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 to end-of-year season. We’ve already talked about the year’s best albums (and EPs) and highlights from a few specific genres, and we still have plenty more 2021 recaps coming next week. For now, here are the five best songs of the week.

05

“Mercedes” seems to take place after dark. The track transplants Brent Faiyaz’s agile, endlessly moody R&B into a glitchy club beat, inhabiting a space in between contemplation and exhilarating release without ever fully giving itself over to either impulse. It is, after all, a song about the push and pull between hesitation and desire: “You don’t really wanna be my baby,” he sings up front. “You know it’s more than just drivin’ Mercedes.” Faiyaz continues to be one of the most impressive singers in his genre, fluttery but commanding, with a taste for production that feels uniquely handcrafted. Each new track this year has added a new wrinkle to his sound, and with “Mercedes” he proves fully capable of doing bangers his own way. —Chris

04

On “Faultline,” Harmony Tividad keeps taking responsibility for the things she cannot help: “I know there’s no excuse for oxygen,” “All the stars apologize for night.” There’s a tension between the song’s sighing backdrop and what Tividad is singing about. She holds her body as stiff as a butcher’s knife, stuck in one place as she finds herself caught between the ending and beginning of something. “I wanted everything so much it grows,” she admits, like she’s saying sorry for having any desires at all. “Until I can’t manage this appetite/ I love you so traumatically that I–,” she sings, her words hanging into the glittery air. Girlpool render this indecision as a shimmering music box, spinning round and round and there’s no end in sight. It’s one of the band’s loveliest-sounding songs, but it’s also one of their saddest. It’s hard to stand on your own two feet when the ground keeps shaking. —James

03

Dance tracks from indie acts tend to be theoretical at best. The hang-ups are too heavy, and the simple addition of a four-four beat is never enough to make the club go up. But “L.O.V.E.” moves. That elastic bassline! Those echoed-out horns! That processed-to-death guitar! Raphaelle Standell-Preston isn’t exactly a passionate house wailer, but she’s not too polite to let out a “whoo!” When Standell-Preston sings that she’s into you, you feel it. There’s a sense of joyous play at work on “L.O.V.E.” It’s the kind of song that, in the right situation, can get you out of your head and into your body. Most likely, that’s where you need to be. —Tom

02

Beach House have always had a flair for the swirling and cinematic, but the super dreamy “New Romance” takes their trademark vibe to a new level. One of four new songs in the second chapter of new album Once Twice Melody, “New Romance” is a twinkling, synth-washed offering, driven forward by thudding “In The Air Tonight” percussion. Thematically, the lyrics describe a new love’s heady rush, and all of the ups and downs therein (“Last night I’m messing up/ Now I feel like dressing up”). In those moments, it’s hard to see clearly through lust-fogged glasses. The blurry refrain sums it up perfectly: “I-L-Y-S-F-M.” —Rachel

01

Mach-Hommy already released one of the best albums of the year with his Griselda LP Pray For Haiti. Balens Cho, which translates to Hot Candles in Haitian Creole, feels more intimate and insular than Pray For Haiti, but also lusher and softer. “Separation Of The Sheep And The Goats,” named for one of Jesus’ parables, is a highlight, with a heavenly Nicholas Craven beat that hits like a cloud, a melodically drawled hook, and some absolutely locked-in verses. “Not bad for some gibberish in monotone raps,” as Mach-Hommy himself puts it. Not bad at all. —Peter

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