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.)
Mclusky - "fan learning difficulty"
The Mclusky brand returned this week after 19 years with two perfectly solid A-side singles, but the B-sides were instantly nearer and dearer to my heart. The ballad “that was my brain on elves” took the band’s rarely shown softer side to new extremes, with Andy Falkous threading something like tenderness into his off-kilter perspective. (“I understood finally that animals have feelings/ But not in a way they can monetize.”) The one that had me pumping my fist the most, though, was the noisiest of the batch. From the jarring bass blasts to the tension-building drumroll freakout to the obnoxiously noisy finale, “fan learning difficulty” was Mclusky in their element, fucking us up right good for the fun of it. Best of all was the sound of Falkous’ voice in unhinged mode, as if he’s ranting and raving at a pub table with his mates, wide-eyed and indignant but with the faintest sliver of a grin at the corner of this mouth. —Chris
Big Thief - "Born For Loving You"
What a cozy little love song this is! “Born For Loving You” is one of those tender, playful folk-pop gems that expertly balance out Big Thief’s serious artiste side. It’s the sound of Lenker loopy and starry-eyed, backed by a contagious rustic groove, four musicians as in tune with each other as ever. Buck Meek’s lead guitar accents are a nice touch here, but if you remember one thing from “Born For Loving You,” it’ll probably be this Lenker lyric: “From the first kiss to the first fuck/ I don’t think it’s just good luck/ Take me to the valley or a pickup truck/ Show me a thing or two.” —Chris
Denzel Curry - "Sked" (Feat. Kenny Mason)
Right now, Denzel Curry is in the midst of a very confusing rollout — three singles, different versions of the songs released at the same times, no release date or details in sight. But Curry is making hectic, feral fuck-you-up anthems, so maybe the confusion is the point. There are two different versions of “Sked” floating around out there — the video clip, a 100-second burst that’s just Curry on his own, and the slightly longer version where Atlanta rapper Kenny Mason adds a breakneck verse full of gun-talk: “Power Ranger glock, bullets come in different colors/ Bitch, the crib I’m in got more sticks than acupuncture.” Take your pick. Either way, “Sked” is a piece of heedless, reckless elbows-flying nastiness with a ribcage-rattling bassline that never goes out of the red. Denzel was there for the birth of SoundCloud rap, and now he’s reminding the world just how intense and cathartic that sound can be when it’s executed at the highest level. —Tom
Yumi Zouma - "KPR"
Over the past couple years especially, Yumi Zouma have refined the art of the dream-pop song. Now they’re coming for the shoegazeissance. The boundaries between the two are admittedly pretty porous, but “KPR” leans into the smearier, shimmery side of the equation. Layered and gauzy, their new single sublimely tumbles along on Christie Simpson’s swift delivery: “Come and pick me up from the parking lot/ ‘Cause I took too much of your pure dedication/ A fading star to a burnt out car/ Did you drive too fast ’cause you needed attention.” The cherry on top is its whispered-out climax, which careens into one last satisfying blast of fuzz. —James
Olivia Rodrigo - "get him back!"
A wise person once sang, “Wait ’til I get him back/ He won’t have a back to scratch.” I’m not sure whether Fiona Apple’s 2006 cut off of Extraordinary Machine informed Olivia Rodrigo’s spunky fuckboi anthem of the same name (in this case fully lowercased and with an exclamation mark), but it sure sounds like a Gen Z homage, at least thematically. Describing a Cuffing Season-type dalliance, Rodrigo talk-sings about a guy who “argued with me about everything” but was “so much fun,” among other positive (but short-lived) attributes, like being a good kisser. “So maybe I could fix him!” Rodrigo snickers before skipping into the bouncy-ball, chant-along chorus.
This is why we love her. Rodrigo thrives in the emotional trenches that feel the most maze-like when you’re in your teens and early 20s. You might sober up with age, but this mess is formative, and it never really leaves. So when fans Rodrigo’s age hear the pendulum-swinging “get him back!,” they think about their ongoing experiences; older fans (like me) are just really, really triggered. We still want sweet revenge. —Rachel