The Best Songs of April 2024 |

The Best Songs of April 2024

Summer is upon us, and there’s no better way to look onwards to the impending heat than to, first, look backwards on all of the gems April had to offer. It should come as no surprise that Babehoven is back on the monthly roundup, as is Good Looks and This Is Lorelei. But what else can you do when artists are putting out truly incredible singles? Last month saw the return of Paste favorites Cassandra Jenkins and Dr. Dog, as well as some film soundtrack tunes and a certified pop banger from everyone’s favorite Midwesterner, Chappell Roan. Picking just 10 songs to highlight is no small task, but we did it anyways. So, without further ado, here the best songs of April 2024.

Adult Jazz: “Marquee”

The final single from Adult Jazz’s new album So Sorry So Slow begins just as the band’s name might suggest, with a piano chord repeated over and over while a faint string arrangement flickers on and off in the background. Once bandleader Harry Burgess’ vocals come in, the violin and viola raise their tempos and the energy begins to expand. But the melodies of “Marquee” never stay put for very long, as Adult Jazz zig and zag across the arrangement. The song is, at times, menacing, vibrant and paradoxically criss-crossed with regret and joy. “Marquee” sounds like Arthur Russell singing a new wave track and, at six minutes, its beauty will give you every possible feeling you could ever want. It very well might be the best thing Adult Jazz have ever done. —Matt Mitchell

Babehoven: “Ella’s From Somewhere Else”

The third and newest single from Babehoven’s upcoming album, Water’s Here in You, might just be my favorite so far. “Ella’s From Somewhere Else” was written by Maya Bon after seeing Ella Williams—aka Paste favorite Squirrel Flower—perform last winter. “When I got home from the show, I found some quiet space alone, I lit a few candles and kept the lights off,” Bon said. “I began thinking of all the places Ella takes me in her songs.” Likewise, “Ella’s From Somewhere Else” charts many dreams and many memories—cornfields, beached whales, spaceships, black holes, “in the magic,” “the place we said goodbye,” Bon’s childhood dog also named Ella and the flatness of loss. It’s backed by an acoustic guitar-heavy melody that slowly builds into a full-blown chorus of voices singing “you’re my brother, you’re my family, you are everything to me” over and over, as Bon’s bandmate and partner Ryan Albert lends his voice at the very end. But nothing can compare to Bon singing “Five years old, five years ago, I first loved you—your eyes like I’ve known them forever.” —MM [Read our recent feature on Babehoven here]

Cassandra Jenkins: “Only One”

When I saw that Cassandra Jenkins has a new album on the way, I embarrassingly fist-pumped into the air in my apartment alone. It’s hard to quantify just how crucial Jenkins’ perspective is to the current state of music, as her 2021 track “Hard Drive” remains, in my opinion, the best song of the decade so far. Now, Jenkins’ next chapter—My Light, My Destroyer—finds the Brooklyn singer-songwriter reveling in a very subdued and sublime melody that boasts my favorite chorus of 2024 so far (“You’re the only one I’ve ever loved, the only one that I know how love,” delivered through a cadence that reminds me of 1990s R&B chart-toppers, oddly enough). What makes “Only One” so transformative, to me, is that it pairs Jenkins’ never-disappointing grasp on language with a vibrant sense of pop minimalism. For every “Everywhere I turn, everything adds up to your number,” there is a verse like “Stick figure Sisyphus behind mass parlor window glass—how long will this pain in my chest last? How long will it last?” waiting to emerge right after. —MM

Chappell Roan: “Good Luck, Babe!”

There might not be a pop musician having a bigger moment right now than Chappell Roan, whose latest single, “Good Luck, Babe!,” is a serious song of the year contender already. There’s nothing complex or ornate about Kayleigh Rose Amstutz’ newest track, and that’s precisely why it’s perfect—“Good Luck, Babe!” catches fire because it’s a proper amalgam of ‘80s synth-pop and Y2K chart-topping glee. Not to mention, it’s queer as hell. (“You’d have to stop the world just to stop the feeling” is one of the best comedowns in recent memory, in my opinion.) Amstutz’ vocal performance soars here, too, gliding as high as the electronica enveloping her warbling falsetto. “You can kiss a hundred boys in bars, shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling,” she sings. “You can say it’s just the way you are, make a new excuse, another stupid reason.” “Good Luck, Babe!” is bulletproof and rebels against the campiness that often makes Chappell Roan’s music great in the first place. What’s different here is that Amstutz and her longtime collaborator Dan Nigro have figured out how to cut away the excess and get straight to the magic. —MM

Dr. Dog: “Talk is Cheap”

I have been craving a new Dr. Dog album for all of the six years since the band’s last, and the time is finally here. In July, the Philadelphians will put out a self-titled album via We Buy Gold Records, and new single “Talk is Cheap” follows their previous release “Still Can’t Believe.” The former was written by bassist Toby Leaman, who says it’s “about my wife and how much I rely on her, how she’s always there for me,” and it cracks open with percussionist Eric Slick pounding on a cowbell before Leaman’s vocals join the party. “Feeling old and dumb and in the way, but I can change before the moon explodes and the sun stops shining,” he sings, as the band slowly begins to envelope his voice. Soon, Dr. Dog throw you into a full-blown, psychedelic soundscape filled-out with soulful, bluesy background harmonies. If you were hoping for Dr. Dog to come back with a bang, “Talk is Cheap” is everything you could ever want. —MM

Florist: “Riding Around in the Dark”

Florist remains one of my favorite active bands, and my review of their last album corroborates as much. Em Sprague’s Brooklyn four-piece continues to release compelling folk music that rummages its way into the parts of your heart that needs it most. With Jane Schoenbrun’s new A24 film I Saw the TV Glow hitting theaters this month, much hype has started to swell surrounding its soundtrack—which features Sloppy Jane, Bartees Strange, Caroline Polachek and many others. Earlier this year we got yeule’s cover of Broken Social Scene’s “Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl,” and now we have Florist’s “Riding Around in the Dark.” Sprague’s voice sits atop a bedding of acoustic guitar, while faint keys and strings and glitches of horns surround her. “It’s the end of the world and we’re driving around,” she sings, and you don’t have to know the plot of I Saw the TV Glow to feel every single emotion in the tidal wave of Sprague’s delivery. The best soundtrack songs are the ones that can stand the test of time beyond the source material it’s written in service of, and “Riding Around in the Dark” will do just that. —MM

Good Looks: “Self-destructor”

Beloved Austin quartet Good Looks dropped “Self-destructor,” the second song off their upcoming record Lived Here For A While, a few weeks back—and it’s a different kind of heartbreak tune. The melodic rocker dives into frontman Tyler Jordan’s breakup with a former bandmate and the complicated emotions about having to part ways. “Didn’t like your ideas / I like you just fine,” he sings, bemoaning the frustrations around his conflicting feelings—over trying to separate his care for his friend and their ultimate creative differences. Painted by silky guitar tones, rhythmic lyrical breakdowns and a buoyant drumline, “Self-destructor” is textbook Good Looks—a great band unflinchingly wearing their heart on their sleeve. —Olivia Abercrombie

Mr. Sam & the People People: “Go Baby Go (Part One)”

The lead single from Sam Gelband’s—aka Mr. Sam and the People People—upcoming solo album, Again! Again!, is a real gem. The New Orleans musician is ever the prolific player, joining in on releases from Chris Acker and the Growing Boys, the Sons of Ranier, Sam Doores and others, but here, Gelband is taking the mic for himself. “Go Baby Go (Part One)” is a tack-sharp Americana tune featuring a blistering lead guitar from Video Age’s Ross Farbe and backing vocals from Doores and Gina Leslie. It’s a communal track and sounds just like the Puget Sound oasis it was recorded in, with Gelband’s rough-around-the-edges-yet-soulful baritone guiding the arrangement’s current like a shepherd. “I glow in the light of my dashboard and I watch the parade,” he sings. “Grow in my rearview mirror, and I think of a place I’d rather be—just a good friend and me—so I slip away.” Do yourself a favor: Open your heart as wide as it can and let “Go Baby Go (Part One)” take up some space there. —MM

Sour Widows: “Cherish”

Since their inception seven years ago, the Bay Area’s Sour Widows have been meticulously churning out solemn, contemplative tracks—and they are finally delivering their debut album this June. “Cherish” is the ascendant first song off of Revival of a Friend, cracking into the mind of guitarist/vocalist Maia Sinaiko and revealing some harsh truths about themselves. “Will you love me through this / I wanna be cherished by you / Not feared by you,” Sinaiko pleads, hoping for their loved ones to forgive any anger displayed in a state of weakness. “Cherish” is a slow rocker that explodes into a noisy barrage of guitars and relentless drums, blending with Sinaiko’s pleas. —OA

This Is Lorelei: “I’m All Fucked Up”

Last month, Nate Amos of Water from Your Eyes released another new single under the solo moniker This is Lorelei from his upcoming album Box For Buddy, Box For Star. “I’m All Fucked Up” is a jangly, forthright track guided by Amos reflecting upon his younger self. The cluttered fragments of lyrics form a visceral collage of youth. He sings to his bygone ways, “I wanna steal every happy thought you have / Fucking nick fucking dime trade them back to you for mine / Put my own inside my bad and fly back to New York City again.” The track is cohesive and smooth, with clear melodic vocals and stripped-down guitar and percussion. Amos observes his own life with jarring humor and sincerity. Following “Dancing in the Club,” “I’m All Fucked Up” is yet another bright and charismatic single from Amos that should make you even more excited to hear the full LP this summer. —Grace Ann Nantanawan

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