Welcome to the Weekly Fiver, where I’ll pick five recently released songs of varying degrees of quality and thoroughly break them down for you. No two songs will be on the same tier, and they’ll be listed from best to worst. The top song will be an excellent must-hear tune, while the bottom song will be one you ought to stay away from or else you will make your ears sad. It’s all very scientific.
Excellent Song of the Week
Thanks a lot, Trump- everything is upside down in 2017. It legitimately feels like there’s been some sort of warp in the space-time continuum and we’re in some alternate universe where logic doesn’t apply anymore.
But hey, at least we got a good song out of Hollerado. Yeah, for real! The merchants of jangle-rock have legitimately written a straightforward rocker with a nice collection of hooks. The 90s alt-rock influenced tune even manages to dole out some decent lyrics.
Pretty Decent Song of the Week
OK Bruno Mars we get it you are very rich and treat your ladies right in all the ways. Braggadoccio aside, this is a fun pop song that diverts from its derivative nature with a knowing wink. There’s even a callback to Julio! But the best part is that Bruno Mars has finally found a little bit of an edge.
Mars’ songwriting has always had a plain quality to it. He’s like the aural equivalent of a glass of water. The hooks sounded like they were written on a preschooler’s toy piano that only has eight keys. Ever since “Uptown Funk” though, he’s let himself take a few risks. They don’t always land- this song does not come anywhere close to the deliriously memorable heights of the 2015 mega hit- but swaggering Bruno Mars is infinitely more interesting than moony baby Bruno Mars.
Meh Song of the Week
One thing you can’t deny about Foster The People– their songs have absolutely immaculate production. It’s clean, crisp and lush, with every instrument ideally textured and every little flourish fitting perfectly within each song. Go on, just try to listen to sophomore album single “Coming of Age” and not marvel at the background touches.
“Doing it For the Money” is similarly glossy, but where its predecessor (and its corresponding album) were the band’s “experimental second offering”, this is the band trying to get right back to the instantly memorable sound of Torches. And it doesn’t really do that. It’s generic and blatantly pandering to a basic audience. It’ll most likely regain them the mainstream attention they want, but other than the pretty production (Super Mario pipe noises!), it might as well be a Charlie Puth joint.
Below Average Song of the Week
In many ways the album cover perfectly reflects what this song sound like: two performers who built their careers on being icons of sensuality dissolving in saccharine silliness. The lyrics are abominable, the instrumental sounds like Enya, and the air of self-serious moodiness just turns this into a wasted opportunity. It’s not even so-bad-it’s-good. It’s just empty posturing over yet another syrupy slow motion Lana Del Rey song.
Disappointing Song of the Week
…what exactly is this? What’s going on? This isn’t music. This is what they use in cartoons when they show old people imagining “those crazy youngsters with their crazy music”. It’s some sort of garbled combination of every modern pop cliche rolled up into one steaming pile of incomprehensible noise.