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.
Half the Stereogum staff is heading to Chicago for Pitchfork Fest this weekend. Maybe see you there? The five best songs of the week are below.
Illuminati Hotties make fun rippers better than anyone out there right now, but Sarah Tudzin is also ace at making monochromatic bummer rock. “Threatening Each Other re: Capitalism” is in the vein of Kiss Yr Frenemies stunner “Cuff” — there’s nothing so shocking as that track’s jolt of electric guitar, but Tudzin gets a lot of mileage here out of sounding like one elongated sigh. She stretches her syllables out to convey the song’s bleak worldview: “You didn’t know it/ But I think I’m trying to blow this,” she sings in a pinched whine. “I loved you best under fluorescent light/ I’m getting tricked into long-term commitments/ And layway plans financing my life.” While it’s not as zippy as some of the band’s more high-energy work, the song’s atmosphere is just as gripping and potent. —James
When you choose “Greet Death” as your band name, you are making a statement. Greet Death come from Flint, Michigan, and their lyrics have always been as bleak as the name implies. But on a great record like 2019’s New Hell, that bleakness — “I hate my friends ’cause they don’t hate themselves” — was cushioned by the band’s fuzzy, bleary hooks. That doesn’t happen on “I Hate Everything.” Instead, “I Hate Everything” is a lyrical left turn, a strummy and half-acoustic reverie that leaves singer Sam Boyhtari’s voice right out in the open. The words that Boyhtari sings are heavy: “It’s all the same/ I don’t feel anything/ I’m not OK/ I hate everything.” Somehow, though, the music is pretty enough that this unflinching depression-wallow still somehow feels life-affirming. —Tom
There’s a downtrodden grace to “A Word & A Wave,” one that captures the fragile spirit of the lyrics. Ian Devaney says the song is about how the smallest social interactions can tip the scales of your day: the thrill of someone new remembering your name, the alienation that follows when a loose acquaintance passes by without acknowledging you. Appropriately, the music is less aggressive than on most Nation Of Language songs, hopeful yet fearful in an almost childlike way. Devaney’s deep, drowsy vocal floats atop a flickering synth backdrop that gradually intensifies into something spectacular, sounding at times like Majical Cloudz, Magnetic Fields, or (especially) post-reunion LCD Soundsystem. “Aching for something you could save,” he bellows. “A word and a wave.” —Chris
Forget screams and corpsepaint; the Body & BIG|BRAVE are here to make violins and shruti boxes kvlt. Together, the Portland duo and the Montreal trio create a heavy, wild-eyed form of traditional North American folk music, and “Blackest Crow,” the droning eight-minute opener from their forthcoming collaborative LP Leaving None But Small Birds, is basically one huge gathering storm cloud. Over the beautifully ominous din, Robin Wattie spins a tale of long-distance love into something genuinely apocalyptic: “The day will turn to night my love/ The elements will mourn/ If I ever prove false to you/ The seas will wretch and burn.” Cue thunder, and applause. —Peter
“Big Persona” may be barely two and a half minutes long, but everything about it, true to its name, is big. Tyler, The Creator continues in the vein established on this year’s Call Me If You Get Lost — i.e., he’s going for more straight-up rap again, and he’s making bangers. The plinking, creeping beat allows him and Maxo Kream to each get one dialed-in verse in each. But where the song really locks in is in the chorus. Those dramatic horn drones underpin a mantra of big money, big cars, big jewels, big talk, big dreamin’, big business, big livin’, big shit, and a final chant of “That’s whatever n***a!” Tyler and Maxo both sound just like the big personas they claim as they rap over it all, and that chorus quickly becomes impossible to get out of your head. When it’s there, it makes you feel like a big persona too. —Ryan