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16 Songs You Need In Your Life This Week

Tracks we love right now, and why they matter. In no particular order.

March 07, 2015
1. Jack Ü f. Justin Bieber, "Where Are Ü Now”

Diplo has more lives than a cat at this point—just when you think he's felled by controversy or straight-up wack-ass music, he comes back with some hot fire. He's also EDM's Quentin Tarantino, in that he's known for rehabbing more careers than Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown combined. Enter Justin Bieber, tortured party-boy and one-time Orlando Bloom assailant, whose pipsqueak-y pipes ride this highlight from Diplo and Skrillex's debut LP as Jack Ü with a gossamer touch, like strobe lights hitting a night sky. Bonus points for the hollowed-out hook, which is like an anthemic EDM chorus stripped of its muscle, leaving the mind's imagination to fill in the chunky synths that would normally stomp out something so strangely beautiful. — Larry Fitzmaurice

1. Jack Ü f. Justin Bieber, "Where Are Ü Now”
2. Chromatics, "I Can Never Be Myself When You're Around"

The new Chromatics song—the second one released from the long-awaited, please-say-it's-coming-soon Dear Tommy LPdoesn't mess with the group's aesthetic too much and we're glad; despite scoring a number of actual films, and an ongoing obsession with classic film iconography, Chromatics is still first and foremost making shimmering, dusk-colored pop songs to soundtrack the movies inside our heads. — Patrick D. McDermott

2. Chromatics, "I Can Never Be Myself When You're Around"
3. Tink, “Ratchet Commandments”

Tink's conceptual flip of Biggie's classic "Ten Crack Commandments" is more about form than it is about content. It's hard not to take objection to the 19-year-old's claim that If you know your pussy loose that mean you a ho. But Tink's gymnastic flow and easy back-and-forth between skillful rapping and skillful singing—over a bouncy Timbaland beat, no less—somehow feels more important than what she's actually saying. You can totally sit with us, Tink. — Rawiya Kameir

3. Tink, “Ratchet Commandments”
4. iSHi f. Pusha T, "Push It"

Pusha T pushes drugs, and raps about pushing music like he pushes drugs. It's kind of like a bizarro "Move That Dope," equally as indebted to '80s hip-hop aesthetics and drug policy. One in Bed-Stuy, she so Brooklyn, I can't dodge her, she so Crooklyn. Ahhhh, I get it! — Matthew Trammell

4. iSHi f. Pusha T, "Push It"
5. OMI, “Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Video Edit)"

I've been playing the lottery semi-regularly, out of desperation. Winter doesn't feel almost over. But the other day someone bumped a Facebook picture of me from last summer back into my feed, and it was just the brightest and happiest thing—there's good potential, still. That's what this song makes me feel too. It's been out for a few months and I wish I'd known about it earlier. — Duncan Cooper

5. OMI, “Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Video Edit)"
6. Cashmere Cat f. Ariana Grande, "“Adore”

On "Adore," Cashmere Cat reverts to a formula that last year's wholly satisfying "Be My Baby"—his contribution to Ariana's Grammy-nominated My Everything—proved works: a tidal wave of twinkling, EDM-tinged R&B pierced by breathy vocal runs and barely legible lyrics. Don't think about it too much, just let it wash over you. — Zara Golden

6. Cashmere Cat f. Ariana Grande, "“Adore”
7. James K, "Paranormal"

The most entrancing part of James K's "Paranormal," the B-side to her new UNO NYC single, is how involuntary it feels: the track just happens, sort of coalescing, then sort of cresting, and now you're playing it again, and again, and again. Its meditative euphoria brings to mind the video for Opus III's rave classic "It's A Fine Day," except the futuristic idealism there is replaced by a very refreshing, specific presence. This is music for getting in touch, for knowing yourself. — Alexander Iadarola

7. James K, "Paranormal"
8. Tanlines, "Slipping Away"

I like this new song from Brooklyn electro-pop aesthetes Tanlines more and more every time I hear it, and maybe that's because every time I do karaoke, I sing New Order's "Regret." "Slipping Away" sounds like vintage New Order to me, and I know that's blasphemy, but the fluidity of the melody here, the absolute buoyancy of it all, makes me want to throw on Power, Corruption & Lies and sulk around the house for a bit. Until I get home, though, this'll do. — Larry Fitzmaurice

8. Tanlines, "Slipping Away"
9. Action Bronson, "Terry"

Queens seeps from every inch of this new Action Bronson. It's the kind of record that you'd hope Bronson would drop, drawing unavoidable comparisons to Ghostface until you realize Ghost hasn't dropped anything this Ghost in a while. It could do to NY radio what "Dear Summer" did, if NY radio still existed. — Matthew Trammell

9. Action Bronson, "Terry"
10. Protoje, "Bubblin'"

On "Bubblin," Protoje wields an easy flow over the one-drop track—so easy that his vocal runneth over, spilling into an acapella outro. Tackling the tricky politics around the sticky green, Protoje speaks almost prophetically about the current affairs of Jamaica, where the senate passed a bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana for medical, religious, and scientific purposes. Not matter which side of the spliff that you fall on with this issue, Protoje's charismatic storytelling is a great case for all to hear. — Deidre Dyer

10. Protoje, "Bubblin'"
11. Kelela, "A Message"

For a certain type of creative soul, Arca is both sides of a magnet. The Venezuelan producer has been vocal about the give-and-take professional relationship he had with Björk, and she too has expressed a belief that fate had something to do with leading her to Arca, or, alternatively, leading Arca to her. Kelela is the latest artist to open up about the almost cosmic significance of working with him on the stiff-lipped, steamy breakup jam "A Message" from her just-announced new EP. It's safe to say that Kelela's powerful, ambitious singing and knack for idiosyncratic vocal melodies could thrive alongside any number of wobbly, warped beats—or even on their own. Still, though, there is something audibly special about an artistic collaboration that makes this much sense. — Patrick D. McDermott

11. Kelela, "A Message"
12. Jubilee, “Explosion”

"Explosion" keeps true to its name, sounding like a veritable eruption of global bass sounds: guttural vocal samples, hella deep bass, and an irresistible break beat. It's the only thing keeping me warm right now. — Rawiya Kameir

12. Jubilee, “Explosion”
13. Rich Homie Quan, "Swear"

"Swear" can maybe be best described as an acoustic rap ballad. It's a little emo reflection (Used to be ramen noodles, now pepper steak), and it sounds really nice. Like Kanye's love affair with Paul McCartney, it also makes a good case for 2015 being the year of guitar rap. — Zara Golden

13. Rich Homie Quan, "Swear"
14. xxyy, "Lately"

xxxy's been on my radar since the astounding "Ordinary Things," and here he continues his shape-shift away from "Hype Mngo"-esque post-bass to proper house music, complete with rub-and-tug low-end, hissing hi-hats, and beaming synths that make nice little curlicues in the air. The tune's from xxxy's new EP on Rinse, a powerhouse label run by a powerhouse radio station—and this one is certainly worth tuning in for. — Larry Fitzmaurice

14. xxyy, "Lately"
15. Cam and China, "Ain't My Problem"

Cam and China—aka Cammy and Cee Cee of Inglewood's rawest ladies-only rap outfit, Pink Dollaz—have returned from the void with this thrilling, irreverent flip of Shaggy's 2000 cheater's "It Wasn't Me": Picture this, he caught me red handed with his homie on the fifth floor/I ain't trippin, he gonna be my boo thing cause I wanted him from the get-go. It's some next level shit-talking, alternately sung through talk box-style vocoder and spit with venom, all laced with West Coast vibes by DJ Battlecat. — Zara Golden

15. Cam and China, "Ain't My Problem"
16. Bryson Tiller, "Don't"

Who is Bryson Tiller? The Louisville rapper/crooner is purportedly, like Tink, linked with Timbaland, and he gives off some serious Drake vibes—or, if you wanna 'go there', maybe the first time we all heard the Weeknd's "What You Need." "Don't," one of a few heaters on Tiller's SoundCloud, has been sitting around for a minute now, but its undeniably current-sounding production touches and Tiller's flexible vocals make it fresh to our ears regardless. Looking forward to hearing more from this guy. — Larry Fitzmaurice

16. Bryson Tiller, "Don't"
16 Songs You Need In Your Life This Week