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 5 Best of January, and the release schedule is about to get nuts. Fittingly, the quiet first month of the year has ended with a lot of great songs this week. Here are the five best of them.
There are few bands out there right now that put out better bread ‘n’ butter rock ‘n’ roll than Wednesday and, by extension, MJ Lenderman. “Hangover Game,” the lead single from his next album Boat Songs, is simple and concise and perfect in its way, the sort of effortless and petulant song that was coming out of Boston en masse in the mid-’10s, or the kind of track that Robert Pollard is still churning out from Ohio today. This one in particular is about something I don’t care about (sports) but to turn this weed-brain Michael Jordan conspiracy theory into a song I care about a whole lot is an accomplishment. —James
When I was a kid, I used to stare out the window waiting for the mail truck to drive by so I could grab my midterm report card before my parents could see how bad my grades were. I, uh, could not do that in the year 2022, since, like everything else, stuff like that tends to arrive via email, or worse, over text. The ever-changing tides of media is what Toro y Moi aka Chaz Bear grapples with on the funky, bass-driven ditty “Postman,” where he addresses (heh) the titular character in the same rhythmic style as ’50s soda shop staple “Mr. Sandman.” Does he mean to suggest that letters and other analog artifacts are today’s mid-century relics? Those free COVID tests are definitely in good hands, then, yeah. —Rachel
So far we’ve heard the Smile in two very different modes. The group’s debut single, “You Will Never Work In Television Again,” was a surprisingly scabrous piece of rock music — more snarling than anything Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood have been involved with in years. But underneath it was still a roiling, krautrock-tinged rhythm, perhaps pointing to what the project’s overall aesthetic may be. “The Smoke” is a completely different mood. It’s no less groove-oriented, with a subtly funky interplay between Yorke, Greenwood, and drummer Tom Skinner, but everything else about it is true to its vaporous name. Yorke is back in ghostly vocals mode, occasionally ensconced in burnt, hazy horn arrangements. Compared to “You Will Never Work In Television Again,” “The Smoke” is almost a mirage — but even that flickering image is enough to fill in one more corner of a portrait, an increasingly clear impression that we’re in for something exciting from the Smile. —Ryan
Denzel Curry can do party-starting rap bangers. He can do thoughtful old-school hip-hop. Hell, he can even do a pretty decent Zack de la Rocha. And if he really wants to, he can do it all on the same track. “Walkin” starts out in classic boom-bap mode — “Me against the world, it’s me, myself and I, like De La/ Got in touch with my soul,” Denzel raps, giving an explicit nod to one of his inspirations — before he switches up the flow, really going off as trap hi-hats come in and the beat from producer Kal Banx morphs into something harder but just as smooth. Dude’s got range, and he always hits the mark. —Peter
Lyrically, “Champion” evolves from “I’m an ocean” to “We’re all the ocean.” The music moves in synchronicity with that sentiment, building upon a relatively placid groove into something gargantuan without really making a show of it. (I imagine in concert it’s going to hit like a tidal wave, though.) As the first new Warpaint song in six years and the lead single from what has become a comeback album by virtue of their absence, it’s a masterful reintroduction. “Champion” is about striving for excellence in all you do, and the track’s balance of strength and restraint lives up to such lofty ideals. Think of it as the sound of this band reemerging, refreshed and empowered. —Chris