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.

Happy new year! Welcome back to 5 Best. Here are the best songs of the last couple weeks.

05

Ski Mask The Slump God - "Alien Sex"

It’s been five or six years since Ski Mask The Slump God and his South Florida SoundCloud-rap buddies plunged an adrenaline needle into the heart of mainstream rap. Since then, Ski Mask’s peers have died, fallen off, walked onstage at Trump rallies. The wave is over, and yet Ski Mask The Slump God remains, cranking out energetic stomp-rap freakouts with reckless abandon. “Alien Sex” hasn’t yet gotten a proper streaming-service release, and it might never. (A video postscript tells of sample-clearance woes.) But the song itself brings that cartoonish, anarchic prime-Busta Rhymes silliness, with Ski Mask spraying giddy ignorance all over a beat that sounds like car doors slamming: “Pass my crumpets and elixir/ Harry Potter wizard/ Touchin’ money different colors like I’m playing Twister.” I don’t know if his music really sounds like alien sex, but I do know that it’s still a stupid amount of fun. —Tom

04

As one half of Water From Your Eyes, Rachel Brown is often at the center of songs that turn chaotically overwhelming, but on their own as Thanks For Coming, Brown is more laidback and casual. “Hard Drive,” one of the singles from the forthcoming rachel jr., sounds dead-eyed, pinched, and nervous. “Burnt out, I can’t even light a cigarette now/ Cuz I’m scared I’ll lose my voice/ Though I don’t even like to use it/ It’s just getting too expensive,” Brown drawls in its opening lines. The song is deceptively addicting, the kind of thing that breezes by thanks to Brown’s unerring delivery but warrants sinking some serious time into. Its repeated refrain of “I’m a storage device” reflects an emptiness that we all feel sometimes. —James

03

“Everything is simple ’til it’s not.” Molly Hamilton is singing about that phase of a new endeavor when excitement and possibility rule, before reality sets in and complication inevitably ensues. But the central phrase from “Everything Is Simple” could just as easily express something positive — say, the way Widowspeak’s music so fabulously fleshes out a few chords into something vibrant and sophisticated. Upon a basic folk-pop foundation, Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas strike a perfect balance of plaintive beauty and firebrand rock ‘n’ roll. Thomas’ guitar rambles and combusts with the barely contained energy of a dog on a leash, but he reins it in just enough that it continues to be an accent piece rather than overwhelming everything around it. Like Ira Kaplan cutting loose alongside a wistful Georgia Hubley vocal, that guitar becomes that gnawing uncertainty behind Hamilton’s narration, a steady drip of controlled chaos beneath a plaintive veneer. —Chris

02

What is another trip around the sun but a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come, and recommit to positive growth for the future? On that note, Let’s Eat Grandma blasted into 2022 with this synth-spangled banger that happens to be all about their friendship — specifically, it’s the story of a relationship rift followed by a renewal of their bond. Selfishly, I can think of a lot of people who would be devastated if Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth parted ways. The duo are only at the beginning of their journey, both as artists and collaborators, and if “Happy New Year” is any indicator, they truly bring out the best in each other. —Rachel

01

From what we know of the Smile’s live performances, we shouldn’t expect a whole album quite like “You Will Never Work In Television Again.” Last July, Nigel Godrich claimed the forthcoming album is “not a rock record.” But, shit, “You Will Never Work In Television Again” is definitely a rock song. Whether in solo outings or Radiohead albums, it’s been a very long time since we’ve heard Thom Yorke snarl over a rhythm this raw and driving.

Yorke and Jonny Greenwood teaming up with Sons Of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner is already an obviously inspired pairing. Skinner’s percussion tumbles and crashes, with Greenwood’s guitar mechanistically chugging over it. It has the sound of just-barely-bottled chaos, and as much as it’s tempting to imagine how further out the trio might take this sound on subsequent releases, it’s also a thrilling pivot to hear Yorke and Greenwood locking into something like this. The song’s only problem is it’s over too soon — but it leaves you newly excited for whatever the Smile has in store. —Ryan

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