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.

Camila Cabello, “Real Friends”
Here’s Camila Cabello, about to release her self-titled solo debut after leaving Fifth Harmony, singing about needing some genuine friends in her life. Cabello’s split from her former group was acrimonious, and at this year’s VMAs the remaining four Harmonies started their stage performance by having a stand-in fifth dancer dramatically ejected from the platform they were standing on. So even though the girls spent years together on the road and in the studio, it seems clear that Cabello doesn’t keep her former bandmates on her phone tree. We know Cabello’s got questions, and one of them is where the hell her real friends are at. Bring on Camila and more of these smooth, shady jams. —Jordan Crucchiola (@jorcru)

Jesse Boykins III ft. Noname, “Into You”
Jesse Boykins III makes music that can often feel equally visual as it does audible. His latest album, Bartholomew, is a 17-track cinematic journey that does just this and then some: Each song is aided by a high-concept “visual expression.” Somewhere between music videos and a film project, they add an extrasensory level to the album that brings it to life. But the music can still stand on its own. “Into You” sets you on a dreamy journey with soulful vocals and swaying Afro-Caribbean beats. You can hear the laid-back influence of producer Michael Uzowuru, who frequently works with Frank Ocean and Vince Staples. Just as you fall into a trance, Noname hops onto the track to make you sit up and smile. —Olivia Becker (@oliviaLbecker)

Jorja Smith, “Lost” (Frank Ocean cover)
Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange gem “Lost” is a very sexy song about a very unsexy situation: a woman lost to drugs. Not because she’s using — though judging by how intoxicating she makes everything sound, she might be — but lost to the world of drugs. She’s a pawn in the game at the mercy of a dealer and she just can’t stop playing. It’s sad, but there’s a romance to it, or at least a seduction. British singer Jorja Smith, one of the best new artists of the year, taps into the temptation of the song in her cover for Spotify, taking longer, breathier pauses, extending the delivery of the title lyric so that it mimics a woman on the cusp of orgasm, then building up to a falsetto for “in the heat of it all.” She’s backed by what sounds like a single guitar player for an added intimate effect. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

London On Da Track, “Whatever You On”
Atlanta-based producer London On Da Track has assembled an insane team of rap and R&B stars for his new song, “Whatever You On,” including Young Thug, Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign, and YG. Like a cameo-packed bro-comedy, it is uncomplicated, upbeat, catchy, and primed for mass consumption. Young Thug reassumes his Beautiful Thugger Girls R&B persona; Ty Dolla $ign brings his trademark sultry vulgarity (“Fuck your man, say my dick better / Talkin’ that pole, gon’ stick, yeah”); YG adds a braggadocio “Don’t Tell ‘Em”–like verse; and Jeremih’s vocals remind us, once again, that he is deserving of more than just a feature. Seriously, when is his next album coming? —Corinna Burford (@coriburford)

Jennifer Hudson, “Burden Down”
My only problem with Jennifer Hudson’s singing career is that there are too many instruments. I so enjoy “I Still Love You” and “Spotlight” and many other songs by Hudson, but always think, “This would just be so much better without all those other sounds walking over Jennifer’s voice.” Fortunately, Jennifer has been monitoring my texts, because we have been given the gift of “Burden Down.” It’s a towering ballad about the obligations of being a strong woman — of being the one who always has to get shit done. It’s just Hudson and a piano until just after the three-minute mark, when, as if lifted to her bare feet by angels, she steps away from the keys and delivers the finale of the song fully a cappella. Rejoice! –JC

Charli XCX ft. Tove Lo and ALMA, “Out of My Head”
Charli XCX is ending this year with yet another mixtape. Complain all you want that it’s not the album; she started tuning you out quite awhile ago. Charli gets her most experimental and risky on these tapes — just wait until you hear the production tricks she and A.G. Cook cooked up this time, my goodness — but “Out of My Head” is the most in step with pop trends as she allows herself to get on Pop 2. That happens when you invite others like Tove Lo into your orbit and switch gears to match their speed. It fits with the new pop infection Vulture’s Craig Jenkins recently tried to diagnose: a somewhat sedated, mid-tempo, by-the-numbers party bop. It sounds like I’m knocking the song, but it’s a helluva good time despite playing to convention. –DL

Best New Songs of the Week