The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

A moment of silence for the Grammys, please. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Thank you.

Music’s Biggest Night™ never fails to disappoint, but at the very least Chance The Rapper beat out the Chainsmokers for this year’s Best New Artist award in the name of the Lord, and we got to see yet another iconic Beyoncé performance. We dutifully blogged the night away, and made sure to chronicle any political-ish statement made onstage or off. Speaking of political statements: for once in our country’s history, the Grammys were not the toughest thing to watch on TV this week. The award for Most Insufferable goes to President Agent Orange this go ’round. 2017: It just keeps coming. Enjoy your Presidents’ Day, and make sure to check out the five best songs of the week below.

5. Half Waif- “Night Heat”

This is a little bit of a weird comparison, but I’ve been catching up on season two of Crazy Ex Girlfriend lately, and “Night Heat” actually reminds me a lot of that show. On the surface, Crazy Ex Girlfriend is a romantic musical comedy, and it works on that level. But really, it’s all about puncturing the fantasy of relationship-as-salvation, showing how unhealthy it is to cling to someone else to avoid having to confront your own problems. With “Night Heat,” Nandi Rose Plunkett pulls off a similar trick, crafting an absolutely gorgeous ode to all-consuming love while also exposing the dark side of that kind of devotion. The first sound you hear on the track is an clanky old heater that kept Plunkett awake at night while she was living in isolation in the Berkshires, and over the course of the song, she takes that fear of being alone to its frightening logical conclusion: “I’ll follow you forever so you know me well/ Then there’s no need to really know myself.” –Peter

4. The Jesus & Mary Chain- “Always Sad”

Jim Reid sounded tired on Psychocandy, and he was 24 when that album came out. Reid is 55 now, and he sounds really tired on “Always Sad.” Maybe that’s the secret, that’s why the Jesus And Mary Chain are able to write a song this good at this point in their collective career. Maybe Reid took all those years to grow into his sleepy, flirty, fake-American-drawl voice. With guest singer Bernadette Dening, he has the same sort of bittersweet, distant chemistry as he had with Hope Sandoval on “Sometimes Always.” It doesn’t matter that the lyrics — “you got something more than curls / you ain’t like those other girls” — are pretty dumb. It manages that this band is still in full evocative fuzzy-guitar melodic stride, that they’re able to mash those old pleasure-centers so reliably. How many bands can still pull off that tambourine shimmy? How many bands can still do that kind of call-and-response with vocals and guitars? How many bands still sound like they like to fuck? We are so lucky to have these gits back. –Tom

3. Sorority Noise- “A Better Sun”

At a time when dishonesty, “alternative facts,” and half-truths are being lobbed at the public at a near-constant rate, listening to a band like Sorority Noise is a bit of relief. Cameron Boucher is an honest songwriter; he rarely finds the need to hide, and never shirks at an opportunity to bear all. Sorority Noise’s new single, “A Better Sun,” narrates a series of events as if Boucher were writing a script for a movie. “This is the part where I _______,” he sings over and over again, filling in the blanks with a series of defeated memories. This is a song about fucking up, and Boucher lends it universality by directly quoting his friends in Modern Baseball (“This is the part where I’m just another face”) as well as Julien Baker (“This is the part where I’m a marathon runner/ And both of my ankles are sprained”). There are a lot of great songs about feeling inadequate, and Boucher is really good at showing his fans that even when they’re most isolated, they are never truly alone. (On another, less profound note: this song absolutely 100% reminds me of this song). –Gabriela

2. PWR BTTM- “Big Beautiful Day”

Behold the sound of a revolution coming into focus. From their inception PWR BTTM have been a rippling “Eureka!” — both for a sorely underrepresented community of outcasts and for people who might otherwise have never understood them. They have upended and re-ordered the shape of indie rock by simply existing in public, exponentially more so by executing their vision with an undeniable vigor and pizzazz. With “Big Beautiful Day,” that momentum crystallizes in a punk song-as-manifesto so fun and persuasive that it leaves no doubt about PWR BTTM’s place among the most significant bands of their generation. You could write a term paper on all the layers of meaning in this song, but one particular stroke of genius is that “Big Beautiful Day” is both radically queer and radically inclusive: a clever and defiant “Fuck you!” with a surprising baseline empathy for the haters. It dares to imagine many more “Eureka!” moments to come. –Chris

1. Mount Eerie- “Ravens”

It’s difficult to put death in concrete form. As a society, we’re discouraged from talking about the dirty details of what happens after someone you love dies. It’s wrapped in euphemism and soft terms — they passed away, they’re in a better place, life goes on. There’s no real language to account for this kind of loss, and that’s what makes the songs off of Mount Eerie’s latest hit so hard. “Real Death,” as the lead single proclaims. Not that abstract and unknowable passing, but the true thing itself. When it happens to you, it’ll leave you reeling. “Ravens” has no structure — it’s a loose seven-minute Kodak Carousel of dates and memories. It’s sparse and moving, Phil Elverum recounting his wife’s inevitable death in the plainest way possible. “You had cancer and you were killed, and I’m left living like this,” he sings at one point. The song (and album as a whole) never falls back on flowery language; even when Elverum resorts to metaphors, it’s in the simplest of terms: ravens, ghosts, dirt. Those signifiers we have come to associate with death. That Elevrum talks about his loss in the most primitive of terms only makes it all that much harder to bear. –James