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.
The west coast crew have written a lot of big, brash, and buoyant hooks in their lifetime, but they’ve largely stayed away from anything genuinely minor key. This song is far from a bummer, but the melody is still the closest they’ve ever come to being sad. The mournful synths aren’t rays of sunshine either; they suit the name of the song very well. The best part of the song though, is the fact that it is unmistakably a New Pornographers song. Their sonic fingerprint is all over the cyclical tune, and reminds us that they’re still a vital part of the Canadian music landscape.
Pretty Decent Song of the Week
I might be easily amused, but the existence of this band makes me laugh. Why do they need to exist? Was there really a need for AFI frontman Davey Havok to join the non-Gwen-Stefani part of No Doubt and play new wave/post punk? Especially when that sound has been done to death over the past decade? But especially when AFI just released an album earlier this year? Everything about this project is absolutely inessential…and strangely listenable. None of it will be remembered even a year from now, but as a whole the album is a pretty solid spin– a rare feat nowadays. “After I Confessed” bears all the standard hallmarks of 80s alternative, from the galloping drumbeat to the metallic synth accents to the endlessly reverbed guitars, but it is just melodic enough to merit multiple listens. If you’re really craving another dose of 1985, don’t miss out on this one.
Meh Song of the Week
Do you miss My Chemical Romance? Well tough luck because it doesn’t seem like they’re getting back together anytime soon, and nobody’s stepped up to fill that void. Palaye Royale try their hardest to do a passable MCR impression, and it shines through the brightest on this song. The problem is that the band loves their surf rock/British Invasion Mod sound as much as they do Gerard Way‘s theatrics, and the two combined come off as hokey. There’s a lot of “latter day Green Day” vibes floating around and that’s not a good sound to have. Still, it’s better than a lot of modern punk and deserves a pass based on that.
Below Average Song of the Week
Like fellow hipster gods The Walkmen, Spoon seem to be in a state of perpetual penance. Having drifted too close to the mainstream in 2005 with “I Turn My Camera On”, they’ve spent the ensuing years intently focused on making sure they will never get radio play. There’s always some odd chord progression or anti-climactic chorus thrown in to prevent any sort of hit from congealing. It’s the latter in this case, and although the song starts off incredibly promising, it never kicks into the gear it needs to be in. The “chorus” doesn’t build up to any sort of payoff. A shame, because even frontman Britt Daniel‘s scratchy yelp has been smoothed into something palatable.
Disappointing Song of the Week
Dear Linkin Park. Is this how it’s gonna be, Linkin Park? Are all your new songs going to be beach party tunes meant for easy-listening radio stations? Because three of the four singles you’ve released so far have been just that, with only one being tolerable in any way. I get that y’all had to grow up and lose the angst, but there are definitely more effective ways of doing that than jettisoning all sense of grit and urgency!