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

The National - "Space Invader"

It’s the drums, stupid! On “Space Invader,” one of two new singles the National released by surprise this week, the band lets Bryan Devendorf cook. Recent releases from indie rock’s suavely depressive kings have downplayed Devendorf’s gift for visceral bashing, and their music has suffered for it. Here, they rectify that error. “Space Invader” has other things going for it: a spectacular, almost post-rock-scale arrangement, for one thing, and a vocal melody that proves Matt Berninger’s conversational, memory-strewn lyrics can still sing when he’s literally singing them. But what makes this my favorite National song in a decade is the grand finale, when the band spends three minutes building to a peak of grand intensity, powered by throttling percussion, until “Space Invader” ends up sounding like a post-apocalyptic sequel to “Fake Empire.” It’s nice to have my breath taken away by these guys again. —Chris

04

That Chick Angel - "One Margarita (Ladies Remix)" (Feat. Flo Milli, Sexyy Red, & FendiDa Rappa)

It started out as a freestyle on a podcast — Angel Laketa Moore, a actress who’s been on A Black Lady Sketch Show and A Workplace Comedy, riffing on a viral clip of a preacher attempting to extol abstinence. “If you give her one margarita, she will open her legs,” the preacher said. Moore, who records as That Chick Angel, rapped a few quick lines about doing increasingly freaky shit after a few tequila drinks. That was in May. The freestyle became a TikTok video, the TikTok video became a song, and the song became a viral hit. “One Margarita” already had a remix with Saucy Santana and Cindy Crawford in the video, and now it’s a vehicle for a bunch of up-and-coming rappers to get horny.

The energy on “One Margarita” is infectious. The beat has the hammering insistence of classic New Orleans bounce, and the guests — Flo Milli, Sexyy Red, and FendiDa Rappa — represent a vanguard of women rapping hard about fucking. But the winner on the “One Margarita” remix is still That Chick Angel, both for the memorably giddy hook that started it all and for the verse that ups the ante just a little bit more: “Give me four margaritas, I’ma beat my husband’s butt/ Give me a drink, bend me over/ Hell, I’ll do that shit sober.” —Tom

03

Thrash Palace - "Go"

Last year, three experimental rock veterans holed themselves up in a studio for a couple days and ended up with Thrash Palace, a new project from Sarah Register, Vice Cooler, and Erika M. Anderson. “Go,” one of their two introductory singles, is a blisteringly chaotic tangle of noise. Anderson’s voice cuts through scissor-sharp guitars: she’s going, she’s coming, she’s running away, she’s running to you. The confusion is echoed in “Go”‘s satisfying tumult: discordant and energizing, in constant motion. —James

02

Sufjan Stevens - "So You Are Tired"

The music on Sufjan’s lead Javelin single might be delicate, intricate, and wholly absorbing, but it’s the man himself who sells this song’s titular exhaustion. The singer’s famously airy vocals hardly rise above a whisper, but they sound so very weighed down with the stress of an ending. That impending loss could be ascribed to a relationship (romantic or working, friend of family). As plainly stated in “So You Are Tired,” Stevens and its subject go way back. “So you are tired of us/ So rest your head/ Turning back 14 years/ Of what I did and said,” Stevens breathes over plaintive piano, which soon melds into acoustic picking and atmospheric backing harmonies. As a tambourine thuds out a rising beat, you can practically visualize Stevens slogging through a transitional period. As heavenly “oooh, ahhh”s close things out, it becomes clear: despite this heavy reverie, there is a light. —Rachel

01

Olivia Rodrigo - "Bad Idea Right?"

You can play spot-the-influence all day. It’s fun! Why not! Elastica! Fountains Of Wayne! Wet Leg! And yes, it’s strange and miraculous that a baby pop star with a Disney pedigree is making a revved-up power-pop banger with a noisy-freakout guitar solo and a “Boy Named Sue” lyrical quote. But it’s more than that. It’s bigger. “Bad Idea Right?” is a straight-up monster earworm, an instant pop classic that demands a full-throated singalong on the second listen. It’s a great song, one that can hang and bang with any of its possible antecedents.

Olivia Rodrigo has already overachieved on every conceivable level. She’s mastered the forms of heart-wrecked power-ballad and sugar-rush pop-punk ripper, and she’s achieved mainstream household-name pop stardom in an age when that’s functionally impossible. “Vampire,’ the first single from her sophomore album, was a screaming, raging gutstomp buildup that still debuted at #1. “Bad Idea Right?” almost certainly won’t make the same pop impact, and it doesn’t need to. The song does something more valuable. It captures the twitchy, nervous headrush energy of doing something that you know you shouldn’t do, something all your friends are warning you not to do, something you don’t want to resist anyway. It’s got charm and hooks and frantic excitement working for it. It’s funny, and it’s addictive.

“Bad Idea Right?” has the simple setup of an improv skit and the delirious urgency of a midnight confession. It’s an Olivia Rodrigo song that doesn’t depict her as the wronged party in a breakup, which feels like some kind of breakthrough. It works because it’s a tightly constructed, energetically performed alt-pop rager but also because Rodrigo commits to the lyrical conceit with wild-eyed theater-kid gusto. This feels like a novel way to build a huge pop career: Stop worrying about chart placement and just keep making really, really great songs. That’s a fresh concept. One might even call it a good idea. —Tom

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