The 10 Best New Songs

Music Lists Best New Songs
The 10 Best New Songs

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 below.

Caroline Polachek: “Sunset”

Caroline Polachek is back with “Sunset,” her third proper single since the 2019 release of her debut album under her own name, Pang. Released alongside a music video, the track has a lot to live up to: Its predecessors “Bunny Is a Rider” and “Billions” were among Paste’s top songs of 2021 and 2022 (at mid-year), respectively. Co-produced by Polachek and Sega Bodega, “Sunset” is a bewitching, escapist swerve that sets the singer’s ethereal voice against a bright and breezy instrumental. Acoustic guitar dances across handclaps and a Balearic beat, as Polachek serenades a lover who gives her hope when nothing else feels right: “But boy, your patience is a magic and a medicine / ‘Cause every spiral brings me back into your arms again / No regrets, ‘cause you’re my sunset / Fiery red, forever fearless,” she sings, punctuating each chorus by urging, “Don’t look back, let’s ride away.” Polachek alludes subtly to the darkness of modern times, but never lets them cloud the halcyon track, instead finding peace and joy in passionate love. —Scott Russell

Dazy: ”On My Way”

Dazy, the rock project of Richmond, Virginia’s James Goodson, is back with another new single ahead of OUTOFBODY (Oct. 28, Lame-O Records). Out now alongside a music video, “On My Way” is the third single off Dazy’s debut album after “Split” and “Rollercoaster Ride.” Dazy goes 3/3 with “On My Way,” staying true to his vision of combining “big room, widescreen hooks with homemade, bedroom production,” as press notes put it. Goodson shrugs off existential dread (“Comet won’t miss, but I’ll just be on my way / Spreading that stress, but I’ll just be on my way”) over a drum machine beat and blown-out guitar and bass, eventually whammy-ing his way into a pocket of spacey psych-rock. Feedback and guitar fuzz hang in the air alongside Goodson’s vocal harmonies, a rare unmoored moment that he follows with one last crashing, power-pop shoutalong. —Scott Russell

Frankie Cosmos: “Empty Head”

The new Frankie Cosmos tune and its title certainly at first feel like a shrug of the shoulders, but the song quickly reveals itself to be saturated with empathy. Frontwoman Greta Kline sings in a way where you can’t quite tell if she’s reached a languorous peace or just returned from a really good cry. She reassures the listener that, “It’s okay not to sing a song / About everything / All the time.” The track as a whole, as it lurches between quiet sections filled with piano and gently reaffirming bass, and uptempo parts perfect to wiggle around to, provides this space for a big deep breath. It asks you to allow yourself to take a break from this relentless drive for productivity built into us; making your blood levels jump with the changes in tempo and feel, it still manages to calm the activity in your veins for at least a bit. The piano lends an easily drifting, sweetly dreamy quality to the arrangement, and the instrumentals of the track make it feel like a heavy kind of floating. The lyrics are so simple, with such purpose and hope for just the smallest reprieve from stress that it sort of breaks your heart, as Kline sings, “I’m always bursting at the seams / I’ll tell you all about my dreams / I wish that I could quiet it / Accept a little silence.” The song feels like an enthusiastic drawing done by a child: simple, but full of emotion, intent and message. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Kelela: “Happy Ending”

Five years after her 2017 album Take Me Apart, Kelela returned in September with “Washed Away,” and again with this week’s “Happy Ending.” The former single was an oceanic ballad, but the latter is more immediate, as Kelela finds romantic refuge on the dancefloor. Production from LSDXOXO and Bambii lends “Happy Ending” a frenetic, club-friendly energy that somehow manages not to call undue attention to itself, leaving Kelela’s vocals plenty of room to craft a portrait of a precarious relationship. “If you don’t run away / Could be a happy ending after all / It’s deeper than fantasy,” she croons over pulsing bass, bringing all her allure to bear on closing the gap between their dreams and their reality. There’s no resisting “Happy Ending,” whether in terms of at least tapping a toe to its thrumming breakbeats, or investing emotionally in the longshot love affair Kelela conjures. —Scott Russell

kolezanka: “Canals of Our City”

The first new song from multi-instrumentalist Kristina Moore’s kolezanka since their 2021 debut album Place Is, “Canals of Our City” stitches together fragments of memory to create a shimmering indie-rock short story. Moore (also of Foyer Red) looks back on their first love and all its youthful abandon, singing, “After all this time, you still feel safe to me,” one of several stunning lyrics. As the song’s Stereolab-inspired guitar-rock groove presses on, those halcyon days fade from view, and Moore, with backing vocalizations and fuzzy riffs swirling around them, takes stock of what—and who—is left standing, singing, “Cruel are all the ways the world will give you life, unraveling.” kolezanka’s latest is the kind of song you can nod your head to in passing, or hang on every word of—it rewards you either way, as Moore channels the pain of their past into emotional-knockout rock. —Scott Russell

Macie Stewart: “Defeat”

There’s something so human about refusing to admit when you’re overmatched—biting off more than you can chew, yet refusing to spit it out. When we make commitments our minds and bodies can’t live up to, we learn about our limits by pushing beyond them, in search of … what, exactly? Chicago composer and multi-instrumentalist Macie Stewart (of FINOM, fka Ohmme) seeks these and other answers on “Defeat,” her mesmerizing new chamber-folk tune. Stewart’s own contemplative vocals ring out over a looping, rhythmic guitar line, which is later joined by gentle shakers and stirring violins, all performed by Stewart herself, while fellow Chicagoan V.V. Lightbody is featured on the flute. Initially, Stewart is at a loss to explain her actions, (“I’m not one for admitting defeat / Even when it’s handed to me / What more did I need? / What thrill did I seek?”), but the search ultimately leads her back to her purpose: “Composing a word and take back the meaning / I promised my best but it’s not what I’m giving / I promise my best.” It’s a promise she keeps. —Scott Russell

Pearla: “The Place With No Weather”

Pearla (aka Nicole Rodriguez) wants you to make no mistake that she means intensity. The build-up to her latest single brings the storm our way, and her vocals feel dangerously suspended over a shaking, deep-seated guitar. “You stole my universe,” she repeats at the closing of the song, sounding less accusatory than yearning and slightly helpless. For a song with so much direction and drive, it’s strange to be left like this at the end: a bit teary-eyed, a bit angry and overall, confused by the hurt that you’ve been left with in your lap. Rodriguez explains, “I was thinking about outer space, and I was imagining all of the different possible ways for life to take form. I was feeling really stuck in my body, and sensitive to my surroundings. I wondered what it would be like to be free from that, from all earthly limitations, to feel your soul stretch out and take on some other form.” In this song, Rodriguez gives us this space to inspect our soul, and play with it like putty in our hands. Every listen lifts you slightly further out of your body. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Tenci: “Sour Cherries”

Tenci’s Jess Shoman sums up the Chicago band’s sprawling new song—the latest single from their forthcoming sophomore album A Swollen River, A Well Overflowing (Nov. 4, Keeled Scales)—in a sentence: “‘Sour Cherries’ is very simply about succumbing to the bittersweet feelings of love.” Love, after all, can feed and consume us at the same time, possessing our hearts and minds to the exclusion of all else. “Bruised melon / Hanging low / Dissolve me / Into your marrow,” Shoman softly sings over the slow guitar arpeggio that propels the song, with strings and Curtis Oren’s saxophone further framing these images of deliverance through dissolution. Yet there’s more to “Sour Cherries” than one expects: The track breaks down before it regains, then increases its momentum, with Joseph Farago’s drums and Izzy Reidy’s bass setting an invigorating pace. Shoman’s voice takes unexpected shapes, sometimes a yelp and others a shriek, as she remains fixated on the corrupted fruit and all she sees in it, the “sweet poison” of losing oneself in another’s arms. —Scott Russell

Wiki & Subjxct 5 feat. Navy Blue: “One More Chance”

New York City emcee Wiki reunites with his Half God collaborator Navy Blue on “One More Chance,” the fourth and final single from his Subjxct 5-produced mixtape Cold Cuts (Oct. 21, Wikset Enterprise). Though it heralds a new project, the song plays like a tribute to Wiki’s previous. While Subjxct 5 lays down a serene, children’s choir sample-driven beat, free of his mixtape-esque ad-libs, Wiki looks back on his past and radiates gratitude for the opportunity to do what he does best, but the track eventually reveals itself as a heart-to-heart between Wiki and Navy Blue (aka Sage Elsesser). “It was more than just beats that he offered to me, he gave me (One more chance),” Wiki raps of his “T-R-U-S-T-Y” musical counterpart, who then hops on the mic to return that admiration. It’s a soothing, yet passionate track, created by collaborators who clearly care as much about each other as they do their craft. —Scott Russell

Young Fathers: “I Saw”

Young Fathers have announced their first new album since 2018’s Cocoa Sugar, a 10-track LP titled Heavy Heavy. Coming Feb. 3, 2023, on Ninja Tune, the Mercury Prize-winning Scottish trio’s fourth album is preceded today (Oct. 20) by the video for “I Saw,” our second preview of Heavy Heavy after July’s excellent “Geronimo.” “I Saw” is built on a strutting groove, with a dark, distorted bassline and drums undergirding the band’s depiction of a rotted-out relationship between rulers and the ruled. “Give me that bulletproof vest and don’t forget / I’m not susceptible to your nonsense, I’m a winner,” they command, then softly insisting, as if from the opposing perspective, “I saw what I saw / I keep on walking the line.” The conflict between governors and governed intensifies along with the instrumental, Young Fathers’ voices multiplying until “I Saw” takes on the character of a wild choir, its beat pounding underneath. “It’s a big bully with shite down their leg, still swaggering,” Young Fathers—Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and G. Hastings—say of their new song’s subject. “That pamphlet through your door blaming the establishment and immigrants for everything going wrong. The stench of long-dead empire, trudging along, a psychological hammer to your head in every step. The delusion.” —Scott Russell

Share Tweet Submit Pin