The 10 Best New Songs

Music Lists Best New Songs
The 10 Best New Songs

While completing your legally obligated daily Paste reading session this week, you may have noticed that music is publishing a lot of lists. You’re in luck because we have more, just like this one. Did we mention you’re also legally obligated to send us photos of your pets? Don’t worry, we’ll let it slide. While you get your furry (or scaly) friend to pose for the camera, why not throw on The Cool Kids’ latest throwback jam or SASAMI’s new single? Dance like no one is watching to illuminati hotties, and maybe a quick Scott Hardware serenade while you’re at it. Give your companions a kiss on Paste’s behalf, and check out some of our favorite tracks of the week.

Arlo Parks: “Softly”

London singer/songwriter and 2021 Mercury Prize winner Arlo Parks is back, and she comes bearing gifts: namely, a lovely new single, “Softly.” It marks her first new release since her critically acclaimed debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams (which was one of Paste‘s favorite albums of 2021). Striking the balance of smooth melodies entwined with subtle instrumental flourishes and poetic lyrics that have all become Parks staples, “Softly” picks right up where the best of Collapsed in Sunbeams left off. Even as each chorus demands that you “break it to me softly,” Parks delivers her lyrics with such tenderness that you can tell she would rather you not have to do it at all: “Oh, I forgot myself / I don’t want no one else.” It feels appropriate to dance along even as the track is breaking your heart, getting right to the center of what has made Parks so exciting to watch with each new release. —Elise Soutar

Battle Ave: “Core”

Led by vocalist and guitarist Jesse Doherty, Battle Ave made their 2011 debut with War Paint and followed that up with Year of Nod before taking a six-year hiatus, which ended in 2021 with the quintet’s self-titled, five-track EP. Now, on I Saw The Egg—produced by Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, Real Estate, Swans), as all their albums have been—the band finds “an organic middle ground,” per press materials, between the sounds of their first two albums, merging the rousing and the contemplative. That give and take manifests quite clearly on album standout “Core,” which puts its most dramatic foot forward in the form of a bold, layered shoegaze guitar riff. Doherty’s raspy vocal conjures images of precious connection fostered amid crushing isolation (“Meet me on the prison floor / I need something to keep warm / Put my hand on top of yours”), but he spends much of the song vocalizing wordlessly, his melodic crooning floating over the instrumental like steam from a hot spring. —Scott Russell

The Cool Kids: “It’s Yours, Pt. 2”

Everyone is talking about how 2000s aesthetics are coming back, but there is not nearly enough of a fanfare for the return of blog-era rap. Chicago’s The Cool Kids have reunited once more to release three albums in 2022, the first of which is aptly titled Before Shit Got Weird (March 3). Lead single “It’s Yours, Pt. 2” features a heavy dose of nostalgia thanks to Chuck Inglish’s iconic layered production, with sound effects, ominous echoes and hi-hats that give way to speaker-shaking bass. The Cool Kids take listeners on a trip down memory lane, and give new listeners a taste of the good ol’ days. —Jade Gomez

illuminati hotties: “sandwich sharer”

Ahead of her 2022 tour in support of last year’s acclaimed Let Me Do One More, illuminati hotties’ Sarah Tudzin released “Sandwich Sharer” as a standalone, brightening this week in the process. She writes around the kind of tiny act of intimacy that speaks volumes about a relationship, building an accessible, yet detailed tenderpunk track complete with masterful quiet-loud dynamics and glue-trap hooks. The choruses, in particular, hit like a sweeter, more wholesome blink-182 as Tudzin chants, “Sandwich sharer / Unprepared for / What comes after this / Take the big half / I will bite back / What you won’t finish / Until we’re finished,” her clipped lyrics as rhythmic as the snare hits that punctuate them. Tudzin is one of indie rock’s brightest stars and most in-demand collaborators, and on songs like “Sandwich Sharer,” it’s easy to see why. —Scott Russell

Mallrat: “Your Love”

Pop songwriter Mallrat—aka Grace Shaw—has been releasing music since her senior year of high school. The Australian singer is now 23, and she is entering a new era with her latest single “Your Love.” It’s a glaring stylistic departure for her, easing out of bubbly, electro-pop into darker, sexier territories. Rumbly bass and chopped vocals make way for a surprising Gangsta Pat sample, influenced by the songwriter’s admiration for the energy Memphis rap brings. It’s a song with endless surprises, perhaps the biggest of all being Mallrat’s consistent innovation and risk-taking. —Jade Gomez

PENDANT: “Thorn”

There’s a fearless sort of swagger to “Thorn” that PENDANT is in a unique position to provide. Los Angeles-via-Oakland musician Chris Adams essentially saw his career explode on the launchpad in 2019, when his former label Tiny Engines imploded in public on the day his debut album Through a Coil was set to be released. Harp (April 8), his forthcoming Saddle Creek debut, is something like a second chance, then, and Adams is seizing it with both hands, if lead single “Thorn” is any indication. Over a shuffling boom-bap beat and switchblade synths, Adams shouts invitations to “follow [him] down,” exhorting in the choruses, “Waiting for it all to kick in / Spinning out with a grin / This is my new life to begin.” Between the track’s multi-faceted sound, live-wire energy and voracious sense of perspective (as seen in samples of both a T.D. Jakes sermon and NSYNC hit), “Thorn” is an ode to the joy of being reborn. It might as well be PENDANT’s calling card. —Scott Russell

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: “The Way It Shatters”

Australian rockers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have announced the follow-up to 2020’s acclaimed Sideways to New Italy, their third album Endless Rooms, out May 6 on Sub Pop. Lead single “The Way It Shatters” announces itself as a stylistic divergence for Rolling Blackouts C.F. almost immediately, with an exuberant synth figure leading the way while the band’s usual guitar-rock thrum brings up the rear. But rest assured, it’s there: The track culminates in a driving guitar breakdown before returning to its contemplation of the human race—how, especially when in crisis, we’re all just people doing the best we can (“When it all comes apart / One true heart”). —Scott Russell

SASAMI: “Call Me Home”

As anticipation continues to build for SASAMI’s second full length album Squeeze (Feb. 25, Domino), she’s shared yet another single: the poignant “Call Me Home.” Following the earlier single releases for “The Greatest,” “Say It” and “Skin A Rat,” as well as her cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Sorry Entertainer,” “Call Me Home” peels back a new layer of what we can expect from the rest of the project. While the other tracks we’ve heard so far see SASAMI raging against all that tries to contain her, she’s sending out a message of support here. “I want you to know you’re not alone/I want you to know you can always call me home,” she sings over breezy guitar that eventually gives way to synths and heavy drums circling around her voice, always lifting her reassurance up even as the track seems to get darker with each plunge into a new chorus. If the other singles bring catharsis to the forefront, “Call Me Home” is the comforting come-down that you’ll need in its wake. —Elise Soutar

Scott Hardware: “Love Through the Trees”

“Love Through the Trees” is the third single we’ve heard from Scott Hardware’s forthcoming third album Ballad of a Tryhard so far, and it solidifies the Toronto-based singer/songwriter’s ability to deliver beautifully intricate songs built upon melodies that creep up behind you and stick with you indefinitely. Though lyrically, it’s a shameless love song, the layers of strings and guitars that gently wash over Hardware’s voice in waves meld into something so much more complicated than what it initially appears to be. It redefines what left-of-center pop music can sound like, and has the immediate songwriting chops to back it up. By the time the initial build-up of the chorus melts away, you can feel your edges softening, just like he sings his are. —Elise Soutar

Twen: “Bore U”

Nashville-by-way-of-Boston DIY band Twen have offered up their most groove-driven track to date with “Bore U,” a kiss-off that gets you bobbing your head the second you hear those opening echoing chords (which, really, is the best kind of kiss-off song you can ask for: one that sends people running to the dancefloor). “When you tell a lie/You taste it/It seeps down deep inside/You can’t shake it/And life won’t be enough,” vocalist Jane Fitzsimmons warns, encouraging whoever’s listening to say what they want to say, even if that involves telling her she does what the title suggests. Though there’s no word yet on a follow-up to their critically-acclaimed debut album Awestruck, this track and December single “HaHaHome” are reason enough to keep your eye on whatever Twen have coming down the pipeline. —Elise Soutar

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