William Patrick Corgan has rescinded his bid to join the Respectable Adult Musician’s Club. Yesterday, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman announced that he’ll be going by the name Billy Corgan once again. William Patrick Corgan was a bit of a mouthful anyway! Céline Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love and Modest Mouse’s The Lonesome Crowded West both turned 20 today, and obviously we honored both with anniversary essays. In other news: Bye Bye Warped Tour, FJM Is Working On A New Album Out Next Year, 21 Savage Did A Bad, and Trent Reznor Played A Living Statue On Curbed (or did he?). We also said goodbye to Lil Peep this week, a promising young talent who died way, way, way too young. RIP. Check out the five best songs of the week below.
The overwhelming number of sexual assault and harassment allegations leveraged against men in the entertainment industry have left me with one big question: How many victims of abuse stopped pursuing a career in their chosen field because someone overstepped a boundary and made them feel unsafe or unwelcome? Camp Cope’s new single, “The Opener,” is about the way male entitlement manifests itself in the music industry, and the way toxic values inevitably lead to toxic behavior. Georgia Maq sings about how often women are discredited in small music scenes, calling out gatekeepers who book female openers for diversity cred. “You worked so hard, but we were just lucky to ride those coattails into infinity/ And all my success has nothing to do with me/ Yeah, tell me again how there just aren’t many girls in the music scene,” she howls. “Yeah get a female opener, that’ll fill the quota!” Of course, this is just one microcosmic example of the way exclusionary practices in any industry totally fuck with your self-esteem when you’re in the minority. Here’s to things changing fast. –Gabriela
Never in a million years did I think I’d be lucky enough to hear Carly Rae Jepsen chirping over a breezy post-punk shimmy, but that’s pretty much what “Trouble In The Streets” amounts to. It’s just Jepsen’s voice barreling off at a mile a minute with a persistent da da da carrying her through. Sounds like all you’ll ever need in life, right? BC Unidos is the project of Swedish pop heavyweights Patrik Berger and Markus Krunegård — they’re behind “Dancing On My Own” and Charli XCX’s punk-indebted Sucker, among others — and you can hear the exacting nature of their craft on every inch of this song, which is pop engineered to be endearingly sloppy. The decision to have Jepsen sing on top of it is inspired, as she’s best when mining the sounds of past decades and translating it into her unmistakable rasp. Lyrically, she feels urgent with an fatalistic edge here, something that was often lacking in her earnest E•MO•TION persona: “I want a little loving with some danger on the side/ When it’s gonna kill me, there’s no better way to go.” Whether this is just a detour on the road to CRJ LP4 or whether it’s indicative of the direction Jepsen’s heading towards next, this song is undeniably great. –James
“Moon Barks At The Dog” is a perfect Saintseneca song title: simultaneously relatable and inscrutable. The song follows suit. As songwriters they’ve always been high-concept, hence Zac Little littering this tune with allusions from various disciplines and describing it as “a lullaby for the stoned prophets, nostalgic for the future” in a press release. Yet for all the historical, philosophical, and poetic trappings therein, “Moon Barks At The Dog” is remarkably straightforward in execution — simple enough to be sung around a campfire and gorgeous enough to have you weeping in 4/4 time even if you only engage with it on a surface level. –Chris
Sometimes, shit just rips. New York power trio the Royal They make post-punk, I guess, but the dizzy rush of “Sludgefucker” seems to exist entirely outside genre distinctions. They’re not working in any particular tradition; they’re only seeking to knock you all around and leave you dizzy. “Sludgefucker” builds up and breaks down and then builds back up again, and it does all of it with a frantic and intense sense of purpose, like they need to get all this shit in before some nuclear clock runs out. It’s the sort of song that can only be made by three people in a room together; you can practically hear them making eye contact before tearing into the next part. Frontwoman Michelle Hutt’s delivery makes the whole maelstrom sound human, like this roiling maelstrom is the only thing that’s going to help her say what she needs to say. “You got a t-t-t-t-t-twitch in your eye,” she deadpans before the heavy riffage comes back in and destroys everything. It’s an absolute rush. –Tom
Björk might be a magical art-pop goddess, but she’s also a human being, and she falls in love just like any other human being. She overthinks things. She second-guesses herself. She texts constantly. She makes mixtapes. “Is this excess texting a blessing?/ Two music nerds obsessing,” she sings on “Blissing Me,” backed by a cascade of delicate harp plucks. “I’m celebrating on a vibrancy/ Sending each other MP3s/ Falling in love to a song.” The song itself builds to match her giddy rush of feelings — first a few pulses of synthetic bass, then a skittering electronic beat, then a whole chorus of breathless infatuated Björks. But it ends where it began, just one person falling for another person, one song standing in for all of the thoughts and feelings and memories that we share with the ones we love. And maybe, for some people, that song will be “Blissing Me.” –Peter