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. (An expanded playlist of our new music picks is available to members on Spotify and Apple Music, updated throughout the week.)
Taylor Swift - "Mastermind"
Midnights finds Taylor Swift alternating between goofily and groaningly endearing, but she saves the best for last with the sparkling closer “Mastermind.” Like most of Midnights, this song is muted and shadowy and populated by gloopy synths, but these push along Swift’s narrative as she lays out all her plans of carefully-orchestrated kismet. She uses this one to dismantle and explain away her penchant for Easter eggs and overplanning, its narrator plotting out a relationship to make sure she wins in the end. It’s kind of desperate and a little sad, but in an exhilarating way, and it comes to head with one of Midnights’ most affecting lyrics: “No one wanted to play with me as a little kid/ So I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since/ To make them love me and make it seem effortless/ Is this the first time I feel the need to confess?” It’s the best kind of Swift song, one where all the little details add up to something that feels larger than life. —James
Ski Mask The Slump God - "Ooga Booga"
Look, this shit doesn’t have to be complicated. A good song is not rocket science. A good song is a funky-ass sideways-limp beat and a recovering SoundCloud-rap insurgent telling the world, “I’m the boogeyman! Ooga booga!” Ski Mask The Slump God has seen friends die or fall off, and he’s still here. Maybe that’s because he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Maybe it’s because he’s funny: “Ned’s Declassified! Bitch, I’m fried! In the club with a damn survival guide!” Maybe it’s because he can bring the energy on a beat that demands it. Or maybe it’s because Ski Mask The Slump God simply knows the exact right tone of voice to use when you’re telling everyone that you’re the boogeyman. Ooga Booga. —Tom
The Tubs - "Sniveller"
When my colleague Chris DeVille described the Tubs as “every major ’80s ‘college rock’ act boiled down into one formidable unit,” I thought, “OK, I’d better drop what I’m doing and listen to these guys immediately.” (I am nothing if not a complete sucker for ’80s college rock.) Well, Chris’ descriptor is perfectly on-point and fully exemplified on “Sniveller,” a jangly-jerky post-punk jam that sounds like if Ian Curtis suddenly fronted the Talking Heads. I also love the hardcore Britishness of zeroing in on an icky word like “sniveller” (the noun version of “snivelling”), which I bet I first read in a Harry Potter book or three. With airy backing vocals from Lan McArdle, “Sniveller” attains a nice well-rounded sound and firmly stands apart from the talk-singing pack. —Rachel
White Reaper - "Pages"
If this was the new Weezer song, every Weezer fan would be losing their shit. Every Weezer fan should be losing their shit anyway. Joyce Manor stans too. Fountains Of Wayne zealots. Anybody who likes their power-pop crunchy and succinct. Obviously that includes White Reaper supporters as well. On the closing track from their newly announced album, the Kentucky rockers give us something like the Green Album with grit, blasting through a simple retro pop-rock tune with so much power and pizzazz that it feels like they just invented the format. By the time these two and a half minutes are up, they might have tricked you into thinking they did. —Chris
Anxious - "Where You Been"
“Sunsign” seemed like a new high water mark for Anxious, but “Where You Been” is a perfect song — a marvel of composition, production, and performance. With every shift from clean-cut restraint to distortion-bombed release, the Connecticut combo exhibits a mastery of dynamics. With every surprise-attack synth riff or wash of gorgeous backing vocals, they show off their arrangement skills. It’s emo-gone-power-pop with both grace and density, not to mention emotional weight. Grady Allen laments the busyness of his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle — from a frustrated “Not upset but this feeling’s new/ Having no time for no one” to a resigned “I’ll see you soon” — delivered via a gliding, glowing melody as good as anything on Oso Oso’s Basking In The Glow. Anxious already released a whole album of immaculately catchy emo-pop bangers at the start of 2022, and now they’re rounding out the year with a pair of new singles that are even better? Maybe it’s their competition who should be anxious. —Chris