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.
It’s the last official Friday of summer, and the fall release schedule is heating up. Consider these five tracks a sampler from the many enticing albums set to drop before year’s end.
Fivio Foreign - "Story Time"
“Let me tell a little sad story about this young boy, grew up, no pops in the crib,” Fivio Foreign begins. “That n***a momma workin’ so she couldn’t really show him no love when he was a kid/ He didn’t even mean to do that incident/ He was only 18 when he got caught that bid.” From there the Brooklyn drill rising star steps into unfolds a familiar narrative with artful ferocity. The words come fast and furious in Fivio’s tale of a kid caught up in the cycle of gang life and incarceration, simple details and metaphors coalescing into a tragic portrait. The beat, by a team led by AyoAA, ripples and throbs with a menace that typifies this subgenre. What Fivio does with it is proof of that there’s room for a lot of different lyrical approaches within that sound — and that Fivio is fully deserving of the spotlight he currently enjoys as arguably Brooklyn drill’s most prominent living ambassador. —Chris
A Makthaverskan song is like comfort food at this point. You know just about what you’re going to get when you play a new track from the Swedish dream-rockers, but it never seems to get old. “This Time” is an impeccable slice of heaven, jangly Alvvays-esque verses which build to a soaring chorus delivered with confidence by the band’s Maja Milner: “This time I said things/ That I shouldn’t have said/ This time,” she sings, her voice tinged with regret but also a determination to keep moving forward, something the rest of the band helps her do with their commanding presence. —James
PJ Harvey was never a punk, but her 1993 sophomore LP Rid Of Me was the closest thing she ever made to a punk album. Working with Steve Albini, Harvey tapped into the scraped-raw sensibilities of ’90s noise rock and supercharged her own guttural goth-blues. The members of Rid Of Me, the Philadelphia band presumably named after the Harvey album, are punks; they come from Philly bands like Soul Glo, Fight Amp, and Low Dose. On “Myself,” though, they tap into the same intense, feverish swagger as PJ Harvey did 28 years ago. “Myself” is raw and clangorous and operatic, and bandleader Itarya Rosenberg has the kind of gale-force howl that might make you reach for a PJ Harvey comparison even if she didn’t spell it out for you. —Tom
Plenty of bands borrow sounds from the same ’80s influences that the War On Drugs look to for inspiration, but there aren’t a whole lot of new bands making genuinely classic classic rock. The War On Drugs, whose music is undoubtedly indebted to the past but always somehow sounds like the future, might be the only contemporary act who can actually recreate that feeling of hearing a true stadium-ready heartland rock anthem for the very first time. If “Living Proof” was TWOD at their quietest and most contemplative, then “I Don’t Live Here Any More” is the band at their catchiest and most immediate. Every element — from the synths to the crisply punchy drums to Lucius’ soaring backing vocals to the iconic beer commercial lead guitar — is perfectly calibrated to achieve liftoff. Songs like this are why the War On Drugs are the War On Drugs. —Peter
Where to go after Lush? Lindsey Jordan was responsible for such a fully-realized introduction that it would be understandable if there were some hesitation as to what Snail Mail’s next direction should be. But “Valentine” pushes past all those expectations, incorporating the intricate guitar work and impeccable vibes of her debut and notches the energy up to 11 with an adrenaline-rush of a hook where Jordan’s voice sounds more powerful than ever.
The verses are all synthy zone-outs, as Jordan mewls about the difficulties of being in the public eye: “Let’s go be alone/ Where no one can see us, honey/ Careful in that room/ Those parasitic cameras, don’t they stop to stare at you?” And that chorus is undeniable — part pop-punk, part bread ‘n’ butter indie rock, all stumbling glory: “Why’d you wanna erase me?/ Darling, valentine/ You’ll always know where to find me/ When you change your mind.” It’s as much a declaration of steadfast devotion as a reminder that Snail Mail ain’t going nowhere. —James