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.
Sadly Vin Diesel was not eligible for 5 Best (this week, that is), but the rest of these artists are pretty good too. Here are the five best songs of the week.
There is a lot to be angry about these days; there are many targets that deserve righteous ire. And you know who’s on that list? Meteorologists! That is, at least, according to Hypoluxo’s new track “Nimbus.” The song was inspired by frontman Samuel Cogen’s time working as a delivery service in New York, and the days that were supposed to nice that instead turned to hell storms. I can speak from experience: It does suck when NYC suddenly hits you with some miserable, unexpected weather and you are trapped far from home.
Jokes aside, what “Nimbus” really gets at is a sort of deadening/dehumanizing feeling you can hit as you scrape by in an unforgiving metropolis, serving the wealthier denizens who seem to glide through their existence here so much more easily. Really, a sudden downpour is exactly the kind of bonus hassle that’ll make you snap. Hypoluxo capture that in a song that’s characteristically nervy and frazzled, all frayed wire guitars and Cogen slipping from disenchanted drawl to over-it yelps in a split second. –Ryan
Bruce Springsteen has spent a while looking back. The last several years have given us a memoir, a one-man Broadway show intertwined with that book and primarily structured to tell Bruce’s origin story, and frequent rumors of plans for expansive archival releases. The last time the E Street Band toured wasn’t for a new album, but for the anniversary of The River. Even when there have been new albums, like High Hopes and Western Stars, Springsteen was clearing out old stockpiles. Now Springsteen is coming back with a new album, one written and recorded quickly and very much from the present. But he also just turned 71, and he’s got some more looking back to do as well.
Where “Letter To You” seemed to sum up Springsteen’s relationship with his listeners through the decades, “Ghosts” is a neat bit of self-mythologizing about the band, and a tribute to the friends and comrades you lose along the way. On an album touted to more accurately harness the E Street Band’s live energy, “Ghosts” pulls off a little trick, honoring the past with a composition that feels like a warm echo of bygone glories. Letter To You presumably marks the beginning of a new era, Springsteen forging ahead after years of tying up legacy business. But there’s a whole lot of history he still carries with him, and “Ghosts” nods to that. As the song suggests, those you lose stick with you, in a sense — and in its brief, transcendent outro, you can hear all the years and all the E Street members living and dead swirling together as if they’re in the same room together one more time. –Ryan
Oneohtrix Point Never is one of those vaunted experimental artists for whom seemingly every album is billed as “the pop one” when it drops. Yet Daniel Lopatin’s music always stays as weird and singular as ever — even when it’s designed to sound like some alternate-universe radio station, as on the upcoming Magic Oneohtrix Point Never. Consider “Long Road Home,” a highlight from this week’s three-track teaser.
A team-up with fellow avant-pop genius Caroline Polachek, the song mashes together ancient choral music, orchestral chamber-pop, New Age, robotic Drive soundtrack synth-pop, Spaghetti Western scores, hip-hop drum programming, and more into something entirely unique. It’s of a piece with Lopatin’s catalog to date, yet unlike anything we’ve heard from him or anyone else before, a work of shapeshifting majesty that never trips over its own complexity. “I don’t know why I don’t wanna transform,” goes the chorus. But like the Oneohtrix Point Never project at large, “Long Road Home” pretty much never stops transforming, and it’s all the more glorious for it. –Chris
Robin Pecknold uses the first song he sings on Fleet Foxes’ new album to shoutout the artists that have shaped him. “Sunblind” doesn’t particularly sound very much like any of the musicians that he mentions throughout — Richard Swift, Judee Sill, David Berman, Arthur Russell, and many others — or maybe it sounds like little bits of all of them. If art is just an accumulation of influences, then what we cherish makes us who we are and informs what we create.
Pecknold hopes that he can live up to their memory, hopes that maybe someone out there will hold him in the same high regard as he does these fellow legends. “And in your rarified air, I feel sunblind/ I’m looking up at you there high in my mind,” he sings. “Only way that I made it for a long time/ But I’m loud and alive, singing you all night.” “Sunblind,” and Shore as a whole, sounds refreshed and rejuvenated, like Pecknold is channeling the pure joy he feels when creating music. It shines through brighter than ever. –James
“I Just Want To Dance” is beautiful escapism that never really lets you escape, starting out as an ode to the transcendent power of dance and ending up a testament to Black resilience. “I just wanna dance/ Dance, dance, dance/ Makes me feel alive/ Feel alive,” the song begins, before suddenly pivoting, without warning, into darker territory: “I get kind of mad/ Mad, mad, mad We lost another life/ Life, life, life.”
The impeccable bass-driven funk groove blossoms into a synth interlude as SAULT repeat, “Got to find a way out/ I’m sick of hearing lies, lies/ Got to find a way out/ Why my people always die?” And then — “rise again, rise again, rise again,” they cry — the groove is back, building to its gloriously clattering rhythmic finale. It’s Black joy and anger and anxiety all wrapped up in one inextricable knot, a stunningly of-the-moment piece of art that leaves it all on the dancefloor and leaves you dumbstruck. –Peter