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. (An expanded playlist of our new music picks is available to members on Spotify and Apple Music, updated throughout the week.)


Jessie Ware - "Begin Again"

“I work all night/ I do my thing.” Jessie Ware, ladies and gents — she’s working all night, she’s doing her thing for us. The thing in question: making the most effortless, luxurious retro-disco music out there today. “Begin Again,” the latest from her new album That! Feels Good! (emphasis hers, and mine) is the sort of breezy, effervescent melodrama that she’s prone to dream up during those sleepless creative bursts. Jumping horns, gliding momentum, a regal chorus of backing vocals that keep circling back to the refrain: “Why do my realities take over all my dreams?/ Why does all the purest love get filtered through machines?” Can we begin again? Do your thing, hit repeat. —James


Girl Ray - "Hold Tight"

What a lovely vibe Girl Ray have been cultivating for the past half-decade or so. “Hold Tight” is a prime example of the UK trio’s signature style: minimal yet eclectic, playful and melancholic all at once, like if Haim were hopping on Vampire Weekend tracks when Rostam was still in the band. Every component of the track feels like a hook, be it that groovy bass, those hip-shaking acoustic strums, the sunshine guitar bursts, or the drumbeat that carries just the faintest whiff of the disco vibes from prior single “Everybody’s Saying That.” Amidst it all is Poppy Hankin, quietly professing a love that defies the deniers and even dishes out some low-stakes hate of its own: “Talking shit in the grass would be just fine, my baby.” —Chris


Kvelertak - "Krøterveg Te Helvete"

Kvelertak make heavy rock music so. Much. Fucking. Fun. Riff-slinging, lung-busting, fist-pounding sparkle-violence like “Krøterveg Te Helvete” is the reason so many of us fell in love with music in the first place. Over the course of four and a half minutes, the track shifts shape several times, kicks ass in countless ways, and manages to be classic rock, heavy metal, pop, and prog all at once. It is a work of genius that plays, exhilaratingly, to our least sophisticated pleasure centers. —Chris


billy woods & Kenny Segal - "FaceTime" (Feat. Samuel T. Herring)

Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring is a well-documented hip-hop fan, so it’s always a pleasant surprise to see him either a) rapping or b) singing on a rap track. On “FaceTime,” the lead single from New York rapper billy woods and LA producer Kenny Segal’s hotly anticipated Maps, Herring jumps in the chorus for a wistful line about how lonely touring life can be: “Continental breakfast, stick and weave, tuck and roll/ I can’t take you with me, but I be on your phone.”

The entire “FaceTime” is a slow, jazzy trudge about how something seemingly glamorous like touring can be rather mundane when broken down to the sum of its parts: “Lived a couple lives go ahead and slide, hope I take a couple with me/ Made a couple dollars it got tricky quickly/ What’chu expect?/ Play stupid games you flyin’ Easy Jet/ Bratislava, Utrecht/ Something felt off before I even left/ So when I saw the missed calls, I knew what was next,” Woods says with a note of exhaustion in his voice. Seems like there’s someone back home, and they’re not too happy? Woods sounds caught between missing them and wanting to create distance — which is tough when he’s just a video call away. —Rachel


Dawn Richard - "Bubblegum"

The world is a fascinating, unpredictable place. When Dawn Richard first found fame, she was a contestant on Diddy’s MTV show Making The Band and then a member of the frothy girl group Danity Kane. From there, Richard’s winding journey took her to the electro-rap group Diddy-Dirty Money and then into a series of spaced-out art-soul records that won Richard critical acclaim and a spot on the Merge Records roster. A few months ago, she teamed up with Spencer Zahn for the hypnotic, experimental LP Pigments. She’d found herself a place on the outskirts.

And now here comes Richard with a hard-slamming booty-shake anthem that’s literally called “Bubblegum.” The new single reflects a return to the sound of Richard’s 2021 album Second Line, but it also sounds like a TikTok challenge waiting to happen, or like a single from a former member of Danity Kane. That’s a good thing. “Bubblegum” has verve and energy and a giddy and sexy sense of fun, and it shows that Richard can still command a dancefloor. I don’t know how many records in the Merge catalog are about popping that pussy like it’s bubblegum, but they’re lucky they got this one. —Tom

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