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.

After all the pandemic delays, it is, finally, the first weekend of Coachella again. None of us are going this year, and if you’re in the same boat you can watch it for free here. The five best songs of the week are below.

05

On the first song of Wild Pink’s next era, John Ross sings with the same tender gentleness he’s always brought to the band, and the music unfolds with a familiar sense of grandeur. Yet “Q. Degraw” is such a distinct departure from Wild Pink’s A Billion Little Lights material that you can see why Ross has marked it off as something new. This is a song about struggling with health problems — “I’ve been to hell and back again,” Ross sings, from under piles of distortion. Fittingly, it’s darker and heavier than the prior record’s awestruck symphonies, its first few barebones strums quickly subsumed into the sounds of glacial post-rock and heavy shoegaze. There’s still a lot of light in this music, though, the sound of epiphany fighting its way through the darkness. “I know you’ve been to hell, too,” Ross confides near the end. “And I love you so much/ That I don’t want to end up like you.” —Chris

04

There’s a sort of handed-down truism that the London punks of the late ’70s hated every metal band except Mötorhead. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that the punks of today love Mötorhead. Mötorhead probably have a bigger impact on circa-now punk rock than most of those late-’70s London bands. For evidence, listen to how New York shit-rippers Warthog take Mötorhead’s fast-growl style way beyond its logical extreme, using that style to become a herd of elephants stampeding through a sweat-smelling punk-house basement. The end result is something so ugly that it flips all the way around and becomes beautiful — kind of like Lemmy himself. —Tom

03

Some of the most magnetic pop songs are about one-night stands. You’ve got The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games,” Prince’s “Darling Nikki,” Dreamgirls’ “One Night Only,” just to name a few. Well, I think Lorely Rodriguez’s (aka Empress Of) urgent new song “Save Me” deserves a place in the one-night-stand canon. Over a thumping, clattering beat, “Save Me” springs to life with sharp, dramatic strings. All the while, Rodriguez has some lusty lyrics about gettin’ it on: “If you need me baby take me in the back of the room for the night.” Look, sometimes in order to get what you want/need, you have to be direct. Get it, girl. —Rachel

02

Earlier this year, FKA Twigs let loose on CAPRISONGS, letting that magnetic voice run wild on a whole lot of different sounds and opening herself up more to outside collaborators. While “Bliss” appears on Yung Lean’s new mixtape, it wouldn’t have sounded entirely out of place on her own. But I’m assuming the masterful decision to utilize a sample of an ’80s Soviet era synth-punk song rests with Lean and his crew, who have always had an ear for unearthing sonic ephemera that is worth transforming into something new. That track provides the twitching propulsion for “Bliss,” and Lean and Twigs keep up by mumbling out verses about trying to maintain happiness. Twigs’ voice sounds kind of like overhearing an Art Angels track bumping out of a car from the other side of a parking lot; Lean delivers his lines with his trademark hazy melodicism. All that adds up to a song that feels like a breeze but is surprisingly sticky. —James

01

Aethiopes, billy woods’ stunning new album, is a dense and knotty affair — both musically and lyrically. Throughout, woods’ lyrics are dizzying depictions of deep societal ills. And aesthetically, Aethiopes doesn’t give you much of an anchor otherwise. Preservation’s production is fractured, grainy, diffuse stuff, featuring hazy tracks with no beat alongside tracks spluttering with strangled jazz instrumentation. Within it all, “Heavy Water” is almost an outlier. While still right in the album’s bleary headspace, it’s about as close as Aethiopes gets to a banger.

Part of that is thanks to the particular guests woods assembles here, trading verses with Breeze Brewin and El-P. But part of it is definitely the roiling intensity of Preservation’s production, shadowy but propulsive drums underpinning simmering melodies and gnarled bass. It feels like getting caught up in a dangerous current, threatening to pull you under — which, in a sense, also makes it the key song on an album that wrestles with how the sins of history still paralyze new victims today. —Ryan

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