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 kicks off a holiday weekend — Bandcamp Day once more. That means things were pretty busy over here today but hopefully you are perusing this list while doing absolutely nothing due to that other holiday. The five best songs of the week are below.
Was this Boris song inspired by Sophocles? Is it a screed against disappearing, mentally checking out, or otherwise not being present? What are they barking so furiously about here, exactly? I have no idea. Here’s what I do know: Shit rips. It rips so hard and so mercilessly. “Anti-Gone” barrels ahead with the terrifying speed and power of Motörhead at their best. It is a d-Beat drag race with no regard for safety or sanctity, a blast of debris careening from an explosion with a trail of fire in its wake, an entire offensive line sprinting at wide-receiver velocity toward the same godforsaken cheeseburger. How can it be so heavy and so fast all at once? –Chris
Who says rappers don’t respect the genre’s history? Eazy-E’s “Boyz-N-The-Hood” is 33 years old. Megan Thee Stallion wasn’t born until eight years after the song came out. The song remains a standard, a monument to sneery knucklehead swagger. On her first single since teaming up with Beyoncé to score a #1 hit, Megan Thee Stallion hijacks “Boyz-N-The-Hood,” flips its genders around, and claims its confidence for herself. “He fucking with Thee Stallion cuz he into wild women/ Put them legs on his head, now he into tall women.” “I’ma make him eat me out while I’m watching anime/ Pussy like a Wild Fox, looking for a Sasuke.” “Knowing nothing in life but I gotta get rich/ You could check the throwback pics, I been that bitch.” I’ve got to quote her. She said a lot of shit. –Tom
For most of What’s Your Pleasure?, Jessie Ware wants to give you the ability to escape yourself. She gives you infectious beat after infectious beat, she conjures a fantasy discotheque where multiple passages of history collapse together and you have this wide blank canvas against which to meet someone new. She wants you to think about dancing and love and lust. While her particular brand of euphoria still has plenty of longing within it, the actual moments of deeper reflection are not the point here — even if it’s solitary, it’s a party album. But then when a song grapples with the unstable times we’re all living through, it’s like a small bit of thunder making its mark on the album.
“Remember Where You Are” is the closer of What’s Your Pleasure?, and it will both crush and elevate you the first time you hear it at the album’s end. It was inspired by specific moment in Ware’s native UK, the defeat and disappointment of Boris Johnson retaining power. There’s been no shortage of moments in recent years that could birth a song like “Remember Where You Are.” Anytime you look out the window, it feels like the world is on fire.
But you don’t always get a song like this to capture the anxiety of it all while also lifting you up out of it. It’s a dramatic, moving melody, one that feels like a beacon from outer space or from some better future. At the same time, it inverts the stereotypical messages of the kind of dance music that What’s Your Pleasure? is rooted in — this is no escapism, or no call to lose yourself in being present in this one specific fleeting moment. It’s about family and the hope and support you can find at home when everything else is falling apart. So at the end of it all, Jessie Ware pulls off some kind of trick — a song to ground yourself in, conveyed in a language from the stratosphere. –Ryan
Sometimes, all you need is a banger that’s fun as hell and goes hard. “Little Scammer That Could” is that banger. Producer James Delgado’s subwoofer-rattling beat knocks, but the real star, of course, is GuapDad 4000 himself, an enormously charismatic and entertaining presence on the mic. Every line out of his mouth is a sing-songily catchy playground taunt: “Look at this, way too many hoes on my dick/ I can’t even take a fuckin’ piss, huh.” Even his ad libs are great. “Mimosas!” he shouts enthusiastically. “Brunch!” “Piss!”
And then Denzel Curry comes in and fucks shit up even more. Although Curry is only 25, he’s been around for a decade at this point, and somehow it still feels like he’s just hitting his stride. Where GuapDad brings the fun, Curry brings the fire: “I know I can, I know I can, I’m juggin’ off the Instagram/ I swipe it all, I gotta scram, proceed to hit the running man/ What you know about a scam? Wanna pull up in a Lam.” GuapDad 4000 may be a scammer, but “Little Scammer That Could” is definitely the real deal. –Peter
Bill Callahan begins and ends his new song by shouting out two major songwriters in Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen, in the kind of jokey yet serious way we’ve come to expect from Callahan. It’s clear that he belongs in the same lineage as those two titans of songwriting, and “Pigeons” is good evidence as to why. Musically, it’s subdued — little more than an acoustic guitar and some little horn bursts in the background — but that’s enough for Callahan to create an entangled atmosphere, one that gets out of the way so that Callahan can tell a story. He loves telling stories. And he’s mighty good at it.
In this one, he inhabits a character who drives a newlywed couple in the back of his long white limousine. He’s wary about them from the start, opens with a startling image of pigeons eating wedding rice and exploding in mid-air, but he tempers his cynicism. “They seemed like a match, so I stopped looking for cracks in their road and just drove,” he sings. But when asked by the groom for advice, he can’t help but impart his wisdom, telling them that the world seems so much bigger when you’re married; you lose some intimacy but maybe gain a community. It’s clear Callahan’s character is conflicted about the whole arrangement: “How my words had gone over, I couldn’t tell/ Potent advice or preachy as hell.”
Maybe he’s a bit of a bummer for a chauffeur, but I wouldn’t mind having Callahan in the front seat. It’s clear he puts a lot of thought into things, in the same quiet and measured way that his music is often presented. “Pigeons” isn’t judgmental, it’s just a slice-of-life with no real answers, only something to ponder. And Callahan’s at his best when he’s just pondering. –James