It’s…mid November somehow? Although the year is quickly coming to an end, there are always exciting new beginnings in the form of the week’s best new music, and these past seven days have brought some serious bangers. Our Highsnobiety Issue 15 cover star extraordinaire Jaden Smith did his thing and released his debut album SYRE, including his track “Icon” where he shouts us out (we love you Jaden!).
Fanboying-girling-personing aside, we also thoroughly enjoyed the follow-up to Kendrick Lamar and U2’s unexpected DAMN. collab, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s new album Rest in its entirety, as well as new songs from Lil Uzi Vert, Kehlani, and Talib Kweli. Check out these and more in our picks for best tracks of the week.
Abra – “Bacardi”
Our favorite Darkwave Duchess? Check. Throwback to two of the best early 2000s R&B cuts? Check. There are probably other things we could “check off” our proverbial list, but just do us a solid, press play and forget everything outside this song for 113 seconds.
Björk – “Blissing Me”
When Björk’s upcoming album Utopia was first-announced, it was widely shared that the chanteuse referred to it as her “Tinder album.” It seemed silly at first, but that’s really a piercingly accurate description of her latest single “Blissing Me.” Over delicate harp and skittering beats, she sings of two “music nerds” falling in love while “sharing MP3s.” It’s the most modern – and genuinely inspired – she’s sounded in years.
Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Sylvia Says”
This little ditty featuring the poetry of Sylvia Plath is far funkier than it has any right to be – surely this is the grooviest the morose muse’s words have ever sounded? Charlotte Gainsbourg’s just-arrived album Rest is chock-full of highlights, but “Sylvia Says” may outpace them all in terms of sheer magnetic danceability.
Jaden Smith – “Icon”
Noted Twitter user, star of our new favorite cartoon Neo Yokio, and Highsnobiety Issue 15 cover star Jaden Smith shouts us out in this track from his debut album SYRE, so you know we had to include it. Our puffed-up ego aside, this one goes incredibly hard. Yes indeed, our boy Jaden is simply “just an icon living” with one-liners like “All your verses sound like dirty dishes.”
Kehlani – “Already Won”
While we’re all constantly scrambling as the year comes to a close, wondering what the heck we’ve actually accomplished in the mess that was 2017, Kehlani comes through with a serene banger, assuring us mere mortals that she’s already won. After securing funding for her wellness start-up and continuing her reign as a Grammy-nominated SweetSexySavage, she’s absolutely right and we’re absolutely here for this uplifting anthem.
Lil Uzi Vert – “Loaded”
Of the four tracks off Uzi’s new Luv Is Rage 2 deluxe edition, “Loaded” is the one we keep coming back to – we can’t get enough of that soaring pan flute riff. Best believe we’re copping the limited cassette version of this soon-to-be canonical rap album.
NSTASIA – “Chains”
Otherwise known as, the track on which the rising Haitian singer/songwriter NSTASIA turns chains into the most tantalizingly sexual accessory ever. Finding eroticism in small moments is a hallmark of a great R&B artist, and the visceral care with which she sings of wanting to see her lovers chains swing as they make love ensure she’s on track to be a cornerstone of the genre.
Stefflon Don “Ding-A-Ling” ft. Skepta
Just when you thought that 2017 would end without a defining anthem for the clitoris, along comes Stefflon Don with “Ding-A-Ling.” The British MC’s latest single commands your ear – first leading you around that children’s singalong chorus then plunging you into the depths of a squelching bass line marred with air-raid sirens, held together only by her breathtaking patois delivery. Even Skepta is here to just serve her as a submissive pawn; this is Stefflon’s game, don’t get it twisted.
Talib Kweli – “Travelling Light” ft. Kaytranada & Anderson .Paak
Talib Kweli keeps it triumphant on his latest track from his just-released eighth studio album Radio Silence. 99.9% of the time, a Kaytranada production gets our stamp of approval regardless of who’s spitting bars over it, but in this case, guest vocals from Anderson .Paak and Kweli’s hyped-up verses make this song simply out of this world.
U2 – “American Soul” ft. Kendrick Lamar
As the flip side to the U2-featuring “XXX.” on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., “American Soul” has more surprises than you would expect. As a variation on the band’s irresistible hook on Kenny’s original track, they deliver a gritty, speaker-thumping shakedown that makes you wonder how a bunch of blokes from Ireland can succeed in making something that sounds so quintessentially American.
In case you missed it, check out last week’s best tracks right here.
- Text: Jake Boyer & Bianca Giulione
- Cover Image: Kenneth Cappello for Highsnobiety