5Best

The challenge in compiling the 5 Best Songs Of The Week isn’t determining which songs deserve to be included and which don’t, it’s determining which deserving songs to cut and which to keep. This week presented us with a ridiculous assortment of Best Songs, so many that we could have come up with at least three alternate configurations of this list that would have been totally reasonable. So, you ask, where’s School Of Seven Bells and Hiss Messenger and Ballet School and Robert Plant and Jamie xx and the Juan Maclean and Cymbals Eat Guitars and Rustie? Fret not. They are all on this list this week — they’re just on some alternate configuration of this list existing in some alternate universe. Here, meanwhile, are the 5 Best Songs Of The Week in this universe:

5. Ryn Weaver – “OctaHate”

Does this song sound like it was engineered in a laboratory by exacting pop-music scientists bent on obliterating whatever remains of the line between radio pop and “indie rock”? Well, it kind of was, and its very existence is an argument for the continuing vitality of such endeavors. “OctaHate” sparkles, snaps, and booms with the best of them. More importantly, though, the song introduces us to Weaver, a singer who has turned a compelling, almost unsettling number of very talented people into her loyal evangelists. We haven’t yet heard enough of her work to fully understand why Weaver, as opposed to any number of other SoundCloud parvenues, has captured so many vibrant imaginations. Here’s a start: She exhibits impeccable taste and a powerful control of her voice, pirouetting across the effervescent gleam with the graceful assurance of a born star. There’s a ferocity in her vocals here that matches her apparently relentless drive to succeed. May she and her followers keep on making music like this for many years to come. –Chris

4. Zola Jesus – “Dangerous Days”

I used to be annoyed that one of the best songs off Hurry Up We’re Dreaming had a title as lazy as “Intro,” but lately I’ve begun to realize how appropriate it was. Played in countless commercials and movie trailers, it wasn’t just the intro to that album, it was a grand introduction to Zola Jesus as a pop star. Now with her debut single from the upcoming Taiga (and debut for Mute, not coincidently the same label that M83 calls home), that has become cemented even more. “Dangerous Days” is undeniably huge, but it’s smart in that the synths and drums (the latter often bring to mind Kate Bush’s eternally untouchable “Running Up That Hill“) all act together to support her overwhelming performance. The only quiet part of “Dangerous Days” comes in the first couple seconds, a brief buzzing drone that would have grown even noisier in her early work, but here it’s faint and distant. Those days are far behind her now; there’s no turning back. –Miles

3. FKA twigs – “Two Weeks”

It’s going to be hard to separate this one from its brain-breaking video, but consider this: FKA twigs may be the only singer in the game who can deliver the line “Feel your body closing, I can rip it open” like it’s a seduction. “Two Weeks” is a song about losing yourself completely in another person’s body, disappearing into that fogged-up mental state where you’re not sure where you end and the other begins. That’s a holy state, and twigs treats it like one, letting her voice flit and waft and double up all over the tracks and synths sigh and digital basslines groan. If the video is an Aaliyah homage, and it might be, then the song is one of the finest stoned makeout jams to come along since “Rock The Boat.” –Tom

2. Pallbearer – “The Ghost I Used To Be”

In 2012, well before Deafheaven were popping up in Apple ads, before Sunbather topped year-end lists, and before “Dream House” was rounding out 1 million plays on Spotify, Pallbearer were the breakthrough metal band of that year, thanks to their debut, Sorrow & Extinction. That position is really one of the only things the two bands have in common (aside from the fact that they’re currently touring together), and now Pallbearer are in a daunting spot, something that Deafheaven will surely find themselves up against in a couple years: How do you follow something so definitive? In the case of the doom metal colossus “The Ghost I Used To Be,” Pallbearer show no signs of slowing down by doing exactly what they do best which is … uh … slowing down, actually. “Ghost” is one of Pallbearer’s greatest exercises in momentum. Crashing right in with a towering guitar lead, they immediately shift down and slowly burn back to that intensity over the song’s 10+ minutes as Brett Campbell starts streaking back in his force-of-nature vocals. Once Pallbearer begin hitting with full force, that lurching doom pace takes on an overwhelming heaviness — and that’s when the drums begin speeding up and the band unleash that bloody war cry, right at 4:23. It takes just under six minutes for the band to get back to that riff on which they came swooping in, that crushing, devastating peak that they ride out for the second half of the song. It’s a hell of a moment, the sound of a band steadily growing unstoppable. –Miles

1. Grimes – “Go”

If this had been a Rihanna song, as Grimes originally intended it to be, it would’ve been a pretty bad Rihanna song. It doesn’t have the icy definition that the best Rihanna songs have, the clear and defined single-mindedness that pushes a song like “We Found Love” or “Don’t Stop The Music” so deep into your lizard brain. As a Grimes song, though, it’s revelatory, perfectly molded to her soft voice and spectral delivery. At its best, Claire Boucher’s music is all rapturous reverie; it’s music that gently encircles you. “Go” does all that, but it uses that style in service of a pop song that hammers even as it twinkles. People are talking about the dubstep drops on this song like they’re pure blasphemy, but when was the last time a drop made you feel like you were floating? If this is where she’s going, I’m going with her. –Tom

Comments (19)
  1. Twigs was robbed; Grimes’ song is good but not THAT good

  2. So for the people who don’t find that Grimes track completely horrible: Is this something you would actually want to listen to, like in your own home or would it just be good if it were at a party or just like better than whatever else happens to be playing at the mall?

    • I don’t like that Grimes song. It’s a depart from the aesthetics we had known her for. This one is too, I don’t know, less interesting with that “party” sound.

      • I would listen to it while waxing my balls, which is when i listen to most of my music, regardless of hyperbolic internet-community reactions.

        this is a very personal thing/time for me

        and for my balls.

    • as a self-admitted fan of a lot of mainstream and pop-dance music, but to whom the concept of going to a party or dance is virtually nightmarish, I would listen to it on my own time, at home.

  3. jloo  |   Posted on Jun 27th +2

    More or less summed up my thoughts exactly on the Grimes song. I can totally see why Rihanna didn’t pick it up, but as a conceptual experiment of Grimes-goes-dubstep/trap/EDM/whatever it’s quite alluring, even if not as immediately compelling or likeable as, say, “Oblivion” or “Genesis.” I wouldn’t argue it’s even in the top 10 of her catalogue, or better than “Phone Sex,” but IMO it doesn’t have to be in order to be better than most music coming out nowadays anyway.

    If nothing else “Go” reminds me of Grimes’ infamous Boiler Room set: it’s prompted a reflexive “WTF” from many but is, at its heart, so very charmingly her. At the end of the day, I can’t really ask for anything more. I listen to Grimes because Grimes is Grimes, and this song is very Grimes. (To me, anyway.)

    • I stand by what I said above, but on further consideration, “Two Weeks” is definitely my #1 and “Dangerous Days” is my #2. I like “Go” but no way does it beat out those two songs; they’re massive. FKA twigs keeps getting better and better it seems. And I expected Zola Jesus’ music to change after “Intro” and “New France” but DAMN. If this is a clue of what Taiga is gonna be like, I think we’re all in for a treat. :D

  4. Great write-up on Zola. The world ain’t ready, but boy am I.

  5. Man, I’m really angry at this. Seriously, guys…

    First off, I’m a fan of Grimes, but there are no “dubstep drops” on ‘Go’. And to misidentify that as a music blog while claiming it as the number one song of the week (over FKA Twigs…really tho? I disagree.) says more about your lack of knowledge/respect of that part of the electronic music scene than the underhanded slight you were going for. There’s a lot of over-crediting on what Grimes chooses to appropriate in her art and I think you guys just drank the kool-aid on this one.

    • “People are talking about the dubstep drops on this song like they’re pure blasphemy, but when was the last time a drop made you feel like you were floating?”

      This is the line that I’m mad. Yeah, you can lazily put {EDM, Dubstep, Trap, Electro, SoundcloudProducers, YourBuzzword, etc.} all in one box and talk down to it like you could give a flying fuck about the differences, but isn’t that what they do with “indie music”? Don’t we get mad when the nuances get overlooked and generalized, & artists get grouped into a genre they aren’t “really” in? (ie. if I said that The Lumineers were a great indie band)

      This is clearly not a dubstep drop, nor is it one of the most outstanding drops and that’s kind of my gripe. I’ve heard a ton of different approaches to drops, Mr. Carmack, for example, that have made me feel like floating, but this is just a basic foray into stadium-sized trap. The synth lead sounds like a minor tweak to a stock sound, and is mixed to make it sound stale, especially noticeable when there’s too many lead notes stuffed into one bar, while the kick patterns are too repetitive and formulaic. The lack of variation doesn’t propel the song and it suffers rhythmically.

      And to be honest, I don’t understand my downvotes, but now I know why stereogummers get obsessed with them without a written response :/

  6. I don’t mind the fact that Grimes appeared on this list, but the fact that “Two Weeks” isn’t at number one and in lieu of a much, much less accomplished song is kinda a disgrace (not calling out Pallbearer here since they play a completely different ball game). The songs from 5-3 here are among the best of the year so far, but c’mon.

    You know, “OctaHate” would be a pretty great song of the summer candidate. Oh wait — it hasn’t received major radio play!

  7. I was never too big on it from the start, but dang am I bored of the synth-dense/electro-pop songs that are getting a lot of buzz from the indie world these days. And that four managed to make the list this week and none are that Ballet School song is just craziness; the song is a stone cold killer.
    5. Woods
    4. Pallbearer
    3. Hiss Golden Messenger
    2. Ballet School
    1. Cymbals Eat Guitars

  8. Switch “Two Weeks” and “Go” and the list is looking a lot better. I’d save a spot for Rustie, too. And fuck it. I’m liking that new song from the Shins. So what if it’s for a horrible movie. That song hits a pleasure center in my brain.

    And yeah, “OctaHate” is something else entirely.

  9. no rustie is just……. come on son.

  10. Was kind of hoping for some Alt-J love. :(

  11. not keen on the direction pallbearer’s vocals have taken. bit too slick innit.

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