Before we dive into the best new songs of the week, we have to make one thing perfectly clear: Kelela's album has arrived - and it was so completely worth the wait. Naturally, one of the chanteuse's cuts from Take Me Apart made this week's round-up, but that's just scratching the surface.
Kelela aside, we've been gifted with another taste from King Krule's upcoming album The Ooz, a disarmingly sweet acoustic ballad from Kehlani, and a jam from Ty Dolla $ign that may succeed in convincing you summer hasn't left yet. And don't even get us started on the latest from Yaeji, an artist who is lowkey reinventing our perception of turn-up music.
Stream (most of) our picks in the playlist below, and keep scrolling to see our 10 picks for the Best Tracks of the Week.
Jordan Bratton - "Spaces"
It is frankly ridiculous that Jordan Bratton is only 22-years old, particularly when his voice is capable of conveying a depth of human emotion that could fill an Olympic-sized pool. It is also hard to accept that "Spaces" is just his third single from an upcoming mixtape; the production sparkles, and the songwriting is on a level that most would be envious to get to several albums into their career. Bravo Mr. Bratton.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - "I Will Make Room for You"
Smith's third full-length in as many years arrived this morning, and it is immediately clear that The Kid is her most accessible, inviting one yet. As always, she weaves rich layers of electronic sounds together to create a whole that sounds unbelievably organic. On this album standout, brassy orchestral notes set the stage for layers of vocal loops that are awe-inspiring, particularly when you realize that she is simply imploring us "to feel your best."
Kehlani - "Honey"
Now here's a surprise; Kehlani delivering an acoustic ballad on the beauty of her queer love life manages to feel both fresh and subversive (especially in a week where the Trump administration continues to roll back the rights of LGBT citizens in the workplace). Politics aside, "Honey" is the kind of sugar-coated sweetness you can only find in the precious boundary of a pure pop song.
Kelela - "Truth or Dare"
The supreme pleasure of listening to Take Me Apart is finding out that yes, the other 11 tracks Kelela hadn't released as singles are every bit as awesome as the ones that she did. Case in point is "Truth or Dare," a song that honors her musical heritage with playful allusions to peak Janet Jackson while simultaneously transcending it altogether. We had an inkling before, but tracks like this one prove the point even further that Kelela is on another level.
King Krule - "Half Man Half Shark"
None of the singles King Krule has released ahead of The Ooz has sounded like the other, which is a telling sign that the full-length will be either a profoundly-transformative success or a total stinkeroo. Listen to "Half Man Half Shark," his third taster of the record released thus far, and take a wild guess as to which one it will be.
Knxwledge - "Promise"
Knxwledge has had a fairly quiet year so far, which is understandable given that his 2016 saw the producer catapulted into the mainstream at the speed of light. But a tinkering mind like his can rarely sit still for long; "Promise" may be a simple palette-cleanser posted to his SoundCloud, but even such experiments are, in his hands, a mini-masterpiece.
Sam Smith - "Pray"
After winning a shipping container's worth of Grammys for his debut album, the bar is set pretty high for Sam Smith to deliver on his follow-up. But Smith, it seems, is no dummy; getting Timbaland to produce for him is probably one of the smartest moves he could have made. "Pray" effortlessly recalls the impenetrably-smooth work the producer submitted to Justin Timberlake a decade ago without feeling reductive, which is because no one has vocal chops quite like Smith.
Smino - "Sorbet"
Ladies and gentlemen, what a flow. Smino is among the year's best crop of rising rappers, and a track like "Sorbet" exemplifies why. He approaches his bars with a flexibility that is unmatched among his peer group; the chorus alone fails to conform to any set rhythm across its breathy allusions to a frozen dessert. That he makes it so sound easy is why you're reading about him now.
Ty Dolla $ign - "Ex" ft. YG
Is summer over? You'd be forgiven for thinking that we're still somewhere in mid-July if you pressed play on the video above. Ty Dolla $ign has given us more than a few samplers of his upcoming full-length Beach House 3, but "Ex" is the most bouncy of the bunch. The squelches of G-funk indebted synthesizers give the whole affair a fuzzy feeling of nostalgia, and the addition of YG is inspired; wisely, Ty lets the beat come to a standstill when the emcee steps up to the mic.
Yaeji - "Drink I'm Sippin On"
That a producer who divides her time between New York and Seoul can quietly reinvent both house and rap music speaks measures to how the music world works in 2017. Yaeji's soundscapes evoke the best of both of the worlds she plumbs for influences; dense, atmospheric ambience is paired with the whizzes and snares of trap-beats, all of it tied together by her swirling, apathetic vocals that - we can assume from the title - are about getting turnt as hell. One listen should have you empathizing with that feeling immediately.
Want more? Head here to see our picks for September's essential albums and tracks in our round-up of the Best Music of the Month.