6 Best New Songs of the Week: Sufjan Stevens, Chris Stapleton, Miguel, Roy Woods

Every week Vulture highlights the best new music. If the song is worthy your ears and attention, you will find it here. Read our picks below, share yours in the comments, and subscribe to the Vulture Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year’s best music.

Sufjan Stevens, “Tonya Harding”
The movie I, Tonya is almost in theaters, but a more sensitive, emotionally effective chronicle figure skater Tonya Harding’s embattled life just dropped in the form a five-minute song by Sufjan Stevens. (And no, it’s not even in the movie.) Reader, I wept. Correction: I am weeping. In addition to lyrics like, “Tonya Harding my friend, while this world is a bitch girl, don’t end up in a ditch girl. I’ll be watching you close to the end,” Stevens also penned an accompanying essay about the song! In describing his songwriting process he says:

The story Harding and the story how Harding became a story is a timeless American tale, and somehow Sufjan Stevens turned it into a stirring, ethereal ballad set against the visual her triumphant skate at the 1991 U.S. National Championships in which she stuck her iconic triple axel, becoming the first American woman in the world (and second overall) to do so in competition. If you haven’t fallen apart by the time this shining American star tearfully raises her arms in triumph by the end, you’re a cold monster. —Jordan Crucchiola (@jorcru)

Chris Stapleton, “Nobody’s Lonely Tonight”
The second volume Stapleton’s From a Room is a tad feistier than the first. But there can be no Stapleton record without a staple ballad and a defining vocal moment. For both, I give you “Nobody’s Lonely Tonight.” It’s set in a bar, like all the best Stapleton, during last call, the hour that’s inspired all the country greats. A bluesy ode to the lies we tell ourselves to get by, Stapleton sings two strangers united by their shared heartbreak and drunken state. They may not know each other, but they’ve known each other’s pain enough to also know how to numb it: lots whiskey and mindless sex. Because as Stapleton sings, his perfectly controlled wail really selling that tortured act well, “what’s love but just some confusion we don’t need.” —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Miguel, “Banana Clip”
On “Banana Clip,” Miguel returns to the funky pop-soul his 2012 breakout release Kaleidoscope Dream. It may not be the most adventurous track on his new album, War & Leisure (the rest which is impressive in its own right), but it’s definitely the most radio-ready. Backed by a catchy beat that recalls “Adorn,” Miguel’s vocals are as impressive as ever – channeling Marvin Gaye, Ronald Isley, and Raphael Saadiq. —Corinna Burford (@coriburford)

Yehan Jehan, “Eat Me Alive”
You’d never know that Yehan Jehan is a one-man band from his debut EP, Expansions. The rising producer-singer-writer-musician pulls from ’60s funkadelic, synth pop, and alt-rock guitar bands to create this expansively lush project. Most artists wouldn’t be able to tackle that range styles without it feeling like a manic acid trip, but Jehan seamlessly pulls it f. One the best tracks is “Eat Me Alive,” a psychedelic-synth disco song that feels like if Tame Impala performed at Studio 54. The song is nearly perfectly structured. It builds on plucky electric key notes, Jehan’s soulful voice, and crescendoing into masterful electric-guitar riffs. A jazz flute even makes an appearance, which would put Ron Burgundy to shame. Good luck keeping still. —Oli Becker (@oliLbecker)

Hôy la, “Please”
Maybe it’s because there are wildfires burning near my house that make the night sky look like a hellmouth and the whole L.A. feels like it’s about to crack open San Andreas–style. Maybe it’s because I long to hear Portishead’s Dummy like it’s hitting me for the first time. But this super-vibey track by Hôy la has me hypnotized. It comes to a cruel and sudden end, but then again, don’t most things these days? —JC