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.

This week marked the long-awaited return of Arcade Fire. You can debate “The Lightning I, II” and the other four best songs of the week below.

05

MUNA really understand the art of an opening lyric. On “Number One Fan,” they hit you square in the jaw with “So I heard the bad news/ Nobody likes me and I’m gonna die alone.” And on “Anything But Me,” they’ve totally outdone themselves. “You’re gonna say that I’m on a high horse/ I think that my horse is regular-sized/ Did you ever think maybe/ You’re on a pony/ Going in circles on a carousel ride?” Is there anything more attention-grabbing and/or wildly relatable than that? I also didn’t think they could so quickly level up from last year’s superb, make-out-ready collab with Phoebe Bridgers, but “Anything But Me” piles on attractions like an indie-pop amusement park: punchy percussion, crisp harmonies, lyrics about setting yourself free from a relationship that doesn’t serve — and even a TikTok-friendly line dance. —Rachel

04

With her excellent 2019 debut Athena, Sudan Archives’ Brittney Parks solidified herself as one of our finest purveyors of expansive, future-leaning R&B. On “Home Maker,” her first new track since then, she applies her talents to a song that’s all about the possibilities of having a place to call your own, especially working a job that requires you to be away from home so often. Parks builds a life for herself on “Home Maker,” watering her plants and ignoring her phone as she gets lost putting together her perfect environment. She goads her partner into blissful domesticity: “Don’t you feel at home when you’re with me?” she asks. The song starts off snapping and urgent, settles into a groove, and breaks out into a thumping sweat in its final minute, and it’s a joy all the way through. The drudgery of chores turns into an opportunity to better yourself and self-reflect in Parks’ steady hand. —James

03

For years Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood have occasionally deployed fragile arpeggiated guitar riffs like the one that recurs throughout this song. Never has one felt so much like a soft drizzle drifting across a landscape, nudged onward by Tom Skinner’s gently cascading jazzy drums. Or maybe, given the intense subject matter in view throughout “Skrting On The Surface,” each new cycle is a fresh round of tears. “Dull eyes, trying to pull you through the ice,” Yorke sings. “Being drawn to the ledge/ When we realize that we are broke and nothing mends/ We can drop under the surface.” Is this a surrender to despair or a more optimistic sort of liberating epiphany? I don’t know, but when that horn section comes in, it evokes a whole range of powerful feelings between those poles. —Chris

02

Look, I don’t even have that much ill will towards Everything Now. The ratio of clunkers to bangers skews in the wrong direction relative to other Arcade Fire albums, but it’s still got bangers — if anything, its parallel to U2’s Pop for me is that both are albums where the artists didn’t go far enough in the weird directions. That being said, the album definitely set Arcade Fire up for a comeback, and they have to be at least somewhat aware of this. So, sure, maybe “The Lightning I, II” could hit you as the group pandering, very intentionally recapturing old glories. Whatever the case, they did it. When part two kicks in on this thing, in comes the same anthemic endorphin rush this band has wielded so successfully in the past. For the first time in three years, we’re going to have real festival seasons again, and you can already imagine “Lightning” booming out over those fields. They returned just in time. —Ryan

01

James Goodson, the guy who records as Dazy, once told me that he was going for a mid-’90s major-label refugee sound when he started recording those perfect, gleaming little lo-fi power-pop bangers on his own. Since starting the project in 2020, Goodson now has dozens of Dazy songs, and they’re all great, but he’s never nailed that sound quite so hard. On “Pressure Cooker,” Goodson joins forces with LA-based post-hardcore rippers Militarie Gun. Together, they’ve made a ridiculously catchy fuzzed-up banger, a song that rocks harder than most music that tries to actually rock hard. All the little touches on “Pressure Cooker” — the background chatter on the intro, the simian grunts just before the guitar solo, the bit in the video where everyone stands around uncomfortably while waiting for the drum track to end — are perfect. But “Pressure Cooker” isn’t about the little details. It’s about the big riff, the slippery groove, the monster chorus. It’s about the big picture. It wants to be your favorite song. Give in. —Tom

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