One new song a week, every week. Peep below for the full playlist, as well as a quick breakdown of each track:
February 26, 2018: ‘Psycho’ by Post Malone (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
Despite looking strangely like a scruffy, rat-tailed version of Shia LaBeouf, Post Malone has managed to position himself as one of rap’s smoothest hitmakers over the last two years. The 22-year-old hip-hop megastar can seemingly do no wrong: His hooks are undeniable, his collaborations are top-of-the-line and his crooning vocals flow effortlessly from track to track.
“Psycho” isn’t just the latest demonstration of Post’s abilities though—it might also be the best song he’s put together so far. From the song’s gentle, zoned-out melodies to its instantly quotable lyrics (including references to a diamond-studded bolo tie), the track might be the breakout track of spring 2018.
February 19, 2018: ‘Middle America’ by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Stephen Malkmus couldn’t have picked a more fitting name for his new single. Splashed with the kind of homegrown nostalgia and backroads-driving guitar twang that has permeated so much of indie rock in recent years, “Middle America” is an anthem for a much more rustic time.
But that’s exactly what makes the track so addictive. At 51 years old, Malkmus is in total dad mode with his ageless brand of alt-rock, and he’s never sounded better.
February 12, 2018: ‘The Ways’ by Khalid (feat. Swae Lee)
Even if Black Panther is as awesome as critics are saying it is, there’s still a chance the film’s music completely blows the movie itself out of the water. The official soundtrack, which executive producer Kendrick Lamar blessed the universe with last Friday, is as full of undeniable bangers as it is famous guest appearances.
Still, the album’s standout is easily “The Ways,” a laid back, trap drum-laden love song that finds two of music’s catchiest hitmakers at their best.
February 5, 2018: ‘Attention’ by Rich Brian (feat. Offset)
For an 18-year-old, Brian Imanuel sure has a lot of responsibility. The Indonesian rapper—known first as Rich Chigga and now as Rich Brian—is doing it all on Amen, handling the hooks, verses and production duties for his debut studio album.
“Attention,” which includes a reputation-validating appearance from Offset, showcases Rich Brian’s full artistic scope, and does exactly what the song’s title promises: It makes the teenage artist completely impossible to ignore.
January 29, 2018: ‘If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead’ by James Blake
James Blake is at his best when he’s experimenting. The half dub producer-half-R&B crooner has only gotten weirder and wiser since 2016’s The Colour In Anything, and his newest release is no different.
The track features a slow, driving groove and some fascinating sample work. We don’t even hear until nearly two minutes into the song: He seems happy letting his beat-making do the talking.
January 22, 2018: ‘Find Me’ by Porches
No one does depression pop better than Porches. Pool, the New York-based band’s fantastic 2016 full-length, was defined by the combination pounding, synth-laden backbeats and despondent, isolated lyrics.
It’s the same exact formula that makes “Find Me,” the standout song from the group’s latest record, The House, so captivating. A bass-heavy synth groove that feels more like standing in the corner than hitting the dance floor, the track is just as infectious as it is heartbreaking.
January 15, 2018: ‘After the Storm’ by Kali Uchis (feat. Tyler, The Creator & Bootsy Collins)
Kali Uchis is definitely in heat check mode right now. 2017 was a huge year for the Columbian-American singer, who spent the collaborating with the Gorillaz, Tyler, The Creator and Miguel and racking up her first Grammy nomination.
Now Uchis is back with a new track that showcases her range in a major way—like a let me just go ahead and make a funk song with one of the greatest funk artists of all time type of way.
January 8, 2018: ‘Jesse’ by Frankie Cosmos
New Year’s resolutions are overrated. Starting out 2018 with a new single, “Jesse,” which is the exactly type of quaint, heartwarming indie tune we’ve come to expect from the Brooklyn-based singer—this track is basically the musical opposite of your annoying friend that screams “new year, new me!” every time they order a salad at lunch.
January 1, 2018: ‘Stir Fry’ by Migos
There are fewer simple pleasures in the world than listening to Migos rap about food. Name dropping Popeyes, Five Guys and Chinese cuisine, the trio is at the height of their powers on this Pharrell Williams-produced beat, which feels like an absolute victory lap around whatever extra-planetary track the group was running in 2017.
Photo: Kevin Schraer