The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Kanye Inspired My First Cry of 2015


Instead of another disappointing Gwen Stefani single, take these new tracks for a spin. Back to your regularly scheduled programming — more new music than you know what to do with — next week.

Kanye West feat. Paul McCartney — “Only One”

“Only One” is the sweetest song by a dude who not so long ago rapped about eating Asian pussy with sweet and sour sauce. Hell, it may end up the sweetest song of the year. If you’ve ever lost someone close and allowed your life to move forward in spite of it, you may get a little teary-eyed over “Only One.” West explained in a press release that the song — the first of his collaboration with Paul McCartney — was written from the perspective of his mother Donda West, who died suddenly in 2007 of surgical complications. “Tell Nori about me,” he begs, determined. “My mom was singing to me, and through me to my daughter,” West explained, adding that he doesn’t even remember recording the sparse, organ-driven, subtly Auto-Tuned track. Absolutely stunning, the most genuine work Kanye’s put out in years.

POP ETC — “Running in Circles”

Apparently the indie rockers formerly known as Morning Benders have been listening to a ton of Depeche Mode, and it totally works.

MØ — “New Year’s Eve”

If you missed Danish pop singer-songwriter MØ’s No Mythologies to Follow in 2014, her New Year’s track may give you an idea of the kind of year she had: big enough to require public reflection. Given its subject matter, “New Year’s Eve” takes it down in the bpm department, allowing the track to go big and sweeping in a way that reminds me of Imogen Heap and Lana Del Rey.

Shamir — “The House That Built Me” (Miranda Lambert cover)

For Rookie‘s January theme (“First Person”), XL-signed singer Shamir covered Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me,” a song that — in Shamir’s words — “[talks] to a person living in a house that you’ve built with your family from the ground up, and grown up in, and have all these memories about.” Those who’ve only heard Shamir’s debut single on XL — the disco-house banger “On the Regular” — might be surprised to hear him covering a country ballad in his stunning falsetto, but it would not be the first time. The final track on Shamir’s debut EP, last year’s Northtown, saw him covering Lindi Ortega’s “Lived and Died Alone” with sobering earnestness; I was worried this side of the Vegas-bred vocalist would be lost in where’s he’s headed with his sound.

Beyoncé – “7/11 (Skrillex and Diplo’s Jack Ü Remix)”

To steal a phrase from Bey, “Radio say, ‘Speed it up,’ I just go slower” was the first thing I thought when I heard her Beyoncé platinum edition bonus track “7/11.” As the semi-banger Bey wanted it to be, “7/11” couldn’t quite work itself up there. I never thought I’d want a big, dumb EDM remix from Skrillex (and Diplo, as part of their Jack Ü collab), but the smoke-and-mirrors build-ups turn it around for me this time.

Bonus thing: This tiny, tiny clip of Michael Stipe covering Perfume Genius’ “Hood” in concert earlier this week. If you have full video of this in your possession, I implore you to put it on YouTube.