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. You can hear this week’s picks below and on Stereogum’s Favorite New Music Spotify playlist, which is updated weekly.

05

Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson were responsible for two of the best folk albums of 2020 with Saint Cloud and Sorceress, respectively, and it makes sense (and also comes as a pleasant surprise) that they would team up for a whole collaborative project. Plains draw from the music that they grew up on in the South — Dolly Parton and the Chicks and a whole lineage of defiant country. On lead single “Problem With It,” Crutchfield and Williamson apply their honeysuckle drawls to one of the biggest, stickiest hooks that either of them have written: “If it’s all you got, yeah, it’s all you gave/ I got a problem with it/ If you can’t do better than that, babe/ I got a problem with it.” It’s a simple song that just feels right, a natural track that highlights both of their talents. —James Rettig

04

In 1969, the composer Gershon Kingsley wrote “Popcorn,” an infectious instrumental that was created as a way to test out the capabilities of the Moog synthesizer, which was still pretty new back then. Kingsley embraced the instrument and took his songs, a mixture of covers and originals, out on tour as the First Moog Quartet. An offshoot of that group called Hot Butter re-recorded “Popcorn” and made it into an international hit, which landed at #1 in multiple European countries and peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #9 in 1972. Since then, “Popcorn” has served as an inspiration for countless musicians — and one Crazy Frog.

Swedish pop star Tove Lo is the latest to build a song out of the familiar doop-doop beat. “2 Die 4” turns it into a throbbing Eurodance track, and Tove Lo rides the melody through her pleading chorus: “Look alive and come with me/ You’re to die for every day/ Drag you out at midnight/ To dance in the headlights/ And make out in the rain.” It’s great fun, and evidence that there can still be magic wrung out of a well-worn sample. Not that every pop star should try that. —James

03

Mindforce come from the Hudson Valley, not from New York City proper, and yet they’ve established themselves as torch-bearers for the classic New York hardcore sound — the bluster, the swagger, the metallic stomp-riffs, the choppy half-rapped vocals. That’s a satisfying formula, but “Survival Is Vengeance,” the first taste from Mindforce’s much-anticipated sophomore LP New Lords, doesn’t stick to the recipe. Instead, “Survival Is Vengeance” achieves breakneck speed-metal glory. It’s shorter, faster, more chaotic, and heavier on shredding than what we’re used to hearing from Mindforce, but it’ll still kick up the same kind of moshpit madness — a true sign of a band that’s pushing things forward without losing any of its power and fury. —Tom Breihan

02

“You moved just like smoke from wet wood, with dandelion seeds falling all around you just like summer snow.” That’s Wild Pink leader John Ross describing a vision as seen from a bedroom window. Ross wrote much of Wild Pink’s forthcoming album after being diagnosed with cancer. He’s recovering now, but that diagnosis still hangs over “ILYSM,” a song that reflects the urgency of appreciating beauty while you’re still around to do it. Wild Pink mastered bucolic beauty on past records, and you can still hear those gifts at work in the layered flutter of “ILYSM.” But Ross has also charged the track with a sunny synthpop pulse, a beautiful physicality that feels new and maybe even revelatory. —Tom

01

You know you’ve reached A Certain Age when the songs you shake it to are about real estate: who has it, who wants it, who needs it, and the systems in place preventing you from getting it. Regardless of age, though, the housing crisis is a pain point for pretty much everybody who doesn’t currently have a fixed-rate mortgage. The way U.S. Girls skewer the whole ordeal is pretty brilliant, with lyrics taking the piss out of the masses who fled NYC during the pandemic: “Brooklyn’s dead/ And Kingston’s booming/ Ripping out my roots, ah/ What the hell am I doing?/ I moved upstate/ So typically now/ I sent you an image/ You sent me a thumb down.” The pulsing backing beat and kooky synth-work only help amplify the sheer absurdity of living in a society where a minority can afford to isolate themselves from end times, but most will never know the privilege. —Rachel Brodsky

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