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.)


Dua Lipa - "Dance The Night"

Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia was an album full of quotation marks — one that revived both the disco sound of the ’70s and the various disco revivals that have popped up since then. “Dance The Night,” her new soundtrack single, is quotations within quotations, since it’s basically Dua reviving her own Future Nostalgia sound, which is now almost old enough to demand its own nostalgia. But we’re all just living in the intellectual-property playground anyway, right? That seems to be the point of the Barbie movie, an intellectual-property movie about intellectual property. That seems like it can only go so far, but we can only hope it’ll be good, right?

“Dance The Night,” a song that’s likely to get a big dance-number sequence in Barbie, does absolutely nothing new, and there’s something cynical and calculated about its entire existence. But if you take that as a given, it’s still a glittering gem of a pop song. Dua Lipa and her various collaborators — Mark Ronson, Caroline Allin, the Picard Brothers, Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt — have picked the right things to quote: the swirling strings, the nasty bassline, the laser-precise handclaps, the lyrics about dancing as romantic getaway — all do the things they’re supposed to do. It’s pure product, but sometimes product works. —Tom


Palehound - "My Evil"

I’m from New Jersey, so my heart almost can’t handle the way Palehound brilliantly recreated The Sopranos opening credits in their “My Evil” lyric video. (And I used to live in Central Jersey, which does exist.) The pomp, circumstance, and gabagool don’t take away from El Kempner’s poignant track, which finds a way to be both delicate and hard-edged at once. Over crunching guitar-work, Kempner layers their vocals into lush harmonies while singing about “the extremely humbling experience of realizing that yes, you Are the asshole.” I don’t think Tony Soprano ever achieved that level of personal insight despite years of therapy, so Kempner is definitely on a positive path to redemption. —Rachel


Taylor Swift - "Hits Different"

“I washed my hands of us at the club/ You made a mess of me/ I pictured you with other girls in love/ Then threw up on the street.” Come on: Those are the best, funniest pop lyrics about throwing up after a night out at the club while longing for your ex since “Marvins Room.” The Midnights era has not been Taylor Swift’s most consistently stellar creative period, but this new bonus track really does hit different. Turns out splitting the difference between two of Swift’s best songs works wonders — specifically, funneling self-lacerating “Anti-Hero” vibes into a falsely chipper “Blank Space” sequel. The bright and upbeat strain of melancholy on display here is extremely winsome. —Chris


Kristin Hersh - "Dandelion"

Kristin Hersh said that every song on her new album “functions as systems in a body,” and if so then “Dandelion” must be the muscle, sinewy and filled with unresolved tension, waiting to snap. The song extends, reaches out into the unknown. Its muted backdrop sends our focus to the lyrics, which Hersh delivers with all the eerie intonations associated with a murder ballad, but in this case the crimes are love and hope. Cupid is the object of Hersh’s gaze — “drinking dandelion wine,” “slinging dandelion hope.” “Wrecked with clarity/ Two of us who can’t be numbed,” she sings in its closing lines. “Walk off arm in arm/ Like watching something burn.” “Dandelion” is uneasily effective, somber and hushed. —James


Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar - "The Hillbillies"

Last year, Kendrick Lamar released his therapy album. It was chaotic and discordant and sometimes ugly, and it probably had to happen. Kendrick had been away for too long, and he had to come back with a great unburdening. Now that he’s done that, he evidently feels free to fuck around. On “The Hillbillies,” that means Kendrick and his little cousin Baby Keem hopping around and talking their shit, maybe saluting Drake or maybe clowning him over the frisky New York drill producer Evilgiane’s chopped-up Jersey club rework of the recent Bon Iver loosie “PDLIF.”

Is “The Hillbillies” even a song? It’s only got a tiny bit of a chorus, and it’s a YouTube exclusive; nobody has put it up on the proper streaming services. Kendrick never gets into the dizzily intense flows that won him a reputation as the greatest rapper of his generation. Instead, it’s a low-stakes tag-team fuck-around about girls and designer clothes and famous soccer players. In the video, Kendrick and Keem goof around in stadiums and airports and fancy hotels. It’s about as low-stakes as it could possibly be, and that’s its charm. Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem are having fun, and their fun is infectious. I hope we get more like this. Kendrick Lamar has made enough serious statements. Let him play. —Tom

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