used in the making of the video for “Fingers.” The stillness of the vocals is reinforced by how calm singer Nicole Miglis remains as she performs with a millipede stretched across the gap of her lips and spiders on her hands. She sounds like she is suspended in misty air above you, and that steady sonic wave is so genuine that she can even maintain her focus while covered in literally 12,000 insects. The things people do for art. —JC

Marshmello ft. Khalid, “Silence”
It’s okay if you don’t know who Marshmello is; he doesn’t want you to. Following in the annoying tradition of elusive DJs, he “performs” at festivals with various helmets on his head and has, thus, amassed a cult following. But I’ve been wondering when Marshemllo would start to crave crossover appeal and now the time has come. Khalid, the teen with the best syrupy croon around, is by no means a household name, but he’s about to open for Lorde on tour and has a far wider audience than Marshmello thanks to a string of hits. Together they’ve made “Silence, “and I have to say, it’s a beautiful marriage. The production isn’t too busy, but instead erects a mellow, slow-building backdrop for Khalid to do his thing, which is apparently now what we’ll just call electro-emo. —DL

Khalid, “Love Galore/Weekend” (SZA cover)
But if you want to see Khalid do his actual thing, just bathe in this gem of an acoustic mash-up for awhile. —DL

6 Best New Songs of the Week