As Chris cannily noted in his last The Week In Pop, “the TV-shows-about-the-music-industry industry is booming,” even as the music industry itself melts deeper into Pompeii-level hot messiness. It is ironic: 10 million people every week are watching a TV show about a record company, but nobody is buying records. So yeah, the machine appears to be broken — lucky for us, though, right now, it’s just randomly, uncontrollably spitting out candy. Two of this week’s best songs came from two of the world’s best artists; they arrived totally unannounced, and we were totally unprepared, and our lives were immediately, magically enriched. This is now a regular occurrence. This is a boom time.
If we approached this column with a more literal set of guidelines, there’s a good chance you would see a different list before you, one including five songs from Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities To Love. (But which five?!) That album’s not in stores till next week, but we got the stream this past Sunday, and yes, it contains some of the best songs of the week, some of the best songs of the year, in fact: both the year so far and the year to come. The five songs we chose, though, are no less awesome for arriving the same week that brought us the return of a legend. They deserve to be called “best,” too.
How appropriate that Pink Floyd would find their beginnings in the same year that saw the first person walk in space. It’s a fitting foreword to the band’s story which, over the last fifty years of their existence, has seen them embrace the rarity and mythos that is rock and roll legend with a disarming sense of apprehension, paranoia, and oftentimes rage. Pink Floyd’s most distinctive quality is likely the very thing that provided the greatest friction for the members themselves. While their contemporaries honed in on every brilliant pop music formula from places like Liverpool and Southern California, Pink Floyd’s music quickly transformed into both a cautionary tale for the easily starstruck and a deeply personal narrative that became increasingly bleak and, at its most powerful, utterly heartbreaking.