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.

Charlie Puth, “Empty Cups”
Reader, I stand before you as a #Notetaker. Or an #AttentionSeeker. Or a #PuthPuthPass-er. Forget the nomenclature — Charlie Puth’s sophomore album Voicenotes is irresistible, clean fun, and “Empty Cups” was the first song to win me over, body and soul. It’s less a party anthem than a poppy song about partying: what happens when you’re sipping your drink (probably Mike’s Hard Lemonade) and a boy (probably wearing Supreme) makes a move. “BOY” and “LA Girls,” two other Voicenotes standouts, are more dexterous with their sound and lyrics — “BOY” is literally about Charlie wanting to date an older woman, something to celebrate! — but “Empty Cups” is easy listening. Go ahead and buy that “going-out top,” and throw yourself a house party. –Hunter Harris (@hunteryharris)

Years & Years, “If You’re Over Me”
In Palo Santo, the fictional world created by Years & Years to deliver their new music like a kind of pop opera, androids keep humans around for entertainment to stimulate something like real emotion. That seems weird and scary and like the people are zoo animals, but if Palo Santo is also a place where there are constant “human cabarets” and Olly Alexander is performing elaborate pop shows … it might be kind of great? Years & Years has followed up the banger “Sanctify” with “If You’re Over Me,” which is just a divine break-up bop. This song is basically perfect, especially as a heralding angel of the coming summer season, and it’s infectious enough to make a bunch of robots start shifting in their seats. If it’s always this 20GayTeen in Palo Santo, someone tell me where to get my passport stamped. –Jordan Crucchiola (@jorcru)

Sam Hunt, “Downtown’s Dead”
“Body Like a Back Road” was always going to be hard to beat, as far as singles go. So I’m delighted to hear that Sam Hunt’s long-awaited follow-up doesn’t sound like a single at all. This is the album deep cut fans latch onto and force to become a single. It’s the best kind of power ballad: doused in heartache, set in a bar, and so self-aware of its anthemic potency that it contains drum-kick cues for clapping after the hook. And yeah, I am hooked. It’s gonna be damn hard to feel the isolation Sam Hunt’s describing with everyone collectively shouting out the lyrics into the night all summer long. Or maybe we’ll all just end up claiming corners to sob in at last call. Cope as you wish. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Playboi Carti ft. Skepta, “Lean 4 Real”
Welcome to the music of the future, where the hook is two bars about being on pills and lean repeated seven times and takes up half the song, the verses are shorter than the hook, and the guest artist is some grimy Brit named Skepta talking weeaboo shit about Super Saiyans and Grand Theft Auto. “This a computer game,” he says, and he’s totally right: like all the instrumentals on Playboi Carti’s Die Lit, “Lean 4 Real” plays like the darkest, most chilled out role-playing game ever. You do a bunch of repetitive stuff, raise your levels. It might just be the album of the year. —Frank Guan (@frankophilia)

Popcaan, “Body So Good”
Almost four years after the release of his Mixpak/Dre Skull–assisted debut album, Popcaan and the Mixpak team are gearing up to put out a second full-length project this summer, called Forever. And if the first single from the project, “Body So Good,” is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat. Harnessing Popcaan’s keen ear for sweet melodies, the song combines an understated but catchy vocal track with a breezy take on a classic dancehall riddim, and builds on the shimmering dancehall-fusion sound that Popcaan and Dre Skull mastered on Where We Come From. Sure, the lyrics are somewhat questionable — “Mi can’t stand you sometimes, but mi still love your waistline” — but that’s not and has never been the point, really. Now we just need Popcaan to get access to the United States! —Corinna Burford (@coriburford)

John Mayer, “New Light”
I must’ve missed the Bad Boy Pop Summit where Charlie Puth and John Mayer got together and declared this the week of unlikable dudes making likable music, but here we are. In the case of John Mayer, though, that’s been his shtick for over a decade so it should be of no surprise that his new song, “New Light” is irresistible. It’s produced by No I.D., who’s been taking some unexpected collaborative chances lately with high payoff, and who here stretches Mayer’s sonic range to reach disco. What should feel cheap and gimmicky doesn’t because Mayer opts against trying too hard (also because his upper register is pretty in that feathery disco way), which is perfect considering the song is all about Mayer trying entirely too hard to exit the friend zone (even admitting he’s too old for this shit). You can take Mayer out of his comfort zone and he’ll still be a caricature of himself. But he wouldn’t still be here if he wasn’t at least consistent! We’re not seeing him in a new light; the light’s just dimmer. –DL

Best New Songs of the Week