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.
It’s long since become cliche to consider how impossibly long the “We Didn’t Start The Fire” about 2020 would be, but always remember this was the week that gave us both Ben Shapiro embarrassing himself over “WAP” and Mike Pence claiming he would never let Joe Biden and Kamala Harris “cut America’s meat.” The five best songs of the week are below.
Bartees Strange is a master melder. The Washington, DC-based musician started off this year with some inventive reimaginings of songs by the National, but his own material is even more exciting. “Mustang,” his debut album’s lead single, was a breathless rush, and “Boomer” is just as propulsive, a whirlwind of energy and forward momentum that at different points sounds like rootsy country, a rap banger, and an indie rock scorcher.
He makes all of this look easy, but it’s not. “Boomer” is a master class in not hesitating. Some of these sounds don’t make sense together but he makes them make sense. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly where I wanna go,” he sings at one point. “I know it don’t show.” Indeed it does not. “Boomer” is a breath of fresh air, a glorious combination of past sounds to create something that feels brand new. –James
Since Ride reunited, they’ve released two albums and an EP. And there have been rewarding moments scattered throughout, but it appears Andy Bell was saving one of his best evocations of that classic Ride feeling for his first solo album, The View From Halfway Down. “Love Comes In Waves” is its lead single, and it’s like one long transporting sunburst of a song.
He’s struck a balance here, tapping into the daze of his earliest work, but trading melancholy for more of a skyward gaze. “Love Comes In Waves” churns and pulses along, with Bell blissfully singing above ripple after ripple of guitar; it takes the endorphin rush you might’ve gotten from all those shimmering and chiming guitars on the initial Ride records, and recalibrates it ever so slightly. This might not be reinventing a wheel, but we’re talking about a wheel Bell helped invent in the first place — and “Love Comes In Waves” is a big, joyous reiteration that he can still get some mileage out of it. –Ryan
“Work, work to be a winner,” Marie Davidson snapped on her 2018 breakout “Work It.” But on the first single and title track from her upcoming album Renegade Breakdown, she’s singing a different tune: “Oh by the way, there are no money makers on this record/ This time I’m exploring the loser’s point of view.” Davidson turns her relentless stream of shit-talk into an icy synth-pop banger, moving from detached spoken-word to melodic sing-song as she slips from English to French. Whatever she says, “Renegade Breakdown” might just be a money maker after all. –Peter
If you’re going to make a 10-minute song, you need some reason for your song to be 10 minutes. A 10-minute song is a statement, and it’s also a request. You’re asking people to devote significant time and attention, and you need to reward that. You need to earn it. TRAAMS earn it.
For their first song in five years, the British indie rock trio seize on one particular beat — a staring-into-infinity krautrock pulse — and they build on it, tear down what they’ve built, and then build it back up again. “The Greyhound” is zone-out music, music to lose yourself in. It’s repetitive in that it’s hypnotic, not in that it’s an endurance test. And when the intensity builds up — when the guitar gets fuzzier and the bass gets louder and Black Country, New Road’s Lewis Evans throws wailing saxophone all over everything — it sweeps you away to some kind of blissed-out ether. It takes time to get there, and it’s worth that time. –Tom
Remember a week ago when “WAP” could have meant anything? Apologies to Wireless Access Point or whatever the hell it stood for before, but “WAP” is going to be wet ass pussy from here on out. That’s just the way it is. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s deliriously raunchy collaboration is just as much of a cultural moment as it is a song. It’s designed to get people to freak out, and freak out people have.
But as a song, it’s great fun, too. For a minute there I was worried that it wasn’t thaat catchy for what seems like an inevitable #1 hit, but then I was drawn to this great Super Mario 64 mash-up by one of the commenters and I realized that the melody definitely has legs. This song is destined to become a raunch-rap classic, right up there with “My Neck, My Back.” Take away the shock value and it’s still a gleeful, ecstatic celebration. –James