The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

Every week the Stereogum staff chooses the five best new songs of the week (the eligibility period begins and ends Thursdays right before midnight). This week’s countdown is below, and you can listen to a playlist of all our 5 Best Songs on Spotify.

Today is National Sticky Bun Day, apparently. Happy National Sticky Bun Day! Celebrate by checking out the five best songs of the week below.

5. Gouge Away – “Consider”

“Consider” is a funny word. It implies the hypothetical. It implies thought exercises. It implies a sort of patrician scholarly distance. But that is not what Gouge Away are going for on “Consider.” Instead, the Florida post-hardcore energy-whirlwinds are urgently pissed off. Over a dense and seesawing bed of decaying guitars, frontwoman Christina Michelle growls passionately about displaced immigrants and the hatred that greets them in this country: “Hiding white nationalism behind a fantasy of patriotism/ If you find yourself getting defensive, you are the infestation.” Before the song ends, it slows to a grungy crawl that sounds like frustration taking over. The “consider” of “Consider” is no hypothetical. Instead, it’s a very real demand to treat other human beings like human beings. –Tom

4. Polo G – “Go Stupid” (Feat. Stunna 4 Vegas & NLE Choppa)

You don’t need a hook. Sometimes, all you need is a team of three fearsome and on-fire young rappers, each doing their best to outshine all the others, hijacking a nasty beat and doing all the damage they can. That’s what we get on “Go Stupid.” The average age of the rappers on the song: Just under 21. The beat: A berserk Mike Will Made-It/Tay Keith hammer, full of eerie synth melodies and heavy pianos.

The headliner is Polo G, the ascendant Chicago master of bittersweet melodies. Here, though, he’s all careening energy: “Yeah, I heard she got surgery, still wanna clap from the back just to see if her ass soft/ Go like Harden with the Rockets, I blast off/ Tried to throw up some bullets, but we made them fumble, like, ‘No, you ain’t getting that pass off.'” Stunna 4 Vegas yells loud, but never loud enough to disguise his North Carolina drawl or his punchlines: “That boy a bitch, that’s his dad fault.” But the real star might be 17-year-old Memphis phenom NLE Choppa, who works up a full head of steam and puts over his gun-talk threats on pure teenage enthusiasm: “I don’t know why the police keep fucking with me cuz thay ain’t stopping shit! Yeah!” –Tom

3. The Strokes – “Bad Decisions”

Last week, the Strokes finally returned with new music after a long stretch teasing their long-awaited sixth album. That new single, “At The Door,” took a lot of people aback — the first new Strokes song in years, as it turns out, was a strange atmospheric space ballad. Not that the Strokes didn’t push the boundaries of their music over the years, but it registered as a striking reintroduction nonetheless.

Fast forward and “At The Door” was just part one of that reintroduction, followed this week by “Bad Decisions.” In comparison, it’s a far more quintessentially Strokes-sounding Strokes song. Its most distinctive calling cards are the ‘80s quotes, from the New Order/“I Melt With You” guitars to the “Dancing With Myself” chorus melody — but even then, that’s not exactly anything new for a band that cribbed from the Cars and released a song that sounded like “Take On Me” if someone chopped up the synth line. But that chorus melody could also sit right alongside “Hard To Explain” all the way back on the Strokes’ legendary debut.

When’s the last time these guys — or, maybe specifically Julian Casablancas — leaned this hard into the core DNA of their songwriting? So far we’re getting a glimpse of a new era of the Strokes, one that’s half adventure and half a comforting embrace of what they were always good at, and what they for a time tried to distance themselves from. And if that’s the kind of Strokes era we’re getting, their return is even more exciting than expected. –Ryan

2. Yves Tumor – “Gospel For A New Century”

Yves Tumor’s last album, Safe In The Hands Of Love, was a lot of things, but accessible it was not. There were moments of pop ingenuity, but on the whole it was a murky and dense and oftentimes difficult album. “Gospel For A New Century” is not that. It’s immediately and devilishly likable, all one insistent groove with a funky bassline and clipped horns that crest in waves around Yves Tumor’s sneering, come-and-get-it delivery: “This ain’t by design, girl/ Take it softer/ You know I’m out my mind, girl/ Don’t make this harder.” The accompanying video’s oddity only enhances what a palatable jam this song is, a freaky anthem for a whole new century. –James

1. Waxahatchee – “Lilacs”

They say old habits die hard, and that always seems doubly true for bad habits. If “Fire,” the first song we heard from Waxahatchee’s new album Saint Cloud, was all about breaking the cycle of shame and regret and bad decision, then “Lilacs” is about the inevitability of falling back into those familiar patterns.

“I get so angry baby, at something you might say,” Katie Crutchfield sings in a folky, half-spoken drawl. “I dream about an awful stranger, work my way through the day/ I run it like a silent movie/ I run it like a violent song/ I run it like a voice compelling/ So right it can’t be wrong.” 

But the warm and twangy Americana guitar sounds patient and peaceful, not angry. And then Crutchfield’s voice ascends to its upper register as the chorus hits: “If I’m a broken record, write it in the dust, babe/ I’ll fill myself back up like I used to do.” Working on yourself is hard work; backsliding happens. All you can do is accept it and keep trying. –Peter

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