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.
Pour one out for Charlie Watts this weekend. The five best songs of the week are below.
For years now, Dan Snaith has struck a balance between the release of dance music and heavy, murky human emotions. The last Caribou album, Suddenly, was full of dense, catchy songs that were laden with grief and trauma thematically. But every now and then, he does let euphoria just run wild in the music of Caribou. That’s what “You Can Do It” is. Built on a simple, endlessly repeated evocation of the title, the song builds and crests and warps but never strays from the optimistic rush of its opening moments. After a breakdown, it cascades back into a climax that just keeps getting more and more layered. The song is all release — and considering Snaith put it out as a standalone ahead of Caribou’s upcoming tour, it’s right on time. —Ryan
On last year’s Renegade Breakdown, the debut album from Marie Davidson’s new project L’Œil Nu, the Montreal musician left club music behind to experiment in the wide-open playground of classic pop and rock. Although they shared a fondness for kitsch and a self-aware oddness, no two tracks on the record sounded the same. “Persona,” Marie Davidson & L’Œil Nu’s first release since then, features a similar grab-bag approach, offering three different flavors of the same song. The original shoegaze version is arguably best, pairing Davidson’s dreamy French vocals with watery synth melodies and some deeply satisfying fuzzed-out guitar. As an interrogation of Carl Jung’s concept of the persona, the adaptive mask we wear to project a specific personality to others in different social settings, it raises the question of who Davidson’s authentic self actually is. But when her songs are this good, does it really matter? —Peter
The vibes are immaculate on Untourable Album, the latest from the Montreal band Men I Trust, and no more so than on its penultimate track, “Shoulders,” a loungey slither in which Emmanuelle Proulx’s voice curls around every word as rain patters away in the background. Its eeriness wouldn’t sound out of place in a little town called Twin Peaks and you get the sense that the band are aware of that Lynchian undercurrent when you hone in on what Prolux is singing: “I don’t know how you’ve been/ I don’t know who she is/ But I can tell she’s got delicate hands.” It’s creepy and beautiful, a slow-turning music box portending that something’s not quite right. —James
“Wid It” is wild, idnit? The rubber-ball energy in Gotcha Bxtch’s production makes London drill feel more like party music than the menacing sounds out of Chicago and Brooklyn, and our hosts for this rager could not be more charismatic. With an unabashed confidence that goes all the way past douchebag status and back around to likable again — the kind that makes me want to see him cast opposite Jason Statham in an action comedy immediately — the perpetually cheesing white boy ArrDee kicks things off, informing us that he has henchman to do his dirty work for him and that he’s a magnet for women: “Didn’t even know what her name is/ Got more followers than Imjustbait did.” Then comes Tion Wayne, effortlessly in command, announcing that “I got white girls coming to my show even though their dad is a racist.” He raps with grounded authority, dropping head-spinning bars with casual flair, breaking the beat like a cowboy breaks a wild pony. Wayne is already a star in the UK, and he’s far too good at this to be contained by geographical borders. Do yourself a favor and get wid it now. —Chris
The narratives are already forming. Kacey Musgraves, adventurous star who came up through a Nashville country system where she never felt fully at home, wins an Album Of The Year Grammy, gets divorced, and then makes a breakup album that flirts with the idea of pop stardom. Musgraves herself has had an active hand in shaping those narratives, and those narratives have everything to do with “star-crossed,” the first single and title track of her forthcoming LP. The lyrics lay it out in plain language: “I signed the papers yesterday/ You came and took your things away.” And Musgraves knows that even the gentlest non-country instrumentation is going to come off like a thrown gauntlet, a post-Taylor Swift crossover move. She’s fine with it. She steers into it.
With any star at any level, the narrative feeds into the music itself. It’s not just part of the perception; it’s part of the creation. That’s fine. That’s part of the bargain. But with “star-crossed,” the narrative isn’t the whole story. Because “star-crossed” isn’t just pop-star positioning; it’s also a shatteringly lovely song. Musgraves’ voice is a sunbeam-ray sigh, and it adapts to squiggly keyboards and muted disco thumps just as naturally as it ever fit pedal steel. Musgraves sets the scene for her new album, and she makes sure to clarify that the heartbreak is nobody’s fault. Instead, she turns sadness into a reverie, letting her voice float on a cloud of Spanish guitar and blissed-out Auto-Tune. She sounds free. She’s always sounded free. —Tom