Welcome to The Verge's new roundup of the most important music from the week that was. I'm Jamieson, I'll be your host, and I'm going to keep this recurring collection as omnivorous, exciting, challenging, and alphabetical as possible. This week we're starting it off right with Adam Lambert, Miguel, Robyn, and more.
I've also included a Spotify playlist for your listening convenience, and I'd love it if you shared some of your own favorite cuts from this week in the comments.
Adam Lambert, "Another Lonely Night": Lambert released The Original High this week, his third full-length and first since leaving RCA for Warner Bros. The album was executive produced by pop gods Max Martin and Shellback, and it shows: this thing is absolutely gleaming, a frothy mix of pop, rock, and dance music that Lambert sings to within an inch of its life. He's taken major steps forward since leaving American Idol, cutting his insane vocal power with newfound control and subtlety. "Another Lonely Night" is fine proof, a lovelorn, throbbing electro-pop ballad that closes with some absurd vocal pyrotechnics. Be proud, Glamberts.
Giorgio Moroder ft. Matthew Koma, "Tempted": Déjà Vu is electronic legend Giorgio Moroder's first studio album in 30 years, and I'm very sad to report that it's mostly terrible. "Tempted" is redemptive, a funky little boogie that rides the charisma of vocal mercenary/skilled songwriter Matthew Koma and fabulous synthy string stabs. The album falls apart after this — I know we have some fans of the Britney Spears "Tom's Diner" cover on staff, and I apologize — but Giorgio still has a heater or two in his back pocket.
Hilary Duff, "Confetti": I wrote a bunch about this song and its parent album yesterday, so I'll keep this short. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and EDM boy-king Zedd should be very flattered by this song — this is like a carbon copy of "Clarity," his 2012 classic. But that doesn't mean it's not perfect.
Homeboy Sandman, "Holiday (Kosi & Fink's Edit)": I'm cheating a bit here, because this song originally came out as a bonus track on Homeboy Sandman's fine 2014 LP Hallways. But it's been beautifully recontextualized by master producer DJ Koze as part of his new entry in the long-running DJ-Kicks series, and he draws out every ounce of its sweetness, sadness, and humor.
Hudson Mohawke ft. Antony, "Indian Steps": I wrote about Mohawke's fine new album Lantern at the beginning of the week, but I wanted to give this song a little bit more shine. Mohawke is working with oddball electro-architect Oneohtrix Point Never on Antony's new album, and you can tell they really understand each other's strengths and weaknesses. On this song, Mohawke is very gentle, tiptoeing around Antony's voice the way Antony's tiptoeing around a lover — and then building little castles around his cascading, wordless vocal runs. It's so tender.
Jessy Lanza ft. DJ Spinn & Taso, "You Never Show Your Love": I underrated Jessy Lanza's debut back in 2013 and I'm never going to forgive myself for it, probably because she keeps haunting me by releasing these sinewy, sensuous heat rocks. Working with Teklife compadres/footwork pioneers DJ Spinn and Taso, she's weightless and glacial over a slug's crawl of a beat. This can replace your air conditioner if you're feeling thrifty, unlike...
Miguel, "FLESH": ...this song, covered in brief earlier this week, which leaves me begging for a box full of those battery-powered mini fans, a couple ice packs, a glass of cold water — something, anything, it's way too hot in here now.
Nate Ruess ft. Beck, "What Is This World Coming To": And now for something completely different! This one's for the rockists in the crowd, who can repeatedly ask the titular question while they're skipping through all of the songs I've listed above. It's also delightful and sweet, like a bunch of drama nerds doing Band of Horses karaoke, with one of Ruess' trademark harmony arrangements and the line, "So let's get high here in the moonlight" delivered with incredible conviction and heart. I sound a little flippant but I unabashedly love this song.
Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique, "Love Is Free": I covered this one yesterday afternoon, so I'll just use this space to note that something about this sample reminds me of Lady Gaga cawing, "I'm a free bitch, baby!" on the unimpeachable "Bad Romance," and that brings me great joy.
Ryn Weaver, "Sail On": Weaver released her debut album The Fool this week, and she's still trying to find the best context for her voice, an instrument with real character and power behind it. I'm not a huge fan of the album — it's a little jumpy and indistinct — but "Sail On" is lovely, patient and propulsive.
And here's the full playlist, just in case you want everything in one place: