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.
A bunch of us are down in Atlanta for Shaky Knees this weekend. If you see us, come say hi. The five best songs of the week are below.
Creatives have been questioning the negative repercussions of capitalism for decades, long before Gen Z started calling to burn it all down via TikTok. (No shade to the Zoomers, I’m right there with them.) Take Sloan Wilson’s mid-century blockbuster The Man In The Grey Flannel Suit, which basically became shorthand for the discontented Western businessperson. On “The Grey Commute,” Brooklyn’s Nation Of Language take their turn skewering America’s favored economic system with poignant lyrics about Trump’s corporation- and CEO-friendly tax bill (“Promising the world if we only bear the cost, yeah/ Picking out the change from your purse and your pockets”). Meanwhile, the heady subject matter comes cloaked in a wash of ’80s synths and a mechanistic beat. If you’re going to sing about money, what better decade is there to reference? —Rachel
Jlin’s music tends to sound overwhelming, whether you’re seeing her in-person or listening on headphones. That has not changed on “Embryo,” the title track from her upcoming EP. It’s frenetic, constantly moving and mutating, zigging and zagging all over the place so that it’s dizzying even trying to keep up. The song is all rhythm, and it makes sense that “Embryo” was first written as a piece for the Third Coast Percussion ensemble (whose version of it will come out next year). As it stands, “Embyro” is a mucky, futuristic, fractured freak-out of glorious proportions. —James
Strange Ranger’s metamorphosis over the years goes way beyond a name change. The band once known as Sioux Falls started out making ’90s-vintage indie rock in Idaho; they’ve since expanded their lineup, relocated first to Portland and then to Philadelphia, and evolved into the warped pop band heard on “It’s You.” The closing track from the group’s new mixtape No Light In Heaven is bleary and hallucinatory, carried along by a hard-crashing drum machine. It’s a declaration of devotion, one that acknowledges the inherent awkwardness and risk of putting yourself out there: “I don’t know what you think about that/ I would lose it all for you/ Deep inside where everybody’s uptight/ I would lose it all for you.” Even as a surreal swirl picks up in the background, there’s a lived-in conversational quality to this confession of love. “Don’t know what to say,” continues the vocal. “The timing isn’t great.” You’re left in suspense about how this situation turns out, and about what kind of transformation Strange Ranger will undertake next. —Chris
Look, you don’t need us to tell you that Parquet Courts rock. You knew that. Parquet Courts have been rocking for a decade, and they’ve been rocking on increasingly big stages. Sympathy For Life, the band’s new album, digs deep into slinkier and synthier vibes and textures, finding entirely new ways to rock, and that’s exciting. But “Homo Sapien,” the final single that the band release before the LP’s release, is notable for just how hard and confidently it rocks. The lyrics are bleak and funny in equal measure: “What a time to be alive/ A TV set in the fridge/ A voice that recites the news and leaves out the gloomy bits.” But there’s nothing bleak about that riff, a drooling garage-rock head-basher that never once, even for a second, stops rocking. —Tom
While the previous singles from Thyla’s long-awaited debut album have been bigger and brighter than ever, leaning into the poppier side of the Brighton band’s muscular dream-pop sound, “3” is a cagier beast. Its verses are all coiled tension, just a needling riff and an urgent drumbeat pounding away under Millie Duthie’s half-spoken vocals. But this band has always had a way with a dramatic chorus, and “3” gives us exactly that: all the unresolved tension dissolving in an explosion of grand pop catharsis, an ocean of guitars cresting as Duthie’s voice pierces right through the cloud barrier to soar into its upper register. It’s still thrilling. —Peter