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.
Kanye West ft. Kid Cudi and 070 Shake, “Ghost Town”
“Ghost Town” was an all right song when I first heard it. Kanye has been … testing us lately, and I still haven’t figured out how I feel about that, only that I will continue changing the subject when anyone in my family brings him up. My thoughts on “Ghost Town” became clearer when a curious tweet graced (cursed) my timeline: “i didn’t spent three yrs of my life clowning ppl for liking ‘Some Nights’ just to turn around now and humor the suggestion that ‘Ghost Town’ is a good song,” tweeted the Ringer’s Justin Charity. Hmmm. It’s not — surely Justin isn’t — he can’t be talking about that “Some Nights.” Not the one that by the “weeeeeee areeeeeee younnnnnnnnng!” guys. But then I read Justin’s contribution to the Ringer’s Ye exit survey:
What’s the most surprising part about this project?
Charity: The emerging consensus of Kanye fans who insist that “Ghost Town,” an unsolicited ripoff of Fun.’s “Some Nights,” is an astounding, or even good, song.
Did Justin really just bring up Fun.? Fun. Fun.? So then, minding my business but remaining curious, I Googled the music video, just to make sure I’m thinking of the right song.
And this, reader, is the moment Justin Charity became my nemesis. This video is a part of a genre I will call “fake-ass Terrence Malik films white guilt.” There’s a love story. The Civil War. A battle. And a song about the moral ambivalence of being a 20-something? There are also drums. This, Donald Glover, is America! Did we all know this video was so off the wall, over the top, out of the world loony? Were we all clear on that? This is such a gleeful mess. Let he who has never wondered if he’s on the right side of the Civil War cast the first stone. My man Nate Ruess says “I sold my soul for this? Washed my hands of that for this? I miss my mom and dad for this?” And you know what, yeah, man! Same! That’s how it feels when it comes to proclaiming anything positive about the not good album YE.
Anyway, yeah, Kanye’s “Some Nights” cover “Ghost Town” is a mediocre album’s best offering. It builds to 070’s verse, a satisfying rupture. And this is as close as I’ll let my hand get to that stove. —Hunter Harris (@hunteryharris)
The 1975, “Give Yourself a Try”
This morning, I was listening to Paul Simon’s The Rhythm of the Saints and thinking about how you don’t hear music that sounds so assured and carefree anymore, and how that’s not really that surprising considering music-making in this decade is fraught with insecurities about the state of the industry and if what you’re doing matters as much as you think it matters. What we get instead is a song like “Give Yourself a Try,” which is a jagged, trebly, and very self-aware anthem for millennials who are grappling with aging and, like, the very concept of existence. It will sound terrible coming out of your computer speakers, but for some reason that feels like the point. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@shockleysmith)
The Internet, “Come Over”
“You up?” It’s a catchphrase of romantic life for those who can’t be bothered to date, and on the Internet’s new single from their upcoming fourth album Hive Mind, Syd gives the motto its own sticky anthem. “Come Over” finds Syd bored, home alone for the night, throwing a kitchen sink of low-key options at a potential hookup: Champagne, TV, a celibate night of cuddling – whatever it takes, really, “if you just let me come over babe.” Her voice is full of the promise and appeal of contact with a stranger, the “naked new skin rush” as Japandroids put it so aptly a few years ago. And look who it is on guitar: Steve Lacy, the band’s newest member, who keeps his hot streak alive with some lovely, unassuming guitar vamps and a “piercing-ass solo,” to quote the shushing older brother in the video. –Matt Stieb (@MatthewStieb)
Lykke Li, “two nights”
For over a decade, Lykke Li has managed to make the well-tread topic of heartbreak sound new again. Her ethereal voice, often in the form of a down-tempo ballad, makes it impossible not to feel her pain. And as its name would suggest, her new album so sad so sexy wades into similar emotional waters. “Two nights” nails the acute feeling of despair knowing your lover is out with someone else: “Two nights in a row, where’d you go? I’ve been smokin’ / Two nights in a row, now I know that it’s broken.” But it’s the intricate production on so sad so sexy that makes it stand out from anything she’s ever done. The album is full of R&B beats, trap drums, and slinky bass lines, which match the rhythmic cadence of her voice that, at times, sounds like she’s rapping. It’s what I imagine it would sound like if Drake and Lana Del Rey were locked in a studio with the best vocal coaches in the world. Lykke Li proves, once again, that the Swedes do pop music better than anyone. –Olivia Becker (@oliviaLbecker)
Gorillaz, “Lake Zurich”
It’s always a little odd when an act goes dormant for the better part of a decade, only to return in prolific form. But then, Damon Albarn has always been the type to have his hand in a million projects at once, and there’s really no stopping him once he gets going. Gorillaz are about to release their second album in as many years, meanwhile Albarn says a new The Good, The Bad & The Queen album is also coming. Unlike the last Gorillaz album, this one won’t be as guest-heavy – just two – leaving the focus squarely on Albarn & Co. Except, on new song “Lake Zurich,” no one’s in the spotlight. It’s a majority instrumental track, one that builds up a quintessentially swanky ’80s synth groove with the addition of cowbells. It’s a luxe cocaine club tune and you will feel expensive listening to it. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)
Octavian’s “Party Over Here” was a catchy, melancholy song that immediately seemed ripe for a Drake remix. That never manifested (though Drake did throw a cosign his way), and maybe it’s for the best, because Octavian has been quietly releasing low-key singles that work perfectly on their own. “Little” doesn’t have the knowing sadness of “Party Over Here,” but that’s okay — it’s still another entry in a small but solid catalogue of singles that showcase Octavian’s effortlessly melodic flow. –SH-S
Oneohtrix Point Never, “The Station”
Picking one song from an OPN record is like plucking out a favorite thread from your best shirt: the part does not properly represent the whole, and it’s generally a waste of time. But “The Station,” off his ninth album for Warp, Age Of, is as close to a single as Daniel Lopatin has got with Oneohtrix Point Never – probably because it was originally written for Usher, after the singer lobbied Lopatin to write him a demo. “The whole station’s gonna burn down,” Lopatin sings, Auto-Tune dripping like mercury from his voice, as the track starts to come undone. It’s OPN at a crossroads. There are the fruitful beeps-and-boops and punctuational synths that have made him a household name in the worlds of minimalist and experimental music, but he’s also showing his cards as a pop songwriter: “The Station” proves Lopatin could bust out an apocalyptic R&B album, if Earth gets any worse. –MS