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). This week’s countdown is below, and you can listen to a playlist of all our 5 Best Songs on Spotify.

Hello from New York, where our governor declared we “beat COVID” and there are actually concerts happening again and all manner of normal life things that now feel surreal. It’s good to be back! Here are the five best songs of the week.

05

The funny, absurd post-punk that’s showcased in this new Wet Leg track is in the same world as Cheekface or Bodega. The bassline is mischievous and catchy while the words are sung clearly: “Is your mother worried?/ Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?” Almost all of the attention has to go to the brilliantly nonsensical lyrics, which are made unforgettable by a deadpan delivery reminiscent of Courtney Barnett. Wet Leg just signed to Domino Records for their debut, and “Chaise Longue” promises an interesting future for this band. —Danielle

04

“Kill Me” is a rousing song about total obliteration. Written during the throes of a depressive low, it finds Indigo De Souza begging for relief in the form of ending it all. Her lyrics are unbelievably dark, but she delivers them with a sly smile: “Kill me and clean up and if they ask you where I am/ Well, tell them that I was all done/ Tell them that I wasn’t having much fun.” Her voice slides into a squeaky, queasy sing-song, swelling along with the track’s roiling momentum. Though it’s about a low, it ends on a high, with a furious bashing of drums that suggests some kind of breakthrough by sheer force of will. —James

03

The last we heard from Efterklang, they were releasing an ornate, meditative album sung in Danish, Altid Sammen. If “Living Other Lives” is anything to go by, their forthcoming Windflowers is going to be a whole lot different, not just from Altid Sammen but from the band’s baroque chamber pop early years, too. Built on warm synths and a brisk beat, “Living Other Lives” instead sounds akin to something between the trio’s work in Liima or frontman Casper Clausen’s recent solo album Better Way. In other contexts, these guys know how to make trippy, transporting synth music — now they’ve brought that into Efterklang, and they’ve brought that vein of their songwriting out into the sun.

“Living Other Lives” is one gliding, beautiful sigh of a song, arriving at a perfect moment; it’s an ideal summer afternoon zone-out soundtrack, an allusive prompt of a title inviting you to drift off into your imagination while watching the sun streak through tree branches. Thematically, “Living Other Lives” takes a well-worn topic and tries to flip our perception. We’re used to artists haranguing about the ills of technology, and it’s easy to feel the dystopian creep of big tech in our daily lives more and more every day. But when Clausen sings of scrolling through his phone, it’s not narcotizing or toxic, but instead with a sense of wonder — the way he can teleport and time travel through windows into other people’s lives and transformations.

After a year when many of us were stuck at home only leaving through screens, Clausen’s take is refreshing, the idea that he could find some spiritual solace through the very things we’re so used to categorizing as numbing distractions. As a song, “Living Other Lives” sounds like a new future for Efterklang, and by the time it gets to the quiet euphoria in its final refrain — “I keep dreaming/ Living other lives” — it reminds us that our future, too, doesn’t need to be banal. It can still sound transcendent. —Ryan

02

The Body and BIG|BRAVE are two bands that make heavy, apocalyptic music, and “Oh Sinner” definitely fits the bill. “When the moon drips away into blood/ And when death comes riding on its pale horse/ And the kings hide/ Oh sinner, where will you stand?” Robin Wattie wails in the song. But where you might expect a collaboration between the Body and BIG|BRAVE to erupt into a torrent of righteous noise, “Oh Sinner” never does. Instead, it’s all simmering tension and restraint, a traditional Appalachian folk song reimagined as a crushing harbinger of doom. It’s only four and a half minutes but it still feels like a towering epic. —Peter

01

What is even going on here? Many of the best Aldous Harding songs arrive with videos that leave me so wonderfully disoriented, and “Old Peel” continues that tradition. It’s basically just a live performance, but with Harding off to the side bouncing at her piano and Martin Sagadin out front doing a quirky, twitchy Iggy Pop routine, it feels much stranger than your average concert, even before Harding and Sagadin make their getaway.

The song itself contributes to the confusion. Tense yet subtle, minimal yet energetic, it resembles a surreal alternate universe take on Spoon’s Kill The Moonlight — a sound in which rhythm is king and every last whisper is a building block to be added and subtracted for effect. I will not pretend to know what Harding is singing about here, but the way she strings those words together is as mesmerizing as the music: “Right now at the top of the count/ Hot clown and the creek is turning.” I mean, what? —Chris

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