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.

Aphex Twin, “T69 Collapse”
The electronic artist Aphex Twin was an undeniably huge musical influence on Radiohead circa Kid A (and beyond), but that band seems to have picked up some of his playfulness (or maybe he’s picked up some of theirs?). In advance of the release of “T69 Collapse,” the first single from the upcoming Collapse EP, mysterious Aphex Twin–related art appeared on random walls in a few major cities, then an Aphex Twin video was pulled from Adult Swim before it could ever air because it failed the Harding test, a.k.a. the test that makes sure you don’t get epilepsy when you watch something. It seems like this is probably the video that didn’t get aired, so maybe don’t watch this if you don’t like flashing lights and feeling like your body is going through sensory overload. It’s a classic Aphex Twin track — built on frantic drum programming with blankets of calm, pillowy synth over the top, that, midway through, slows down and falls apart like it’s decaying in real time. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@shockleysmith)

H.E.R., “Against Me”
H.E.R. — the singer also known as Gabi Wilson — was once faceless, putting out her music anonymously via SoundCloud for months. Now she’s one of the main faces of the new emerging class of R&B stars, right up there next to Ella Mai and Daniel Caesar. She’s released I Used to Know Her, the prelude to her 2017 debut album, and it’s another solid blend of spoken word, honeyed vocals, and songwriting that reads like notes from a therapy session. “Against Me” is about a man, but really it’s about the woman he’s let down, who wants so much more from him than he can provide. She’s got an appetite for emotional fulfillment that he just can’t satisfy, but she keeps starving herself because the small tastes of it keep her coming back for more. “Against Me” is difficult to get through if you’re in her position, but it’s necessary to stay until the end: H.E.R. reads her own poetry, an open letter to women, about knowing when to let these toxic people go by paying better attention to the warning signs: “We often forget and neglect intuition can see through illusive intent, listen to it.” —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Mick Jenkins, “Bruce Banner”
Rap has had a long, knotty relationship with comic books, so it’s not especially notable that Mick Jenkins’s new single is a reference to the real name of the scientist who would become Marvel’s Incredible Hulk. It does signal something of a new era, though. Whenever Banner used to be mentioned in hip-hop, he was usually called David Banner, because that’s the name the ’70s Hulk television show decided to go with. To be fair to Jenkins, though, his appeal is not that he knows the correct imaginary government names of popular superheroes who just can’t seem to carry an entire movie, it’s his ability to use his flow to essentially barrel through a beat without sounding like he’s ignoring it entirely. On this song, he comes for Kendrick’s rap crown, which is a ballsy move, but rap wouldn’t be rap without ballsy moves (and also copious superhero references). –SH-S

Travis Scott, “Sicko Mode”
It has taken me many tries to get through Travis Scott’s new album because I find most of it aggressively meh, and double the attempts to pick a song worthy of calling the best. Forgive me for following the herd, Travis, but I’m going with “Sicko Mode,” the track formulated to stand out among the bunch anyway: First, it features Drake. Second, it features Drake rapping about how Pusha-T spoiled his relationship with Adidas, so now Drake remains loyal to Nike. Third, it includes three beat changes. And they don’t come so much like lane switches as they do sharp swerves and skids, especially the way the second beat cuts off the first one Drake’s riding mid-sentence just a minute into the song. Then Swae Lee cuts in and interrupts Travis, then later Drake swings back in. Somehow, these transitions aren’t as choppy as that sounds because the BPMs aren’t wildly different, which is mostly how I feel about the album on the whole: It’s just one long slog that, even when doing the most, still sounds like the least possible effort was put forth. That said, I can bounce my ass for days to “Sicko Mode,” so the essence of H-town rap is still well-represented. –DL

Dilly Dally, “Sober Motel”
Dilly Dally front woman Katie Monks could sing the alphabet and it would be a blast to listen to. She’s got one of those instantly classic voices — it’s coated in a layer of grit and can lean harsh, but is so powerful that it’s undeniable. So undeniable, in fact, that the very act of throwing on any Dilly Dally song — seriously, any of them — will make you wonder how Dilly Dally isn’t the biggest rock band going. “Sober Motel” was written as a “celebration of sobriety, in the midst of an industry that is anything but.” Monks apparently wrote it in a motel bathroom while on the road, and it sounds like it. It’s exhausted but triumphant. –SH-S

Best New Songs of the Week