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.
Lil Wayne endorsing Trump, Kanye gifting Kim a hologram of the dead Robert Kardashian, Michael Bay making a movie about an apocalyptic 2024 extended coronavirus scenario while we’re still in the fucking middle of coronavirus. The celebrities are on one this week. The five best songs of the week are below.
Positions might not be Ariana Grande’s best work, but all is not lost. The album still has its highlights, where Grande’s swooning new-love daze translates directly. “Positions,” the album’s lead single and title track, is the best of those moments. Everything that dominates the album — the dizzying/tentative-yet-all-in/exhilarated/lustful early relationship stages, the string arrangements — are at their best here. Ari, as always, moves nimbly and impressively above the music, which itself is a graceful glide, smoothly moving from the percussive quality of plucked string sounds to the more insistent beat of the chorus. Hopefully the album itself is a minor bump in the road amidst Grande’s recent pop mastery, because a song like “Positions” remains as entrancing as the circumstances it arose from. –Ryan
If Hayley Williams and friends are going to keep culling inspiration from Afropop, Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead, and just about everything except fiery MySpace emo, somebody else might as well be out here making classic Paramore songs. In the case of “Rainwalk” that someone is the upstart multiracial Baltimore rock band Pinkshift. Walking in the rain can be a lot of fun, but Ashrita Kumar’s high-flying chorus brims with the indignation that typifies this genre. “‘Cause it’s storming out, and you’ve used your last excuse,” she sings bitingly. “And it’s pouring now, but you’re walking in my shoes.” The melodies soar, the harmonies pop, and the band hurtles forward with machinelike dynamism. “Roll up your sleeves and take a seat ’cause we’re gonna be a while yet,” Kumar instructs at one point; out of context, it’s easy to hear her words as a promise of longevity from an impressive young band that’s just getting started. –Chris
The name Black Country, New Road suggests possibility and everything we’ve heard so far from the young English band has suggested that they are determined to carve out a new path for themselves. “Science Fair,” the feverish post-punk scrawl that they’re introducing their debut album with — which is being released on experimental music haven Ninja Tune — is self-consciously artsy and odd, a skronking build-up that reaches an explosive end. Frontman Isaac Wood’s incensed delivery is centered but still takes a backseat to the group’s impressive free-associative swirl. As he heads confidently into the light on the band’s quasi-theme song (“I know where I’m going/ It’s black country out there”), the band responds in kind, a guiding and forceful hand into greener pastures. –James
The scarily talented rapper J.I.D is a part of the Spillage Village crew and J. Cole’s Dreamville roster, and he’s spent a lot of time collaborating with other people over the last couple of years. But J.I.D is best when he’s on his own, just going off on berserk rap tangents and showing off what he can do. That’s what happens on “Cludder Freestyle,” a dizzy display of microphone wizardry that isn’t even on the streaming services. J.I.D just takes a lush, hard, piano-heavy beat and goes off on it, spinning from one syllable-spray cadence to the next without ever losing the conversational ease in his delivery. Hearing J.I.D at full-steam is like hearing Kendrick Lamar in 2010. It leaves you with the idea that this young man could do anything. –Tom
Daniel Lopatin has been flirting with more traditional pop song structures for years now. His new album Magic Oneohtrix Point Never features the Weeknd on it, and it could’ve been a big pop move. It’s not. Lopatin doesn’t seem interested in that, and Magic Oneohtrix Point Never revels in abstraction, presenting melted soundscapes that sound like they’re stuck between stations. But every so often, they cohere into something more recognizable, and “I Don’t Love Me Anymore” might be the finest of Lopatin’s pop experiments yet. It’s like a lost alt-rock classic remembered through a half-faded dream, everything around its indelible central melody and insistent beat swimming tantalizingly out of focus. The rest is burned away, and all that’s left is pure, wistful beauty. –Peter