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. Here is this week’s list.
Panda Bear & Sonic Boom - "Go On"
What’s in the beginning of a song? As Panda Bear and Sonic Boom see it: possibility. For their new collaborative album Reset, they mostly focused on that first few seconds of a song — when you don’t know what’s coming next. Until a few days ago, what came after the Troggs’ 1967 track “Give It All To Me” was a solid garage rock track by an English band most certainly best-remembered for a different song. “Go On” is constructed around the anticipation of those first few notes, repeated as the pair of collaborators bulld a lysergic pop song on top of it. It’s sublime how its hook, “Something’s comin’ round the bend/ Somethin’ I wanna know,” is delivered so softly compared to the hard edges of “Go on/ Give it to me” — a phrase lifted from the original track. They make something new out of something old that sounds like something timeless. —James
The Mountain Goats - "Wage Wars Get Rich Die Handsome"
John Darnielle has said that the Mountain Goats’ forthcoming album Bleed Out is inspired by action movies, and one of the great things about action movies — even the absurd ones, even the ethically fucked ones — is that watching them can make you feel like you’re bulletproof. Something similar happens near the end of “Wage Wars Get Rich Die Handsome,” when Darnielle belts out this line: “It’s losers all the way down! You stay undefeated!” Fuck yeah, I do!
For something like 20 years, Darnielle has generally left behind the adenoidal fired-up yelp that characterized the Mountain Goats in their solo-project boom-box days. On “Wage Wars,” that vocal style comes roaring back. Working with Bully’s Alicia Bognanno, the Mountain Goats have found a juicy and hook-happy guitar-pop approach that reminds me of drummer Jon Wurster’s other band Superchunk — or, for that matter, of Bob Mould, Wurster’s other other band. On “Wage Wars,” the Mountain Goats careen down the highway and into the sunset, unencumbered and undefeated. —Tom
Pool Kids - "Arm's Length"
Pool Kids are constantly surprising me in the best way, whether it’s their math-rock take on classic emo or their self-described “try-anything-once” attitude to the recording process. The Florida emo kids’ freewheeling, tongue-in-cheek nature is on display with “Arm’s Length,” which leads with a full-throated shout-along chant and spiraling lyrics like, “I’m in a group chat/ With 21 goddamn people/ I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not/ My phone crashes 37 times a day/ But it’s nice to have friends.” (Truth.) Plus, the brilliant cognitive dissonance of guitarist Christine Goodwyne going skydiving while reciting: “I don’t think I have the energy/ To make it out of my bed today.” Does any visual better represent high-functioning anxiety? None that I can think of at the moment. —Rachel
Young Fathers - "Geronimo"
“Nobody goes anywhere really/ Dressеd up just to go in the dirt.” Maybe, but Young Fathers’ transformation over the past decade sure feels like a genuine journey. “Geronimo,” the group’s first new song in four years, is the latest step in that progression, emphasizing the hip-hop element in their sound yet also sounding like an entryway into some kind of celestial post-rock space. The song shares its name with the Native American leader who was name-checked by American paratroopers when jumping out of planes during World War II, and damn if it doesn’t sound like Young Fathers taking the plunge into an exciting new era. “I’m on the verge of something divine,” they declare at one point. Agreed. —Chris DeVille
Sorry - "Let The Lights On"
“Let The Lights On” is a song about leaving everything you have on the dance floor. Throughout Sorry’s new single, Asha Lorenz spills out her fantasies in a fever: “I love you, I wanna tell you I love you ’cause I love you/ I wanna look back and you look too.” The song is jittery, romantic, fatalistic, resigned. I love that it’s hard to tell whether she’s getting over an old relationship or embracing a new one — maybe it’s both, all jumbled up in the strobes. She repeats: “Got a light, don’t let it go out if you…” If things don’t work out the way you hoped, if something unexpected takes hold. The song absorbs the sweat from the club, spits it back at the listener. It’s a rock song that knows how to dance, that knows the ecstatic, bleary oblivion that comes with letting yourself loose in the dark and finding the light on the other side. —James