The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

Kinda hard to be especially optimistic about the future of humanity after the ungodly shitpile dumped on us by the universe this week. But let’s try to look at this thing objectively, rationally, without panic or hyperbole: Maybe it’s not that bad? Maybe it doesn’t portend awful, awful things? Maybe there’s some hope? Ack, nope, sorry can’t do it — this Fall Out Boy/Missy Elliott Ghostbusters song is just TRASH. It just is! Wait, what did you think we were talking about? Haha. Little joke right there. Good to laugh while we still can, right? Here are the 5 Best Songs Of The Week. Crank these all the way up and drown out the real world for a minute.

5. Nice As Fuck – “Door”

Nice As Fuck — the new project featuring Jenny Lewis, Au Revoir Simone’s Erika Forster, and the Like’s Tennessee Thomas — surprise-released their debut album today, and the band’s first single, “Door,” was put out with similarly little fanfare. But “Door” packs an impactful punch: a needling bass line provides the scaffolding for the trio’s insistent commands to “don’t close the door” as they make an argument for staying alert, socially conscious, and not jaded. “You get what you want when you really need it/ All the wisdom that comes to you in your dreams/ And if you don’t believe in peace and love, in the message above/ Don’t close the door.” With all the bad shit that’s been going down in the world recently, it’s a message a lot more people should be taking to heart. –James

4. Show Me The Body – “Aspirin”

“Show Me The Body” is a great band name, but it’s especially great because it’s this band’s name. There’s a physicality to Show Me The Body’s music, a stop-and-start, propulsive quality to it that forces you to react; it’s not at all suitable for standing alone at the gig with your arms crossed. And that makes a lot of sense when you consider the fact that this is a band born and bred in New York City. Their debut LP Body War is caustic and feral and somehow inviting at the same time. It makes you want to become a part of it. Still, this is a band with a political bent; they write about the ramifications of gentrification among other things, and none of the lyrics on Body War are easy to parse. There are a lot of really great songs on this album (see “Metallic Taste,” which reminds me of Zoo Kid, or “Death Sounds 2,” or the title track) but “Aspirin” is the one that pulls together all of the disparate genre inclinations found throughout. It’s a meditation on self-destruction, a laundry list of pharmaceuticals and destructive habits that churn and convulse with the baseline until that woozy, sickening feeling becomes a metaphor for some greater societal illness. “Fuck come crush me up crush me up and take a sniff/ Life broken at the hip do a flip do a split,” Julian Cashwan Pratt spits at a particularly cathartic moment. That wordplay quickens, it makes you queasy, and then it ends on a single moment of youthful, wide-eyed defiance: “Fuck your world, I decide.” –Gabriela

3. Nots – “Entertain Me”

Whoever came up with the phrase “There’s levels to this shit” surely had things as complicatedly layered as “Entertain Me” in mind. There are seven minutes of twisting, turning sections deftly melting in and out of each other, with each one given the proper room to breathe, grow, and evolve. Many bands claim to meld different genres and sub-genres, but few actually do it, and fewer do it well. Nots are in that small minority. You can hear no-wave, psych, post-punk, power pop, and experimental elements take turns at the helm, oscillating in energy at opportune moments. The sonics alone are a master class in sub-genre weaving. But the song was also made with the intent to address and mirror (in the band’s own words): “the grotesque horror show going on in American politics and how they are portrayed — the rise of Trump, the reality-TV-like nature of American news, the almost-forced compliance of the viewer, and the for-profit-constructed ‘right’ of the viewer, the consumer, to require constant entertainment in order to participate, and to live.” That’s a tall order, but Nots tackle it like a linebacker. –Collin

2. Katie Dey – “Fear O The Light”

Flood Network is a network indeed. The interludes are essential. Each piece’s power is amplified by its place in the whole. So “Fear O’ The Light” cannot be fully appreciated when not bracketed by the post-Ninja Tune skitter of “(F4)” and the melting sound collage of “(F5).” Still, Katie Dey’s latest single stands on its own, a prime example of her propensity to make a simple pop song sound like several open YouTube tabs recorded by 4-track over a fuzzy cellphone connection. See, Flood Network is a flood too: of noises, of aesthetics, of emotions. In this case they pile up into an inscrutable three-minute symphony that sounds like a woman pushed to the brink, one that ought to resonate for anyone who’s out there with her, ready to snap. –Chris

1. Cymbals Eat Guitars – “4th Of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)”

You can take the band out of New Jersey, but you can’t take New Jersey out of the band. “4th Of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” directly references one titan of Jersey music with its Springsteen-adjacent title, and the explosive chorus sounds a bit like a blown-out version of the Wrens’ “This Boy Is Exhausted.” Joe D’Agostino wields his taut vocal cords like a knife, his voice halfway between a whisper and a shout, to relate the story of a wild Fourth Of July night on tour, a harrowing confrontation with some gun-toting revelers that really gets the blood flowing: “My depression suddenly lifted/ all the adrenaline shocked my nervous system/ so I’d be present and grateful for every second/ Later the feeling faded/ I couldn’t help it.” But even though his feeling fades, the song doesn’t — it keeps on sounding as huge and vital and alive as ever. I’m present and grateful for every second. –Peter