The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

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.

Welcome back to 5 Best, for the calm before the storm between Thanksgiving and end-of-year season. The five best songs of the last two weeks are below.

05

There’s no larger concept to “Black Illuminati,” no point to prove. There’s just two absurdly gifted rap monsters running wild. The beat is muted and moody, and its eerie atmosphere is just a canvas. Upon that canvas, Gibbs and Jada go to work, trading off ice-blooded crime-life flexes. Gibbs: “Delta 88 with a cool knot in my tube socks/ Now I push the goons through the boondocks in a Countach.” Kiss: “Little extra in the beginning to get him coppin’/ He ain’t worried ’cause if they get him, I get him Cochran.” Gibbs hasn’t been in the business anywhere near as long as Jadakiss, but with a track like this, he proves, once again, that he’s on an elite level that very few rappers will ever reach. —Tom

04

Molly Nilsson’s particular brand of synth-pop has always had a washed-out quality to it, some mixture of dreamlike haze and insular homemade charm. Within that, she can sound deadpan and cool, but also hasn’t shied away from emotional swells from time to time. That’s where “Pompeii” exists. Built over a persistent beat, percussive piano breaks, and hissing synths that make you feel like you’re gradually ascending into the air, Nilsson’s delivery has her customary gauzy distance — but at the same time, she’s tracing a love in comparison to the explosion, disaster, and permanence of Pompeii. And even if nothing in Nilsson’s music qualifies as volcanic, exactly, “Pompeii” crests into one of the most vivid bursts of her career. It’s a song about great overwhelming forces, and now Nilsson’s music can play that role too. —Ryan

03

The percussive house-music piano chords. The handclaps. The insistently thumping beat. Kaytranada is a master craftsman, and every part of the title track to his new EP Intimidated is engineered to get your head nodding and your feet moving. Picking the right collaborators is another of the producer’s many skills, and H.E.R. delivers a standout performance with enough conviction to turn any skeptic into a Grammy voter, her feather-soft voice floating all around the track’s mechanistic precision. “Don’t overthink when you could be lovin’ me,” she sings. Don’t overthink it when you could be loving it. —Peter

02

Has anyone else writing about this band made a “The spice must flow!” reference yet? Not going to Google it to find out. In the context of Ross Farrar and friends, letting Spice flow means allowing your deepest, darkest emotions to come rushing out in the form of achingly pretty indie rock — propulsive music with a sparkling veneer with a gritty undercurrent. In its first half, “Everyone Gets In” could be an outtake from the last Strokes album, a slow-rolling epic punctuated by pained melodic howls. Then it achieves liftoff and becomes even prettier and more epic, soaring into the horizon and dissolving into effervescent fuzz. It’s quite the joyous ending for a track that begins, “For years I wanted my heart to stop.” —Chris

01

If my generation — the elder millennial one — was encouraged to fake it till we made it, young adults a few years behind seem way more OK with admitting that they don’t know anything about anything. Instead of an anxious admission, it’s more of a celebration. “Too Late Now,” the latest gem from Wet Leg, AKA the Isle Of Wight’s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, comes off like their very own version of Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge,” where the Berkeley ska-punks famously riffed, “All I know is that I don’t know nothing.”

Over chiming synth and a three-chord guitar melody, Teasdale and Chambers face off against the rising tide of adulthood, contrasting what they thought they’d get versus what life is actually like. And as always, they do it with wry humor. “I’m not sure if this is the kinda life that I saw myself living/ I don’t need no dating app to tell me if I look like crap/ To tell me if I’m thin or fat, to tell me should I shave my rat.” The solution? Try not to take this life thing so seriously: “I don’t need no radio, no MTV, no BBC/ I just need a bubble bath to set me on a higher path.” —Rachel

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