Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, JAY-Z teams up with Kid Cudi ahead of his Rock Hall induction.
To accompany the release of Netflix’s upcoming Western The Harder They Fall — which boasts a stacked cast of Idris Elba, Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, and the wonderful Jonathan Majors — an explosive soundtrack co-produced by JAY-Z has arrived today (October 29th).
JAY-Z, whose hands are all over the project (he also produced the film), is featured on two tracks: “King Kong Riddim” with Jadakiss, Conway the Machine and BackRoad Gee, and “Guns Go Bang” alongside Kid Cudi. While both are worthy of attention, it’s the latter, distinctly cinematic track that has us bewitched.
JAY-Z is merely a day away from reaching Rock and Roll Hall of Famer status, but he still found the time to have some good, old-fashioned, outlaw fun. Turns out this town is big enough for the two of them.
Sure, the song isn’t groundbreaking for either party, but it’s an energetic track that shows off the fun pairing of a fresher voice in the rap landscape and the more seasoned staple of JAY-Z. The strings elevate the feeling of film, but it’s the literal bang/whizz sound effects of bullets, almost cartoonish, that bring it all home.
Kid Cudi’s trademark autotune offsets the brassy horns and orchestral swells towards the end. Before the film hits Netflix on November 3rd, giddy up, because this song is the ace in the hole.
— Mary Siroky
Hanna Vu – “Gutter”
Ahead of her new album Public Storage, Hana Vu has released “Gutter,” a scorching, ’90s influenced slice of alt rock. Rather than lean heavily into the shoegaze trend of hushed, ethereal vocals, Vu can really belt, and her powerful performance brings the song to new heights.
“Gutter” is undeniably charged, and through its slow burning tempo, Vu allows for the descending guitar line to control the song, eventually landing on a cathartic and emphatic rock groove at its climax. Vu has always been keen on exhibiting her rock goddess persona, but “Gutter” demonstrates the astounding level of control and ability she possesses. — Paolo Ragusa
Jesse Gold – “Song in My Head”
Absurdly catchy, smoother than honey, and immaculately produced, Jesse Gold’s “Song in My Head” is accurately named. The Toronto-based pop singer-songwriter is back with more new music following his early 2021 Stupid Hours EP, which features “One In A Million,” a track that now actually boasts over two million streams. “Song in My Head” is an exciting expansion from the cozy pop within that EP and slots neatly into Gold’s easygoing discography, already stacked with tracks you’ll find yourself humming hours later. — M.S.
Maude Latour – “Strangers Forever”
Maude Latour is taking notes from some of pop’s best. The Columbia University senior and full-time singer-songwriter noted via her TikTok that this “heartbreak banger” was written after watching Taylor Swift’s Netflix documentary Miss Americana, and that influence is certainly noticeable when the bridge leads into a cathartic chorus explosion. The accompanying music video, directed by Tess Lafia, is full of Gen-Z traits, from Latour’s green (goodbye, Millennial Pink) mock corset top to the hazy Petra Collins-style filming technique. Unlike the heartbreak she’s singing about, it all fits together perfectly. — Regina Schliep
Conan Gray – “Telepath”
The latest from Conan Gray boasts an Avengers-level lineup of pop songwriters — Gray penned the track alongside songwriting savant Julia Michaels, Ilya (of Ariana Grande’s catalogue) and Caroline Ailin (most recently seen working with Dua Lipa). The combination pays off — “Telepath” is bouncy, glittering, and dreamy, the perfect setting for Gray’s airy vocals to shine.
The song chronicles a relationship that continuously falls apart but features two people who always seem to find their way back into each other’s arms, whether for convenience or familiarity. “Now’s about the time the boredom hits (Oh, look)/ There you are at my door/ Drunk and asking me for a kiss.” Even though Gray already knows he’s going to let the other person in, his voice and the shimmering production still make it seem exciting. — M.S.
Kylie Minogue – “Kiss of Life” feat. Jessie Ware
Listen up, disco lovers, all who identify as disco adjacent, or anyone who simply likes having a good time — no one is doing it like Jessie Ware. The too unsung princess of disco, Ware burst into the mainstream in a disco ball explosion in 2020 with her joyful What’s Your Pleasure? and is expectedly wonderful on this reunion with Kylie Minogue. “Kiss of Life” is the pure energy the name suggests, and it’s only crime is that it doesn’t go on for seven full minutes. It’s made for the dance floor. — M.S.
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