Sam Smith, ”Money On My Mind”
The Londoner’s swinging track — already a U.K. smash — pairs his aching voice with a groove fit for an energy-drink-stocked cocktail lounge. (It also helped nab him a slot on SNL.)
Chlöe Howl, ”No Strings”
Just 19 and already as poised as Lorde, this English baby-diva slams hookup culture over squelching, not-at-all unsexy dance-pop.
How To Dress Well, ”Words I Don’t Remember”
Cooing, keening, and digitally dicing his vocals over a barely there beat and cottony synths, indie rock’s stalwart R&B fan stretches a musical swoon over six-plus minutes.
When the chanteuse warns a poser, “Boy, don’t hurt your brain,” she does it with such blissful serenity that the jab is twice as devastating.
The entrancing, androgynous-voiced singer-producer unfurls a dizzyingly baroque beat stippled with his artfully processed vocals.
Jamie XX, ”Sleep Sound”
The much-anticipated, third-ever solo song from the xx drummer and Grammy-winning producer works like Magic Fingers on the brain, applying esoteric tones to your pressure points.
Katy B Feat. Sampha, ”Play”
The British dubstep star pulls in the underground crooner for an ode to “melodies” and “harmonies” that faithfully provides helpings of both.
Mr. Little Jeans, ”Good Mistake”
This singer — a Norwegian so sultry she had to move to L.A. — naughtily repeats “Your secret’s safe with me,” until the steady buildup finally kills your inhibitions.
Young & Sick, ”Glass”
If you could take an ice sculpture of a glitter ball and turn it into music, it might sound like this refreshingly brisk spin on disco revivalism.
Chet Faker, ”Talk Is Cheap”
The Aussie soul dude covered “No Diggity” in a Super Bowl ad. But on his subtle ballad, he takes an almost tantric approach to a relationship check-in, slowly emoting while wreathed in wispy brass.
Lo-Fang, ”When We’re Fire”
A falsetto-fest laced with a stuttering beat and loads of bottled-up anger, courtesy of Lorde’s opening act on her current tour.
Just Friends, ”Don’t Tell Me”
A morphing groove by the producer’s producer Nicolas Jaar, rippling vocals by Sasha Spielberg: This would be the sound of sexual tension, if it weren’t so utterly satisfying.