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 Father John Misty Day to all who celebrate. The five best songs of the week are below.

05

Horsegirl have billed “World Of Pots And Pans” as the “closest thing” to a love song they’ve yet written. Most of Horsegirl’s best songs have a certain churn to them, disaffected vocals carried on waves of guitar distortion. In “World Of Pots And Pans,” that same movement now feels like a swoon. From the song’s early murmurs to the return of “Emma was my brand new friend” over a slightly intensified beat towards the song’s conclusion, “World Of Pots And Pans” approximates a certain kind of young infatuation — tentative, a little queasy, then swept up. —Ryan

04

Duster unceremoniously released a whole new album last week, on the Thursday evening right before April Fool’s Day. It’s the second one the cult slowcore band has put out since they reunited back in 2018, an incredible, immersive document probably best experienced all in one go. So we might as well highlight the very beginning: “New Directions” opens Together with the group’s trademark magnetism, a grand nodding swirl of sickly guitar tones and enticingly purred out lyrics. “I forgot the fuck it days and fuck it nights/ Rays of instinct drift to doom” go the opening lines. “I’ve lost hold and become old and turned some dust to gold/ And when you need it, I’ll make a scene.” No one’s actually accusing Duster of ramping up the drama — it’s not unsurprising that the San Jose band decided to release their fourth studio album with as little fanfare as possible, knowing that it’ll be there when you need it. —James

03

There is so much authority in those horns. It almost sounds like Schoolboy Q has been sitting on those horns for 10 years, finally waiting for the moment when it made sense to rip them to pieces. Q came up with TDE when TDE was still an insurgent outsider movement, and he watched them take over and then, more or less, fall apart. The big stars on Top Dawg Entertainment — Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Q himself — haven’t released a new album in years. And yet “Soccer Dad” finds Q triumphantly crowing about all the adversity that he’s survived and snarling down on younger rappers like a vengeful ancestor. On that thundering Afrobeat-influenced beat, Q sounds like he’s a hundred feet tall. If you’ve been through what he’s been through, it’ll take a lot more than intra-label drama to bring you down. —Tom

02

SoCal emo-punks Joyce Manor are in their mid-30s now, but the aggro heart-in-hand first single from their sixth studio album would indicate that they’re still those Weezer-worshiping youths who fall down Warped Tour rabbit holes on YouTube (as Ian Cohen once put it). With Motion City Soundtrack’s Tony Thaxton on drums, “Gotta Let It Go” is slightly more relaxed and mid-tempo than your typical ripping Joyce Manor fare. At barely two minutes, the band gets their self-deprecating point across over a wall of distortion and snare-breaking drums. Also, if you haven’t seen the accompanying music video yet, I strongly recommend viewing — I’m getting real Jimmy Eat World circa “The Middle” and Weezer circa “Buddy Holly” vibes. Joyce Manor might be loosening their grip on some things, but punk and alt-rock nostalgia doesn’t appear to be one of them. —Rachel

01

If I’m reading it right, the grand premise of Chloë And The Next 20th Century is that history is repeating all of its worst patterns, we’re living through an extension of the last hundred years rather than a new era, and the End Times may be looming: “And now things keep getting worse while staying so eerily the same.” But the album itself ends with a distinct break from the mid-20th century stylings that comprise most of its tracklist.

“The Next 20th Century” stands out from the preceding sequence of softly immaculate pop, jazz, and country throwbacks. Josh Tillman’s understated crooning and an elegant string section remain, yet the tone is more ominous — apocalyptic, even — recalling late-career Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave and, when those violins are soaring, Radiohead when Jonny Greenwood’s in his bag. References to dark corners of history, faded celebrity, and even Jesus Christ are strewn throughout as Tillman sketches out a picture of society in collapse, grasping at some semblance of justice and significance as a dark shadow overtakes the land.

Over a droning pulse both gorgeous and vaguely terrifying, he wonders how so much human triumph and tenderness could have really led us here: “There’s no doubting the devotion my ancestors had for yours/ Now we’ve got all the love to pay for like a thousand different wars.” In the middle, out of nowhere, a searing guitar solo erupts just as the piano stabs start to resemble bombs going off — the most chaotic and unhinged moment on the most tightly controlled Father John Misty album to date. Ultimately Tillman surveys the bleak state of affairs and offers a trade: “I don’t know ’bout you/ But I’ll take the love songs/ And give you the future in exchange.” At the end of the world, retromania is all we’ll have left. —Chris

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