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.)

05

NewJeans - "Super Shy"

It’s a blast to see soft, intimate bedroom dance-pop metastasize into actual global pop music. The process has been happening for a while, and it really started cresting when PinkPantheress and Ice Spice crashed the pop charts earlier this year. But “Super Shy” feels like a whole new evolution. K-pop girl group NewJeans have only been around for a year, but they’ve already built serious momentum, and “Super Shy” is their best track yet. The song comes from an international team of writers, including buzzy Copenhagen singer/producer Erika de Casier. It’s an intoxicating blend of twee lyrical coyness and hammering, physical dance music. The beat toggles back and forth between jungle and Jersey club while the singers make puppy-dog eyes, and the combination is enough to make your brain swim. It sounds like the meek inheriting the earth. —Tom

04

Metric - "Just The Once"

As a long, long, loooongtime Metric fan, I’m brimming over with joy at the way the Toronto indie vets seemingly never run out of hooks or ways to express their pop sensibilities. For their last few album cycles, Metric have leaned harder into slick electropop and ’80s new-wave territory (their earliest work took on a more DIY indie-rock/pop/punk vibe), but I can’t say I’ve ever heard them go this straightforwardly disco as they do on the positively shimmering “Just The Once.” Underneath the glitter, however, are pained lyrics outlining the “regret” in Emily Haines’ self-described “regret disco.” “Said it would be just the once,” Haines sings in her cool, slightly detached style, alluding to an unhealthy scenario that is likely to occur multiple times. There’s no better way to work through messy feelings than to dance them out. —Rachel

03

Hailey Whitters - "I'm In Love"

The Iowa-born Hailey Whitters has been working in Nashville for years, writing songs and opening shows for bigger stars while never quite becoming one herself. That’s an old story: The struggling songwriter who finally starts to break through, as Whitters did with her hit “Everything She Ain’t” last year. But “I’m In Love” does not feel like the product of years of struggle. It’s an effortless, overjoyed shrug of a song. The instrumentation is old-school country — mandolins, banjos, acoustic guitars — but it sparkles like the brightest pop. Whitters sighs about an unnamed beau, and her words come out as half-connected images: “Sister’s in her room smokin’ god knows what/ He’s in a Chevy, and I’m in love.” Whitters can tell a story, but on this one, she tells a feeling. When the song hits right, you can almost feel all that joyous anticipation yourself. —Tom

02

Yard Act - "The Trench Coat Museum"

Among the crop of talky UK bands that sprung up over the past half-decade, Yard Act never stood out to me. They definitely stand out now. “The Trench Coat Museum” is a quantum leap for the Leeds combo, an eight-minute extravaganza that manages to be sly and euphoric all at once, like the best possible convergence of !!! and LCD Soundsystem and… I dunno, Jarvis Cocker? Eddie Argos with glasses? Some other bloke with clever things to say and a name more memorable than James Smith?

Smith says “The Trench Coat Museum” is his reaction to feeling exposed upon gaining some modicum of fame: “I definitely stopped searching for myself on Twitter the day I read that someone wanted to punch my lights out.” May we all respond to negative feedback as triumphantly as this. While Smith goes on entertainingly about the history and sociology of the titular garment, his band goes nuts, building a gargantuan beat that exudes gonzo cartoon energy while never ceasing to feel like serious business. Near the end of his lyrics, Smith takes a surprisingly personal turn, casting his minutes of wry social commentary in a different light: “Cause when they get to the final exhibition that celebrates my good name/ I want you to be on display too/ Cause all that really remains of me is you.” Then the band really cuts loose. The spy-movie guitar! The bursts of jubilant percussion! The relentless digital undercurrent, sweeping you out onto whatever literal or metaphorical dancefloor is available! As makeovers go, it’s a lot more attractive than dressing up like Inspector Gadget. —Chris

01

Taylor Swift - "Timeless"

Most of Taylor Swift’s “From The Vault” tracks are interesting if inessential — curiosities for diehards that either sound a little too much like Swift songs that saw a proper release or ones that are not entirely there in ways that make you understand why they were left on the cutting room floor in the first place. But “Timeless,” which closes out Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), is simply too good to have been left behind for a decade. I can almost understand the justification for not making its way onto Speak Now, which has a lot of songs that serve the same function: “Dear John,” “Back To December,” “Last Kiss” — sweeping, narrative-driven ones where all the details pile up into an emotional gut-punch.

But “Timeless” can stand with all of them. The song follows a touching, tender thread that ties in real-life love stories — that of Swift’s grandparents, who she’d later write about in “marjorie” and “epiphany” — with her more adolescent flights of fancy, like in the pre-chorus where she calls back to the Romeo & Juliet fanaticism of “Love Story.” Through all the different timelines, she keeps her eyes on the prize: a love that feels as warm and ephemeral as an old photograph, like the ones she digs up in the verses of this song. “The kind of love that you only find once in a lifetime/ The kind you don’t put down,” she sings. By the end, Swift brings us to (then) present day: “In a crowded room a few short years ago/ And sometimes there’s no proof, you just know.” Stretching from 1944 to now, it’s the sort of song that truly does feel timeless. I guess it’s fine, maybe even fitting, that it comes to us as something old made new again. —James

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