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.
Did the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” live up to the mythology? The five best songs of the week are below.
On 2019’s great The Practice Of Love, Jenny Hval showed us what could happen if she married her heavily conceptual music with ever-so-slightly poppier structures. Earlier this year, Lost Girls — her duo with Håvard Volden — released the also great Menneskekollektivet, which showed us what could happen when Hval married that same heavy, heady lyricism with throbbing, zone-out dance music. Bit by bit, Hval’s been getting more direct musically, without completely sanding off the idiosyncrasies of her music. And yet, her new song “Jupiter” is still something unlike we’ve ever heard from her before. This is the straight up prettiest song Hval’s ever released. Easy, tumbling grooves and welcoming synths and then, boom, Hval goes all-in on a true, soaring chorus before collapsing into a long ambient outro. All of it is enough to make you feel like you could take off and fly to Jupiter yourself. —Ryan
In Director X’s video for “La Fama,” Rosalía, wearing a dress that somehow looks more scandalous than it would if she were actually naked, performs on a nightclub stage while Abel Tesfaye looks on from the crowd. The two have some kind of mysterious connection, and when Tesfaye stepped up on the stage near the end of the clip, I thought the two might break into an elaborate synchronized dance together. No. Instead, Rosalía stabs Tesfaye in the stomach. To his credit, he continues to sing while bleeding out.
“La Fama” is a sparkling flamenco-spiked dance-pop song about the perils of fame, a hazard that transcends language. It brings the Weeknd fully into Rosalía’s soundworld. Tesfaye sings in tender, haunted Spanish, and to my untrained ears, he makes the language work for him. But “La Fama” is Rosalía operating within her own global level, her voice flowing effortlessly over a track whose producers come from Spain (El Guincho), Puerto Rico (Tainy), and Colombia (Sky Rompiendo). Maybe fame is a hungry beast, but Rosalía sounds like she can handle it. —Tom
Georgia Maq possesses one of the most engaging voices in contemporary indie rock, and she’s as emotive as ever on “Blue.” I love the way her accent swallows up every syllable until the chorus, when she stretches out “bluuuuue” as her bandmates fire off harmonies in the background. Camp Cope’s music has always been tender, but “Blue” is a whole different type of soft — there are shades of early-’00s radio-rock (think Michelle Branch) and there’s also a twinge of old-school country in there as well. The Australian trio has proven that they can write impassioned scorchers, and I’m sure there are more of those to come, but “Blue” is luxuriant in a way that’s new for the band, while still staying true to what they’ve been doing all along. —James
It’s called “stabilise,” yet in three and a half minutes it never settles down. An itchy nervous tension courses through the lead single from Nilüfer Yanya’s PAINLESS — the effect of guitar, bass, and drums moving at the pace of modern life until they coalesce into an anxious blur. Yanya says “stabilise” is “set in depths of reality in everyday life where we are the only ones truly capable of salvaging or losing ourselves,” and it definitely evokes the sensation of trying to find your way forward through so much noise and distraction. Its frenetic approach yields some of the most gorgeous, technically proficient indie rock in recent memory, a song that buzzes along like early Beach Fossils or Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes” on speed. It’s even cooler when you comprehend the thematic resonance of that controlled jitter: “We had to move fast/ Don’t you slow me down,” Yanya sings. “I’m going nowhere.” —Chris
Beach House released four new songs this week. All of them are amazing. All of them have their proponents. But “Superstar,” while perhaps not the most novel of the bunch, is the one that gave me the spine-chilling sensation of listening to a bona fide Beach House classic for the first time. From the opening synth to the hypnotic “ah ah ah ah” vocals to the soaring strings, every perfectly layered element adds up to some magical gestalt that feels like the natural apex of Beach House’s whole dream-world aesthetic. It’s the kind of song that you just want to live in forever, stretching its too-short six minutes out into infinity. “Something good/ Never meant to last,” Victoria Legrand sings. She’s talking about a failed relationship, comparing it to a shooting star trailing across the sky, but she might as well be talking about the song itself. Fortunately, that’s what the repeat button is for. —Peter