The 6 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: J. Cole, Charli XCX


Sorry, Taylor Swift, but you did not have one of the best new songs of the week.

Charli XCX — ‘Break The Rules’

Charli XCX dethrones herself, via Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” for the title of bad-behavior pop anthem. Dark dance-pop rarely, if ever, channels Blur’s “Song 2.” Charli XCX’s sophomore album, Sucker, is out October 21.

J. Cole — “Be Free”

As far as reactionary art in realtime goes, J. Cole’s response to the Michael Brown shooting is as poignant as it gets. As the shitshow in Ferguson continues to deteriorate, Cole funnels his anger into a numbingly desperate search for answers atop a midtempo piano and organ track that recalls Stevie Wonder and trip-hop simultaneously. Heartbreaking.

Caribou — “Our Love”

Justice named a song “On’n’On” once, and it’s a title I have come to think of as some sort of mantra in modern electronic music. “What are you even talking about?” you may be wondering, because generally speaking, dance music tends to go on and on and on and on, at least more than any genre. The idea I’m referring to is reserved for worldless tracks that just build and build, to the point where it’s like mounting a skyscraper on the roof deck of the Empire State Building. Just when you think one of these tracks take you much higher, its limitless layering somehow succeeds in taking you to the next level of euphoria. “Our Love” is one of those on’n’on songs.

Run the Jewels — “Blockbuster Night Part 1”

Killer Mike and El-P announced their second Run the Jewels album, RTJ2 (out October 28), with this sick new track. Atop a brutal, bass-heavy beat, Killer Mike owns the track with some sinister confidence: “If I’m late/ Tell Satan to be patient.”

Deerhoof — “Exit Only”

Deerhoof drop nearly all their pop quirk for this throttling nugget of noisy pink, i.e. the first single off their new album, La Isla Bonita (out November 4).

Generationals — “Black Lemon”

Maybe I’m just trying to squeeze in as many summery sounds as possible before the season ends, but the new song from New Orleans indie-pop duo Generationals is one to consider for a breezy, tropical-tinged playlist. The lyrics are somewhat obscured by many layers of synth loops, but they seem to be saying, essentially, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” That message is translated into a Tom Tom Club-via-Icona Pop package. Generationals’ fourth album, Alix, is out September 16 on Polyvinyl.