HomePopular SongsThe Best Songs of 2024 (So Far)

The Best Songs of 2024 (So Far)

The year in music began with a huge fringe. Just a few weeks into 2024, we’ve already heard about spring albums from pop’s Twin Towers, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé. Those proclamations shook the walls, but they weren’t the whole story—January and February (historically a slow period in the music industry!) saw new releases from Green Day and Usher, as well as announcements of upcoming music from Justin Timberlake, Kacey Musgraves, and Billie Eilish.

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Table of Contents

SZA, “Saturn”

More than five years have elapsed between SZA’s first album, Ctrl, and 2022’s blockbuster SOS. But a few months ago, she unveiled a new project called Lana, which she has alternatively described as a deluxe version of SOS or a solo record—either way, it was excellent news when she debuted a song in a Grammy ad, which is now available in numerous versions as the shimmering, lyrical “Saturn.” With echoes of Stevie Wonder’s paean to the ringed planet on Songs in the Key of Life, SZA yearns for a better world (“There’s got to be more,” she says) on a tune that is both futuristic and old.

“Cheerleader,” Porter Robinson

Porter Robinson has matured significantly over the last three years. His most recent album, 2021’s Nurture, was defined by concern over following up on his 2014 debut, which he held for years before channelling into a collection of explosive, life-affirming songs. Robinson seems like he’s having fun again in “Cheerleader,” the first song from his new album. It’s a smooth transition from EDM to indie pop, as if a Passion Pit song had gone to a rave: effervescent, bright, and loud. —Justin Curto.

“Get It Sexyy,” Sexyy Red

Who is creating better hooks right now than Sexy Red? Over a dark, thudding Tay Keith rhythm, the St. Louis rapper turns into her cheerleader: “Walkin’ through the club lookin’ like a snack (but you knew that though)”; “Catch me slidin’ in a Benz”; “Go on, Sexyy, do your dance.” Like ‘SkeeYee’ and ‘PoundTown’ (as well as ‘Hellcat SRTs’ and ‘Rich Babby Daddy’), every sentence here is quotable. —Alex Suskind.

Pearl Jam, “Dark Matter”

Well, they weren’t lying. The members of Pearl Jam promised that their next album would be rough, loud, and guitar-heavy, and the crushing first single (the album’s title tune) delivered. Andrew Watt, who handled the most recent Rolling Stones record and plays in Eddie Vedder’s solo band, produced “Dark Matter.” It begins with a thundering thwack from drummer Matt Cameron and builds to a ripping guitar solo. “Everybody else pays for someone else’s mistakes,” yowls Vedder, as the Last Classic Rock Band returns to form in a tight, head-spinning three-and-a-half minutes.

“Von Dutch,” Charli XCX

Charli XCX’s music is at opposite ends of the swinging pendulum. When her major-label contract expires, she turns to middle-of-the-road pop gloss and records a song for the year’s biggest film, before returning with a breezy, sleazy party tune that she performed at the Boiler Room. “Von Dutch” is an instant dose of the messy Charli we’ve been missing since 2017’s Pop 2, ramped up from zero to 100 and then into overdrive. “Von Dutch, cult classic, but I still pop,” she adds amid some of the harshest synthesisers you’ve ever heard.

“Bored,” Waxahatchee

Katie Crutchfield has found a place in sparkling, easygoing country music, first on 2020’s Saint Cloud, then with Jess Williamson on Plains in 2022, and now on her album Tigers Blood. Though she had a long, twisting journey to get there—she started out producing punk music with her sister Allison—she still has that rocker’s energy, just with a little more twang today.

“My spine’s a rotted two-by-four,” she sobs above a wall of guitars. (MJ Lenderman of the Southern punk band Wednesday performs on the tune.) Crutchfield selects her words carefully while telling the tale of a painful breakup with a friend: “I get bored,” she repeats, the statement getting more cutting each time.

Beyoncé, “Texas Hold ‘Em”/”16 Carriages”

The greatest surprise of the Super Bowl (Taylor’s Version) was the introduction of new music from Queen Bey—during a Verizon commercial, of all things. But things became much more fascinating when it was revealed that, based on the first two songs, Act II of the Renaissance trilogy would have a country flavour.

The irresistible stomp “Texas Hold ‘Em,” featuring Pulitzer Prize winner Rhiannon Giddens’ banjo, made history when Houstonian Beyoncé became the first black woman to top the country singles chart, whereas the dramatic, elegant “16 Carriages” is more intimate (“I saw Mama cryin’/I saw Daddy lyin'”) and potentially more fruitful over time.

Khruangbin, “A Love International”

The rise of Khruangbin, a primarily instrumental Texas quartet with influences from 1960s Thai funk, dub reggae, surf rock, and Middle Eastern soul, to arena headliner status has been one of the strangest stories in recent years. It’s difficult to think of the group in terms of songs rather than vibes, but “A Love International” is the first taste of their upcoming album A LA SALA (their first in four years, following collaborations with Leon Bridges and Malian musician Vieux Farka Toure), and its swirling, gradually building propulsion is an excellent representation of Khruangbin’s atmospheric, mesmerising sonic universe.

Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.

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