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.
Welcome to the beginning of end-of-year season! We’ve already looked back on the year’s best albums and EPs, as well as equally crucial things like tweets and Radiohead covers, and we have a lot more ahead of us next week. We took last week off from 5 Best due to the holiday, so the best songs of the last two weeks are below.
Drakeo The Ruler - "Energy" (Feat. Tee Grizzley)
The LA underground-rap baron Drakeo The Ruler just got out of jail after awaiting trial for three years, so you might expect him to sound ebullient, euphoric. Naw. Drakeo is pissed off about all his time away and all the people who didn't support him, and he's held onto that. On "Energy," a highlight from his new mixtape We Know The Truth, Drakeo picks up right where he left off, muttering slick shit over tinny, low-key California beats. But he's got scores to settle: "N***as talking about 'welcome home, you deserve this'/ Get the fuck up out my face with that nerd shit." Detroit's Tee Grizzley, another rapper who knows what the inside of a cell looks like, finds that same snarling wavelength: "Run up in your kennel and let it bark, that's what my dogs do/ Watch on my wrist cost like two bricks of dog food." Nobody has mellowed. —Tom
"There's a tiny piece of you I save," Thom Yorke sings on "His Rope." This being Thom Yorke, it isn't entirely clear what his two new surprise songs with Burial and Four Tet are about, or how exactly their mirroring titles entail a common thread. Perhaps that is to be expected: Teaming up with his old buddies has led Yorke to two shadowy, grey tracks that exist in a deep, hazy headspace. Sometimes "His Rope," and that line, sound as if they emanate from grief — a message to someone lost, and the thin, fraying thread that keeps them here, in some form. Or, if you wade into it from another angle, it could just as easily be about a tentative chapter with a new person, the way "just enough rope" is the only way we are tenuously hanging on to most people in our lives. Either way, "His Rope" and "Her Revolution" are two beautiful, bleary gifts from this trio, unexpected transmissions from the mist of this bleak year's waning days. —Ryan
Tory Lanez is the one who allegedly shot Megan Thee Stallion, and yet Megan is the one who definitely murdered Tory. The killing took the form of "Shots Fired," the opening track on Megan's official debut album Good News, on which she dispensed with the whole sordid affair up front before moving on to other matters. Over bouncing, bass-heavy production and a strategically deployed sample from Biggie's 2Pac taunt "Who Shot Ya," Megan wastes no time laying waste to her assailant. With sass and disgust, she begins, "Imagine n****s lyin' 'bout shootin' a real bitch/ Just to save face for rapper n****s you chill with." She then mocks the size of Tory's gun, scoffs at his appearance on Jack Harlow's "What's Poppin" remix, diminishes his associates, and advises him, "I'm a steak, you a side plate, shrimp, stay in your place." It is one of the most thorough dressings down in recent memory, exhilarating in its casual devastation. —Chris
You see a song title like "Groove Elation" and you think you're going to get a straightforward dancefloor anthem. But that's not exactly how Toronto experimentalists Bernice operate, and their "Groove Elation" is a weirder, subtler beast. The track's amorphous downtempo rhythm is the kind that slowly wafts through the air, its deep bassline and skittering beat streaked with horn blurts and keyboard twinkles. It's in no hurry, eventually coalescing into funky jazz-pop bliss almost as if by accident. They make it sound effortless. —Peter
Mikaela Straus' gilded pop project King Princess levels up with "PAIN," which starts with a woozy "Tom's Diner" homage before exploding into a slick mix of snaking guitars and a tip-toeing dance throb. It's one of those songs made up of sounds that you've heard before, but the way they're mashed together and refracted through Straus' immaculate production makes them sound comforting and brand new. Straus has described it as "George Michael meets Erotica-era Madonna meets an incredible remix," and it's all that and more. The undercurrent of influences is playful and circuitous; it meets Straus in the middle as she laments how she can't help but turn her love into pain, a feeling as inevitable as the song's groove. —James