The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

It’s Friday The 13th in October and you know what that means: spooky shit coming your way! Read our spooky premature evaluation of Beck’s bad album, check out our spooky review of St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION, and make sure you leave room for a spooky essay on Bruce Springsteen’s new Broadway show. Oh! And Green Day’s spooky album Nimrod turns 20 today. Hope this spooky content got you spooked! Check out the spookiest songs of the week below.

5. Anna Burch – “2 Cool 2 Care”

Anna Burch is a veteran of the Detroit music scene, which helps explains why “2 Cool 2 Care,” the first single from her upcoming solo debut LP, lands like an old friend. There’s an instant familiarity and warmth to it that can be partially attributed to the song’s gentle sway — all oohs and ahhs and starry-eyed romanticism — but it hits even deeper than that. The one-sided infatuation that drives the track is a tale as old as time, and Burch has a knack for framing her unrequited crush in maudlinly sweet and prettily painful terms. “You scare me with your indifference/ I like you best when you’re a mess,” she sings on breezy hook. And later on: “You say you can’t get close/ Hurt the ones you love the most/ Is that why I try to win you over?” Unfortunately, it’s human nature to occasionally fall for the one that makes us feel bad, and Burch acutely captures all of the messy wishy-washy feelings that come with that predicament and packages it into a small gem of a song. –James

4. Sufjan Stevens – “Wallowa Lake Monster”

Like all of the songs on Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell, the first outtake we’re hearing from the album is about his relationship to his mother. “Wallowa Lake Monster” conflates a legendary tale of the legendary, water-dwelling Oregon beast with that of his mom leaving her kids someplace in Detroit on a rainy day. The song begins with a plucky, astral guitar part that recalls many of the songs on Carrie & Lowell, but at around the 2:10 mark it begins to twinkle and swell, turning a simple narrative about loss into something greater than its parts. A choir of angels appears at the end, imparting a sense of absolution. “Wallowa Lake Monster” is not as spare as most of Carrie & Lowell, and some of the melody recalls “No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross,” so it’s understandable why this track didn’t make the final cut. It’s still a moving, beautiful song. –Gabriela

3. No Age – “Soft Collar Fad”

Contrary to their name, in my mind No Age have always been tied to a specific time and place. They flash me back a decade to the height of the last big lo-fi movement, when anyone invested in indie rock kept hearing about this important DIY space in LA called the Smell and hardly any music was as exciting as this unhinged noise-pop record called Weirdo Rippers. Given how many hype cycles and musical mutations we’ve lived through since then, that era seems impossibly long ago. Even the four-year interim since their last album An Object? feels like a lifetime. Yet here they are at the end of 2017 kicking out a sludgy, propulsive, magnificently catchy punk song, sounding fresh and vital all over again and piquing our collective interest in their new album. I guess they got their name right after all. –Chris

2. Julien Baker – “Turn Out The Lights”

When I was 22, I moved into an apartment with a broken window in my bedroom. I lived there for a year, and I never got it replaced. It didn’t seem to matter. It was just me sleeping in there, so who cared if it got cold in the winter, if I woke up shivering every morning. And so I wince with recognition when Julien Baker, who turned 22 a couple of weeks ago, opens the title track from her new album with this: “There’s a hole in the drywall still not fixed / I just haven’t gotten around to it / And besides, I’m starting to get used to the gap.” “Turn Out The Lights” is a song about realizing that you’re on your own, that you’re ultimately the only one responsible for your own wellbeing, and about shrinking from that. It’s not really about drywall or windows. It’s about feeling utterly lost and helpless in the face of everyday life. And when Baker’s masterfully recorded guitar-twinkles build up into that massive, crashing climax, the overwhelming force of that feeling kicks you in the chest and leaves you gasping. –Tom

1. St. Vincent – “Pills”

I take pills. I like my pills. So when I first heard that St. Vincent had a song on her new album with Cara Delevingne singing the lyrics, “Pills to grow, pills to shrink, pills, pills, pills and a good stiff drink/ Pills to fuck, pills to eat, pills, pills, pills down the kitchen sink,” I was kind of dreading it. “Great,” I thought, expecting more biting social commentary on par with Arcade Fire’s Ritalin cereal. But I shouldn’t have worried so much. St. Vincent is no Arcade Fire, and in this case, that’s a good thing.

So yes, “Pills” touches on chemical dependency and overprescription and the way that Big Pharma worms its way into every aspect of our lives. But it’s not really an indictment, or a paranoid 21st-century update of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” or even necessarily satire. Instead, it’s a very personal story, a story of insomnia and anxiety and depression and the ways in which one Annie Clark coped with them. It’s also a great song, a jagged slice of warped funhouse-pop that builds from its Alice In Wonderland advertising jingle refrain to a surprisingly affecting coda: “Come all you wasted, wretched, and scorned/ Come on and face it, come join the wall/ Come climb the rafters, come out to space/ Come for the answers, throw them away.” –Peter