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.)
Wishy - "Donut"
Wishy is the project of Kevin Krauter and Nina Pitchkites, who bonded over the Sundays and My Bloody Valentine. “Donut” clearly demonstrates those influences; it’s a delicious taste of effervescent shoegaze, moving energetically and with a sense of blinding brightness. Pitchkites explained the meaning of the song in a statement: “When you’ve got the possibility of the open road plus the limitations of your shitty car — and you’re stuck driving on a donut spare tire — it’s a Catch 22.” But the track feels like pure adventure without bounds; if there’s a threat of danger, it only adds to the invigoration. —Danielle
Caroline Polachek - "Dang"
As is often the case, there’s a lot going on in the great new Caroline Polachek tune. Her choice to build a forward-thinking pop track around a charmingly colloquial term like “dang.” The way she uses that word as both percussion and punctuation, altering her pronunciation (and changing the song’s whole mood) with every utterance. All the clattering, cascading sounds in the mix. The stirring visual element she added to “Dang” in this week’s Late Show performance, involving a professorial getup and a PowerPoint slideshow. But aside from all that, I’m blown away by Polachek’s continued mastery of melody, the way her hooks seem to travel at thrilling new trajectories rarely explored by other pop artists. Maybe I’m just not listening to her influence, but it sometimes feels like she invented her own melodic language. —Chris
Boygenius - "Voyager"
The emotional punch of Boygenius often comes when the music is at its quietest. “Voyager” sounds like it could be off Punisher; it begins on scalding blacktop in LA and ends on the surface of the blue moon, a common path for Phoebe Bridgers. The sonic landscape is hushed and watery as she makes devastating confessions: “You thought I’d never leave/ And I let you believe you were right.” This complex relationship is tangled with the cosmos as she sings the final line, turning the ballad into the sequel to “Moon Song” (on which she sang, “And if I could give you the moon/ I would give you the moon”). “You took it from me/ But I would’ve given it to you,” she concludes — a painful communication of the way love can feel like an imbalanced transaction. —Danielle
Mannequin Pussy - "I Don't Know You"
“I Got Heaven,” the lead single and title track from Mannequin Pussy’s new album, was heaving and portentous; its follow-up “I Don’t Know You” is the complete opposite, sticky and sweet. Marisa Dabice’s singsong count-up threads itself throughout the song: “I know 4, 5, 6, 7 ways to get ahead/ But I wouldn’t know how to get you into my bed/ There are 3 little words/ That I wish I had said/ But I wouldn’t tell you.” Those three small words might have taken on a different from in an earlier iteration of Mannequin Pussy, but here they’re rendered in a swooning love song, one that filled with a hopeful anticipation at the possibilities of the unknown. —James
Danny Brown - "Tantor"
In his “Tantor” video, Danny Brown struts through Venice Beach in samurai armor made from discarded electronic garbage, looking like a creation from the late hip-hop outsider artist Rammellzee. “Tantor” opens with the beeps and squeals of a dial-up modem — another discarded remnant of the former future. That idea is central to the way “Tantor” moves. The Alchemist’s beat is funky but off-kilter — a chaotic lumbering beast of a track. Danny Brown has always been comfortable with chaos, and that beat is enough to send him into a reverie about “a Mexican homie named Chinese Mike.”
Danny doesn’t highlight the point of his lyrics, but when you listen to “Tantor” enough times, you start to see a narrative about trying to make things better, both for yourself and the world, but stumbling over your own flaws at every turn: “It’s that Black Lives Matter, still sniff cocaine/ Paid for a therapist, but I still ain’t change.” Selfishly, I hope he never does. —Tom