Best New Songs (May 18, 2023)

Don't miss this week's best new tracks.

Music Lists Best New Songs
Best New Songs (May 18, 2023)

At Paste Music, we’re listening to so many new tunes on any given day, we barely have any time to listen to each other. Nevertheless, every week we can swing it, we take stock of the previous seven days’ best tracks, delivering a weekly playlist of our favorites. Check out this week’s best new songs, in alphabetical order. (You can check out last week’s songs here.)

ANOHNI and the Johnsons: “It Must Change”
On the heels of announcing that her first album—My Back Was a Bridge For You To Cross—with the Johnsons in over a decade will arrive in July, ANOHNI has returned with “It Must Change,” a beautiful, soulful movement that plays a key part in a project that responds to, according to the singer/songwriter, “global and environmental concerns first voiced in popular music over 50 years ago.” “The city in your head / Collapsing walls and lead, it must change / The fire is cleaning / The oil from the stones / Your God is falling you, things must change / Giving you hell / The truth is that our love / Will ricochet through eternity,” ANOHNI sings atop a vibrant, dreamy guitar strum and atmospheric harmonies paired with mid-century rhythm, pulling influence from the emotional and sonic ethos of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On while making it wholly her own. —Matt Mitchell

Being Dead: “Daydream”
One of our most-anticipated debuts of 2023 is Being Dead’s When Horses Would Run, and second single “Daydream” builds upon the momentum established earlier this spring on lead track “Muriel’s Big Day Off.” The Texas-based old souls make music that exudes energy that is almost impossible to pin down, and that’s what makes Being Dead one of the best new acts around! Under the leadership of Falcon Bitch, Gumball and Ricky Moto, “Daydream” is a smooth, irresistible and cosmic offering that outmuscles any bedroom bop label. “Heaven’s not alone / Heaven’s got a best friend / Heaven is a home / Home is anywhere,” Falcon Bitch sings. There are hints of post-punk and surf-rock within, as Being Dead tumble into a wake of dreaminess as vast as the horizon before us. —Matt Mitchell

Bully: “Change Your Mind”
With her highly anticipated new album Lucky For You arriving in a few weeks, Bully’s—aka Alicia Bognanno—latest single “Change Your Mind” is a roaring, anthemic, early-aughts-coming-of-age-movie-conjuring tune. With gauzy, distorted alt-rock guitars and her legendary, gutteral howl, Bognanno pierces the sky and reflects on finding closure in a relationship she fought deeply to preserve: “I’m not asking for a favor, I just want to be let in / All I wanted was to feel wanted, I don’t need another friend / And you might love me at my best but / At my worst, you’re walking out,” she sings. We can’t wait for everyone to hear Lucky For You in its entirety. —Matt Mitchell

chester watson: “eyes closed”
On this single from his upcoming album Fish Don’t Climb Trees, chester watson raps through gritted teeth, as if he can’t believe he’s being asked to “right all my sins.” The good news for us — and maybe for him too — is that he also doesn’t sound like he’s completely absolved himself. The production of this track and his delivery comes out in a narcotized haze, a psychedelic cloud that watson is clearly having a difficult time working his way out of. Maybe he’d rather stay there? I know I would. —Robert Ham

Chris Farren: “Cosmic Leash”
The lead single from Chris Farren’s forthcoming album Doom Singer is a volcano of hardcore and singer/songwriter that erupts into a delicious pop-punk-gleaning tempest. It’s heavy, catchy bubblegum emo that positions distorted, hooky guitars around Farren’s unique vocal set. “The cosmic leash / The lava flow / My body bursting like a volcano / It’s rushing back, back to me / The time release, the afterglow / I wanna glitch out of the world I know,” he sings. Produced, engineered and mixed by Jay Som’s Melina Duterte, “Cosmic Leash” is the stunner you’d expect from a multi-hyphenate like Farren. —Matt Mitchell

Dominic Sen: “Prayer”
Equating the act of prayer with the moment of giving one’s lips over to a new lover is not a new sentiment in the world of pop music. Both are simple acts done in the hopes of greater glory. But the way future pop artist Dominic Sen expresses that idea on her latest single. Rather than get caught up in any gospel trappings, Sen surrounds the stereo field in warm, colorful clouds of synthesizer and her fragile voice. It feels appropriately enough like heaven on earth. —Robert Ham

Eliza Gilkyson: “Safety Zone”
Folk artist Eliza Gilkyson sounds downright conflicted about being in, as she sings on her new single, God’s “safety zone.” Within her earthy delivery and the jazzy lope of the music, there’s plenty of relief. The song was, after all, inspired by an accident at a Texas folk festival that involved Gilkyson being dragged by her own car down a dirt road. But as she sings of the trials of others on this planet scraping to get by, she continues to wonder how she got so lucky. It’s that tension that drives this song straight to the heart of anyone else who may be struggling to reckon with their privilege and good fortune. —Robert Ham

Girl Ray: “Up”
Girl Ray make such irresistible music, and their new single “Up” continues to solidify that notion. The third single from the London trio’s forthcoming LP Prestige is a wall-to-wall, feel-good, groovy earthquake. Wanting to make something that lives somewhere in-between the minimalism of Queen’s “Cool Cat” and David Bowie’s disco fantasy “Fame,” the trio trancend both inspirations with ease. To add to the sonic palette they’ve been forging, there’s a gorgeous mid-century guitar solo in the track’s last half that’ll bring you to your knees. The momentum of “Everybody’s Saying That” and “Hold Tight” was no fluke, “Up” is an all-timer you oughta know about. —Matt Mitchell

Kedr Livanskiy: “With Love K…”
One of the more welcome developments in the world of electronic music has been the re-emergence of drum ‘n’ bass as a weapon of choice among producers and performers like Pink Pantheress. Russian artist Kedr Livanskiy would also emerge with new music built from the hot stepping beats of that dance music subgenre comes as little surprise. In her career, Livanskiy has always stayed a couple of steps ahead of the curve. She asks us to catch up to her with a new EP K-Notes (out June 22) and this lead single, a glassy track that applies her steadying vocals to an otherwise turbulent tune. —Robert Ham

Phi-Psonics: “We Walk in the Garden of Our Ancestors”
Bassist Seth Ford-Young is attempting to take his spiritual jazz band Phi-Psonics and its listeners to a higher, better plane of existence. Or at least to help us evolve into a stronger version of ourselves. “Still the same person,” he writes in the press notes for forthcoming album Octava (out June 30), “but vibrating at a higher frequency.” To get a sense of what that might feel like, dive into this infinity pool of warm tones produced by flute, electric piano and the gentle gush of drummer Josh Callazo’s cymbals. It may not reignite your spiritual path but it will leave you humming like you’re being swarmed by butterflies. —Robert Ham

Róisín Murphy: “The Universe”
An early front-runner for my personal favorite song of the year, Róisín Murphy’s latest single—“The Universe”—comes with the announcement of Hit Parade, the Irish disco legend’s first album since 2020’s Róisín Machine. Earlier this year, Murphy released “CooCool,” which we also adored. “The Universe,” however, continues to build upon her immense, rich and poised vision of how to perfectly blend disco, R&B, soul and glam rock. The cover of the forthcoming album uses AI-generated art, and “The Universe” even touches on finding joy in the multiverse: “Giving yourself to me, how could it ever be wrong? / Giving yourself for free, it only shows that you’re strong / Giving yourself to me, how could it ever be wrong?” Murphy sings. Later, the track segues into a monologue sporting a vocal distortion reminiscent of Prince’s Camille on Sign O’ The Times. Hit Parade is set to blow us all away. —Matt Mitchell

Victoria Anthony: “New Disaster”
Vancouver teen pop singer Victoria Anthony’s sophomore LP, New Disaster arrived last Friday, and the title track was fashioned into a final single on the same day. As an opener, it establishes Anthony as a new force; her rebellious vocal deliveries conjure pop-punk production. “New Disaster” is catchy and full of hooks. Anthony is more than aware of how to properly tap into the pop architecture that ensconces the music charts, and her second album more than encapsulates how eager she is to live within that world. —Matt Mitchell

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin