There seems to be a bit of aggression in the air this week. Maybe the advent of spring has everyone a bit antsy — certainly the artists who make up our 5 Best Songs Of The Week seem to feel that way. Nicki Minaj continued growling her way toward her new album, while Savages engaged in some, well, savagery. Total Control’s new track is filled with some post-punk rage, and although Shamir isn’t necessarily being aggressive about it, he certainly seems distraught about something. Fyfe is arguably the only artist this week without any angst-y inclinations. He’s happy enough to sit back and let spring wash over him — so sit back and let the 5 Best Songs Of The Week wash over you.
Fyfe, aka Paul Dixon, tried out a few different approaches to his experimental R&B last year over a series of great singles. The best of that batch, “St. Tropez,” finally found him striking gold with an extremely satisfying blend of taut electronic beats and rich horns. Those two things melded with his smooth voice to make a trifecta of good feeling. Now he’s taken that a step further with “For You.” Over an airtight production he croons and plays with the words in the phrase “every little thing I do, for you,” stretching, inverting, repeating different parts, constantly giving new ways of hearing the phrase, a trick that worked wonders on Antony & The Johnsons “Everything Is New,” the opener to Swanlights. The sax lines seep in subtly, adding more essence than flavor until finally breaking through and completely upstaging everything else, including Dixon himself. It’s an incredible combination and just like its constantly shifting lyrics, “For You” leaves you excited to hear even more ways he can shake up these pieces. –Miles
Shamir sings here about the irresistible power of an unexpected love, which feels especially meta in light of the way this song came out of nowhere to captivate my heart and soul this week. It’s more complicated than that, of course. That’s the way it goes when a song is this unflinchingly real. Our narrator feels a certain sadness about the potential psychic damage that always lingers around the fringes of falling in love, and the song’s striking simplicity makes sure those sentiments are front and center. Shamir represents Godmode’s first break from abrasive noise-punk, but “I Know It’s A Good Thing” is as unforgiving as anything else on the label’s roster. As it turns out, very few ingredients are necessary to build weapons of mass destruction: a searing falsetto unencumbered by polish, a backbeat that could pass for a heartbeat, a piano as crushing as the color in her eyes. He is 19 years old. Fuck. –Chris
In recent memory, I can’t think of a song title that’s more fun to say, or to type, than this one. That doesn’t really matter, but it doesn’t really not matter, either. On this as on the still-fresh “Chi-Raq”, Nicki seems to be rediscovering her inner rap animal, though in truth she never lost touch with it. As ever, it’s an absolute blast to hear Nicki cutting loose and having fun, switching from stuttering Migos-flow rat-tat-tats to mock-gospel singsong at will and rewarding Soulja Boy for his diamond-hard synth-rap beat by letting him yell the three-word hook. “I own the Clippers,” says Nicki at one point, and honestly, the world would be a better place if she did. If Nicki keeps up with her sly promise to release one of these monster bangers every Friday, she’s about to send me into G.O.O.D. Friday-era levels of frothing anticipation right about, oh, now. –Tom
Throughout their excellent new album, Typical System, Total Control create a scene that’s constantly in flux between a dance party and a mosh pit. Every track uses a slightly different ratio of ingredients, but “Expensive Dog” is one of the moments when everything descends into near-savagery. While the previously released “Flesh War” was smooth new wave with just a suggestion of punk edge, here the Australian crew flip it the other way, crafting an unstable bit of guitar driven chaos, that doesn’t hesitate tossing in the occasional synth flourish or vocal manipulation. Like just the faintest bit of vermouth to compliment the gin in a good martini, “Expensive Dog” hits hard, but goes down just right. –Miles
The problem with fuckers is that they’re always getting you down. It’s what they do. It’s why they’re fuckers. You can try not to let it happen, but it’s going to happen. On the plus side, I don’t think you could come up with a song like this if the fuckers weren’t getting you down. Over nearly 10 brutal, unrelenting minutes, Jehnny Beth repeats her mantra over and over — “don’t let the fuckers get you down” — while the band around her simmers and boils and explodes and then simmers again. Here’s where Savages prove that they can stretch out, carve epic monolithic slaps of hate, without abandoning the brutal, mathematical precision of their great debut Silence Yourself. This is not a song written from an up place, exactly, but if you have any experience dealing with fuckers — and if you are a human being on this planet, you have experience dealing with fuckers — it is a cathartic experience. –Tom