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.
This week we have a previously unknown band’s debut single topping 5 Best — hard to say whether that’s absolutely the first time that’s ever happened, but it’s certainly pretty rare. That and the week’s four other best songs are below.
Anyone who’s ever owned a dog, or just walked past a dog park on a sunny day, has probably considered, at least for a moment, that that shit looks fun. On “I Wanna Be A Dog,” Colleen Green takes that stoner thought-nugget and turns it into gorgeously fuzzy stoner-pop, flipping a Stooges classic into something literal. From various angles, Green considers the way that canine life might feel a bit more natural: “I’m still barking at a closed door/ I don’t really see the difference anymore.” It’s funny and breezy and catchy, but it all leads up to a devastating conclusion: “I’m just trying to be understood/ And all I really want, all I really want, is for somebody to tell me that I’m good.” She’s good. —Tom
With her debut album Fake It Flowers, beabadoobee elevated ’90s pop-rock pastiche into an art form. And on her new EP Our Extended Play, written and produced in collaboration with the 1975’s Matty Healy and George Daniel, Beatrice Laus continues to refine nostalgic sounds into surprisingly modern pop music. “Cologne” takes its cues from the sultry cosmopolitan vibes of the Cardigans’ “Lovefool,” the slinky insinuating groove of the verses melting into genuine pathos in the melodic chorus. “Please, kiss my neck/ Let’s go for another round/ I hate what this song is about,” Laus sings, the facade of sexual confidence giving way to a desperate need for validation: “Am I attractive? Tell me, am I good enough?” By the time the needling guitars explode into a noisy breakdown, the answer is more than clear. —Peter
The best sad songs are the simplest ones. It’s what made Elliott Smith and Nick Drake the figureheads of heartbreaking folk music — basic chords, uncomplicated lyrics, vocals practically like whispers. On “hurt,” Ada Lea is straightforward with her pain: “Somebody hurt me badly/ Now I’m stuck in a rut/ Now I don’t know my body.” Her delivery is tired and monotonous; the sense of detachment takes up all of the empty space in the song, making every second powerful. It’s three and a half minutes of pure ache, but the sound gradually builds in a way that feels similar to being on the verge of tears and then finally giving in to full-body sobs. —Danielle
Do you remember the day Low released those first couple singles from Double Negative? I was sitting in Stereogum’s old Midtown offices, and when “Dancing And Blood” came on I swore the world was opening up beneath me, that I was about to plummet down a hollowed out skyscraper into a deep abyss swallowing up Manhattan. The haunting shock of that might not have been quite replicable with whatever Low would do next, but “Days Like These” is surprising in its own way.
There are some ways in which “Days Like These” might suggest an extension of Low’s recent stylistic explorations, with how Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s vocals are soon surrounded in eruptions of caustic distortion. “Days Like These” is still corroded around the edges, and its lyrics have a certain mourning to them — just as Double Negative was an apt soundtrack to the bleak Trump years, “Days Like These” feels like a bleary reaction to the head fuck of the last year and a half. “When you think you’ve seen everything/ You’ll find we’re living in days like these,” Sparhawk sings, before concluding you will never feel complete or feel released.
At the same time as all of that, there’s a distinct tonal shift from Double Negative. The way Low structure that melody, “Days Like These” plays like a noise-blasted hymn before drifting off into an outro that’s almost calming, a spectral reverie. “Days Like These” doesn’t promise hope and redemption all that much more than Double Negative did; it’s not the sound of resolution after a tumultuous stretch of years. But it does sound like an awakening, the beginning of coming out on the other side. —Ryan
Can I interest you in a seven-minute post-punk epic called “Disco” by kids who weren’t yet born when many millennials were discovering Marquee Moon? Don’t let Geese’s youth dissuade you; their debut single makes full use of that runtime, turning loose the band’s twin guitars to tangle, unspool, and sometimes join the pounding rhythm section in full-fledged explosions. “I return to the dirt, and I rise again” — so goes the amelodic opening vocal, and it might as well be a mission statement for the way this song resurrects several generations of rhythmically charged, brainy-yet-accessible indie rock and makes it sound fresh again. After an opening blast this compelling, many of us will be keeping a close eye on Geese’s flight pattern going forward. —Chris