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). We’ve kicked off a partnership with TIDAL, the global music streaming service that offers the highest sound quality and Fan-Centered Royalties. You’ll find our new Favorite New Music playlist updated weekly here on TIDAL.
TIDAL’s HiFi tiers offer over 80M+ songs and 350k+ videos in HD, an ad-free experience, and offline listening with unlimited skips. The HiFi Plus plan includes Innovative Audio Formats up to 9216 kbps (Master Quality audio, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, HiFi) and Fan-Centered Royalties where the artists you stream get paid based on your streaming habits.
Hatchie’s new album Giving The World Away was positioned as a work that arose from “the strange time in young adulthood where you begin to finally be able to see yourself clearly.” On “The Rhythm,” Harriette Pilbeam sings about how it took her some time to find that titular groove. But now that she has, the results are stunning. Hatchie’s music has always pulled from various strains of ’90s music — shoegaze, mainstream pop, hints of electronica. That tendency is in overdrive in “The Rhythm.” It’s a heaving piece of music, dream-pop punctuated by rave pianos. In its blearier moments, it recalls the searching and listless phases before you really find yourself. But in the end, the song instead conjures the euphoria that hits when you get there. —Ryan
A lot of great hardcore music is about strength, resilience, and overcoming demons — sometimes with the help of friends, sometimes through some untapped internal reserve of resilience. “Life Unknown” is different. On “Life Unknown,” Praise, the Baltimore band whose members are all hardcore veterans with long resumes, offer up an acknowledgment of just how hard it can be to get through bad moments. The tone isn’t defiant. It’s empathetic, maybe even consoling. It’s your friend telling you that they’ve been through the shit, too, and that it’s hard. They share that message of solidarity with big, heartfelt riffs and soaring harmonies and shifting dynamics and one surprisingly blazing guitar solo, and it all amounts to something warm and welcoming and oddly moving. —Tom
The It’s Almost Dry rollout, and maybe specifically the McDonald’s diss track he released as an Arby’s ad, marked my breaking point regarding Pusha T’s shtick. Or so I thought. It just got to a point where I’d hear him spinning yarns about the coke game with clever worldplay and a wide-eyed snarl and my reaction was more ugh than yuugh. It’s not that I wanted him to mature into new subject matter or something; the character just felt played-out to me. And then I pressed play on the album and “Brambleton” came on.
Over spookily woozy keyboard-driven production by the man who has historically laced him with all his best beats, Pusha goes in on Anthony “Geezy” Gonzales, the former Clipse manager who claimed — in a controversial interview with VladTV — that the majority of Clipse’s drug stories are pulled from his own life and that he is the target of Pusha’s 2018 track “S.N.I.T.C.H.” Some of Pusha’s lines are wistful and seasoned with betrayal: “Shit, we really used to roll around/ Coppin’ quarter pounds, from the border towns.” Others are plainly disgusted: “Had a million answers, didn’t have a clue/ Why Michael kissed Fredo in Godfather II.” He doesn’t hit Geezy with the ferocity once reserved for Drake, but his introspection is as complex as Pharrell’s booming, richly melodic, loosely futuristic beat. I guess there are still more layers to be peeled from the Pusha T persona after all. —Chris
When Megan Thee Stallion introduced her new song “Plan B” into the world at Coachella, she called it “very motherfucking personal” and dedicated it “to whom it may the fuck concern.” Even if “Plan B” is directed toward a specific person in the Houston rapper’s life, it serves as a blissfully diss-heavy form letter to any shitty ex, be it a broken relationship, situationship, or just a plain ol’ hookup. Over a sparse, funk-leaning beat (“Plan B” samples Jodeci, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah’s 1995 track “Freek’n You”), Megan’s rhymes are so sharp and the words so cutting, they practically slice her tongue in half like a snake. In addition to squeezing poetry from morning-after pills (come at her, FOX News pundits), “Plan B” is so much more than just a scorching array of sick burns. Looped in is a call to arms: “Ladies, love yourself,” Megan instructs, reminding us to be empowered in our dating choices: “Dick don’t run me, I run dick.” Excuse me while I go and needlepoint that into a pillow. —Rachel
We already knew that a lot of major life experiences influenced Angel Olsen’s new album Big Time: love, loss, embracing her identity. They are, as she puts it, “irreversible change.” The album’s title track in particular blends these experiences. It both reflects on the loss of her mother — weeks before recording, when the song was written — and falling in love with a new partner. “I love you big time” was what that partner said, but the way Olsen twists the words, it’s also meditating on the size and weight of the years and how it only increases the more you age. Like its predecessor “All The Good Times,” it dispenses with the gothic drama of All Mirrors and instead settles into something more weathered and human. “Big Time” is Angel Olsen doing a classic country ballad, which obviously sounds incredible with her voice. But what’s more powerful is how, once more, she’s harnessing something timeless and elemental artistically, in order to process her own version of seismic life reckonings we all experience. —Ryan