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
It wasn’t until seeing the band headline a festival last year that I understood exactly why they’re so revered. This isn’t to say that I’m suddenly a #1 fan of James Murphy‘s repetitive 7-minute electronic poetry, but I respect his craft and recognize him as an auteur of genuine art.
A cursory glance shows that this new song bears all the hallmarks of your standard LCD Soundsystem song. It’s six minutes long, built over a cyclical chord progression, and the lyrics are about a guy disillusioned with modern love. Unlike the rambling milquetoast of “Someone Great” however, “american dream” is- dare I say, melodramatic? The celestial keyboard riff sounds like the saddest lullaby melody ever recorded, and Murphy sounds legitimately distraught at times. There’s even a fully cohesive outro where everything escalates and comes together like a real song and everything. New York’s poet laureate actually caved and wrote something in traditional song structure, and it worked out wonderfully.
Pretty Decent Song of the Week
Kasabian are part of that group of second-tier UK garage-rock revivalists who had a few big hits about a decade ago and then subsequently dropped off the buzz bin radar. See also: Kaiser Chiefs and Hard-Fi. However all three of these bands have continued to release dependably solid and criminally underrated albums over the past ten years. Kasabian’s track record is pretty great, barring 2011 misstep Velociraptor.
This album looks to be another collection of eminently listenable tunes, with this song being a feisty highlight. It’s a high-energy Arctic Monkeys knockoff, but it’s fun and in the absence of material from that band it’ll do.
Meh Song of the Week
A metal version of a country classic sounds like a very bad idea, but there are a few rare instances where it’s worked. As with any cover though, the new version needs to bring something original to the table to justify its existence. This one is just sort of a slightly heavier cousin of the Garth Brooks version. There are the scorched earth guitar solos that ratchet up the attitude by a few watts, but there’s no “wow” moment. The end of the song limply crosses the finish line without a massive final chorus. It’s still miles above the literal trash you’ll find on any of the “Punk Goes…” compilations, but it’s not the fist-pumper it could have been.
Below Average Song of the Week
“I’m the loneliest I’ve ever been tonight” sings rock star and early 2000s poster boy Brandon Boyd– and that’s the least cringeworthy lyric in this song. The story is a little muddled, but on the surface it seems like this is what’s happening: Boyd is lonely, the loneliest he’s ever been. A mysterious stranger, perhaps some sort of escort, offers him some fun for the night. They’re definitely offering him something he’s never tried before (as you know, rock stars are chaste puritans). He’s tempted, but at the last moment he sings:
“I guess I’m going digital tonight”
Hold up- so the song is about Brandon Boyd alone at night and deciding to browse PornHub? BECAUSE THAT’S DEFINITELY WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE.
A shame, because if it wasn’t for the lyrics this would be a pretty great song! It’s different from anything the band’s ever done- a hushed electronic tune with a dark bass line to match. A rare case where an instrumental version would be better than the full deal.
Disappointing Song of the Week
Full disclosure: my opinion of this band is formed partially due to meeting them prior to a concert of theirs in Toronto. The lead singer was rude and pretentious and incredibly dismissive. But the rest of my opinion is formed because they can’t write a good song to save their life. The only good thing to come out of them was a Giorgio Moroder remix of one of their songs.
Anyway, this new one is garbage. Not only does it have a stupid chord progression, it also jumps on the “blown out EQ” bandwagon a year late. They fail even at being opportunistic copycats.