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.)


Balance And Composure - "sorrow machine"

This month, Basement announced their first US headlining shows in five years, Pity Sex announced their first non-festival gig in eight years, and Balance And Composure announced their first album in eight years. It’s a great time to be emo. Balance And Composure teased with with you in spirit with “cross to bear” and “sorrow machine,” the latter of which erupts with the booming, volatile sound of their 2013 opus The Things We Think We’re Missing. Jon Simmons sings vaguely of burning everything down, of self-destructing, of being a sorrow machine, and his indulgence into this familiar place of fury is as gripping and infectious as it’s always been. We are so back. —Danielle


Zach Bryan - "Pink Skies"

A parent’s funeral is one of the most destabilizing events in a person’s life. When you’ve left the place where you grew up and the funeral takes you back there, it’s enough to rip you out of time completely. That’s the mental state that Zach Bryan describes on “Pink Skies,” a song that’s too somber and specific and homespun to be the hit that it’s already becoming. The music is soft and reflective — harmonica, mandolin, inside-voice delivery. Over that comforting bed, Bryan sings about the mixture of pride and bafflement that a long-gone parent might feel and remembers the smell of the grass when someone bailed him out of jail in his younger years. It’s a meditation on a state of sadness so extreme that it doesn’t even register as sadness — just a kind of soul-shattering wistfulness that you’re glad you only have to feel twice. —Tom


Charly Bliss - "Calling You Out"

“Calling You Out” is a mid-2010s music-blog fever dream. To some, that might sound like a neg, but coming from someone who was molded in those streets, it’s extremely complimentary. This is Charly Bliss, so Eva Hendricks’ unmistakable power-pop vocals are front and center, blasting us with hooks and the relatable pathos of a teen rom-com protagonist. But rather than evoking Weezer and Letters To Cleo, the track sounds like HAIM’s galloping, guitar-powered “The Wire” backbeat seasoned with sparkling, shimmering Emotion-era euphoria. Topped off with a refrain as real and memorable as “I want to be the one to love you, not calling you out,” it adds up to a potent proof of concept for this especially poppy phase of Charly Bliss. —Chris


Magdalena Bay - "Death & Romance"

“Death & Romance” is an intense name for a song, and a UFO exploding in an orange sky is a bold choice for single artwork. However, this is regular in the world of Magdalena Bay. The LA electronic duo manage to make music that justifies this cartoonishly weird aesthetic; “Death & Romance” floats with jaunty piano enmeshed with skittish beats, Mica Tenenbaum’s animated vocals as catchy as they are dramatic: “Yeah, I give and you give/ ’Til it’s all that we have/ You know nothing is fair in/ Death and romance.” Synthesizers fizz and buzz turning the track into a hypnotic, videogame-like storm. —Danielle


Vince Staples - "Étouffée"

“Label tryna give me feedback, told me ‘Bring the streets back’/ Fans said they want 2015 Vince/ Dropped Big Fish, cuh been weak since.” It’s a nagging feeling that haunts most artists with a sizable fanbase: They don’t like what you’re up to now, you gotta go back to what you were doing before. Vince Staples has been saddled by the weight of the expectation of his incredible early run. He’s never been one to pay those expectations much mind — he’s doing whatever he wants to do — but “Étouffée” confronts that feeling directly, with a song that sounds like one of those classic Vince Staples bangers with all the air sucked out of it. It still bangs in only the way that Vince can, circling back to a chorus that slides off the tongue. The song is a highlight from his latest, Dark Times, another knotty, complicated, compelling release in a discography that’s got plenty of those. —James

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