When sifting through this week’s qualified nominees for 5 Best Songs, four different tracks from Sky Ferreira’s long-awaited debut Night Time, My Time made the ballot. In the Bangerz pop-sphere, it’s a reminder that projects in the genre should be cohesive and well-produced and eschewing party-primed lyrics for emotional reveals is still the stuff hits are made of. This could have been The 5 Best Sky Ferreira Songs Of The Week, Scott on board with “Love In Stereo,” while Claire voted for “24 Hours” and “Nobody Asked Me.” We already know Tom favors “I Blame Myself,” as he revealed when he wrote excitedly about the LP on Tuesday for AOTW and Michael still rides for recent 5 Best-honoree “You’re Not The One.” But instead of bringing you that list (well, at least not ranked and blurbed) we’ve culled together yet another well-rounded selection of music for the week — and it includes a previous Ferreira-collaborator! Find out who that is and more below.
When Chicago’s drill music sound was ascendant last year, and when out-of-town rappers were tripping over each other to get on Chief Keef songs, we ended up with embarrassing artifacts like 50 Cent rhyming “hot tamale” with “pop a molly.” Kendrick didn’t play that. Kendrick Lamar’s family is from Chicago, and maybe that’s why he sounds so at home here, giving a skittery singsong tour-de-force, rapping about flying a private jet into town just to get some Harold’s chicken and then moving seamlessly into real talk about how real death makes rap beat look ridiculous. And even without Kendrick, this would be top-shelf drill music. The beat, actually from Atlanta production crew 808 Mafia, is an eerily glinting churn, and Fredo, the man who Keef called “scary” on “Don’t Like,” confidently blusters his way right through it. – Tom
Every aspect of “You’re Not Good Enough” just sounds right. From the perfectly jumpy drums to the foggy keyboard solo that splits the track neatly in half, it’s clear right from the start that Dev Hynes is a producer of the highest caliber. But we already knew that back when he was making tracks for Solange and Sky Ferriera. So the wonderful surprise of Blood Orange, especially here in the very Prince-like sentiment, “I was never enough, you know you were never good enough,” is finding in Hynes a singer of tremendous feeling and sincerity. In terms of sequencing on the upcoming album, “Enough” comes right after the opening “Chamakay.” Whether this becomes the one-two punch from one of the best albums of the year is still unclear, but for now we should enjoy this track for what it is: An incredible producer taking a well deserved step into the spotlight. – Miles
There’s a vast network of bands out there carrying on as if indie-rock was still the underground subculture it was in the ’90s, churning out pensive, gravel-encrusted guitar music that’s more rock than pop, existing mostly below the radar of the music media, slugging it out in skuzzy dive bars like Seth Cohen never happened. Bottomless Pit is one of the best of those bands, and “Fleece” is perhaps the best thing they’ve ever done. Consider that high praise coming from someone who once stood in awe of these guys in a claustrophobic barroom with a silver maple growing through it, convinced Bottomless Pit had reached the peak of its powers long before this latest batch of songs was conceived. They sound like cheap beer, but it turns out this kind of band ages like fine wine. – Chris
Since we first met her a few years ago, Katy B has excelled at transforming futuristic posthuman dance sounds into conversational round-the-way-girl pop music, and this track might be the platonic ideal of her ability to do that. The beat, from producer George Fitzgerald, is Cyberdyne Systems robo-stomp lockstep crush-your-face house music, especially when that descending synth riff comes in toward the end. And somehow, through some sort of alchemical songcraft judo, Katy uses this stuff to slyly admit to a lingering crush. The chorus: “I like you a little bit.” Isn’t that just about the most heartwarming thing you ever heard? And if Katy is using a monster like this as a B-side, I can’t even imagine how the forthcoming album will sound. – Miles
If Dum Dum Girls’ “Lost Boys And Girls Club” were a real place, I’d be signing up for their after-work program stat. And even though the admissions process, as evidenced by the video, is an ominous leap into a big white box, if it meant some kind of mentorship from head Dum Dum Girl Dee Dee Penny, I’d take the dive. Dee Dee is the ultimate indie rock girl crush, not just because of her status as a style icon but because she and her band know how to pick particular moments in musical time and build on the legacies to create new brilliance. We saw them advance the Pretenders’ sound with their sophomore album Only In Dreams and now they’re crafting a new wave (heh heh) of goth-pop for their January release Too True. “Lost Boys” is the perfect picture of what’s to come — deep cascading guitar riffs underneath a heavy gauze of reverb, the dankest possible bassline, and breathy “uh-uh”s playing backup to Dee Dee singing about exes and hexes with barbed charm. So where’s the sign-up sheet? – Claire