The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Widowspeak, The Weeknd


It’s hot and I’m sick of arguing over would-be Songs of the Summer, so here are a few dreamy and/or funky tracks that were on repeat for me this week.

Widowspeak — “Girls”

“I’ve seen girls younger than me doing things I’ve never done,” coos Molly Hamilton on Widowspeak’s new single. As Hamilton recently explained, the song is about feeling threatened by the risks taken by younger peers and their subsequent successes. This emotional quandary is not exclusive to girl-on-girl jealousy, but as Hamilton wisely notes, “It is incredibly important for women/girls in particular to realize that we don’t have expiration dates.” “Girls” gets at all these ugly, messy truths so often left unsaid, and does so in a way that tries to make peace with the reality of the situation: by placing them atop a folk-rock jam that recalls Laurel Canyon’s peak. Widowspeak’s new album, All Yours, is out September 4 via Captured Tracks.

The Arcs — “Stay In My Corner”

As much as I appreciate the rough jolt of a song like “10 A.M. Automatic,” I’ve always preferred Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach’s voice when he’s leading quieter songs, like much of his 2009 solo debut. “Stay In My Corner,” the first single from his new side project The Arcs, features the sweetest incarnation of Auerbach’s rasp we’ve heard in a minute, backed up by relaxed-fit psychedelia and vintage soul no less. The Arcs’ Yours, Dreamily is out September 4 via Nonesuch.

The Weeknd — “Can’t Feel My Face”

I generally find The Weeknd to be overrated as far as Canadian sad-boy musicians go, but the highly stylized R&B singer born Abel Tesfaye has hooked me with his latest squelchy-funky ode to love as drugs. Hello, MJ.

Shura — “White Light”

If Holy Ghost! remixed a Haim ballad but waited six minutes (out of seven) to really get things going, it would sound like this new track from London bedroom pop singer, songwriter, and producer Shura. (Sidenote, if you haven’t heard Shura’s “2Shy” yet, do that immediately after listening to “White Light”).

Kacey Musgraves — “Family Is Family”

The second song released from country critical darling, Kacey Musgraves, is a tidy homage to the messiest subject short of romance: familial dysfunction. The guitars here swoon and chug, sometimes at the same time, while Musgraves elicits a few chuckles with lines about her Southern clan owns too much wicker. It could be a lot worse, and she knows it all over this track. Musgraves performed the song on Seth Meyers earlier this week, but I prefer the studio version. Her new album, Pageant Material, is out June 23.