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.)
Thanks For Coming - "Plagiarizer"
Indiepop, baby! As Thanks For Coming, Rachel Brown (also of Water From Your Eyes) has done a few different kinds of scrappy lo-fi rock. They prove themselves extremely adept at heartrending DIY twee on “Plagiarizer,” an unreleased track slipped into the new comp You Haven’t Missed Much. “I’ve been using you like you’ve been using me/ Forgive me for saying all the stupid things,” the sing, conjuring a vibe that’s 2/3 K Records, 1/3 Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm.” Musically it’s nothing more than Brown’s trembling yet commanding vocals set against a fervently strummed guitar, growing increasingly bleary and intense as they descend further into their cauldron of emotions. Every element is essential, and not a second is wasted — ironic for a song about feeling like a mess, squandering your potential, and feeling like you have to hustle just to keep it together. —Chris
FAIM - "Silver Spoon"
The Denver hardcore band FAIM has always brought transcendent, venomous rage, and their new ripper “Silver Spoon,” a roar of frustration directed at all the born-rich motherfuckers who ruin the world for everyone else, is no exception. But “Silver Spoon” also brings something new out of FAIM. The band recorded the track with Jack Shirley, the prolific producer best known for his work with Deafheaven. Shirley’s involvement must have something to do with the sound of “Silver Spoon,” which is tremendous. “Silver Spoon” has a sense of grandeur that’s rare in hardcore — a guitar tone as majestic and brutal as a storm-tossed sea. It helps FAIM sound huge, like their anger has given them enough power to break out of any oppressive structure that the world might try to put on them. —Tom
Decisive Pink - "Haffmilch Holiday"
Sit back, get comfortable, take a sip. “Haffmilch Holiday,” the debut single from Angel Deradoorian and Kate NV’s collaborative project Decisive Pink, rises like froth, comforting and warm. The track was inspired by what sounds like a dreamy ritual carved out during the writing process for their upcoming album: walking to a cafe in Köln and ordering a haffmilch cappuccino. “I just want silence/ I just want to play/ Dancing outside on the grass/ My own holiday,” the pair intone amid strands of synth and floating vapor. But stick around for when the caffeinated anxiety hits. The song transforms into eerie mutations on a once pleasant sound, chatter and a pulsing uneasiness giving way to an ending that feels entirely, satisfyingly unresolved. —James
Little Simz - "No Merci"
Of the many highlights on Little Simz’s NO THANK YOU, “No Merci” is the song that jumped out at me most. At first it was the way Simz’s voice bounces along with Info’s production, a low-key digital thump that gracefully segues into stately strings and ominous brass. The track became even more of a standout once it sunk in that just about every lyric is both thought-provoking and eminently quotable. “Giving them our truth and they gave us blackface/ Why you wanna make a mockery of my pain?” she raps, exhausted and incredulous without giving up her poise. “Way too long we been carrying the shame/ If we knew we had magic would we put needles in our veins?” It’s a searing commentary on the role of Black entertainers, an assertion that even honors like the Mercury Prize don’t always fix what’s broken about an industry that consistently does its talent dirty. —Chris
SZA - "Gone Girl"
The words “Gone Girl” are forever linked with Gillian Flynn’s thriller novel-turned-David Fincher film where Ben Affleck basically plays himself — a puffy, middle-aged bro-dude reeking of ambivalence. The phrase is also bound up with Flynn’s infamous “cool girl” speech, where “Amazing Amy” justifies a decision to fake her death, making it look like a domestic dispute, and framing her cheating ex. Why go to such lengths? Well, because Amy dutifully played the role of a “cool girl” — what Gen Z might call a “pick me girl” — aka a girl who “is game” for whatever and more or less exists without any needs or inconveniences. Being a “cool girl” is also Amy’s fucked up way of exerting control over her marriage — she assumes that by being a “cool girl,” Affleck will hold up his end of the deal and be a decent husband. (Spoiler: He does/is not.)
That’s where SZA’s chanting gospel-R&B ballad comes in. SZA is not adopting the “cool girl” method to keep her guy — to the contrary, she is laying down a list of expectations for a relationship: “I need more space and security/ I need less voices, just you and me/ I need your touch, not your scrutiny/ Squeezing too tight, boy, you losing me.” Regardless of how this dalliance ends up, SZA’s idea of keeping control is by directly stating her needs — rather than acting like she doesn’t have any. —Rachel