Weekly Fiver #32

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

Humbug- Loney Dear

 

It’s not quite witch house, but it does incorporate several of that genre’s trademarks onto its smeared electronic canvas. In many ways it’s the perfect song for the month of November, a crossfade between spooky Halloween vibes and Christmas glockenspiel that paints a bleak, sometimes dissonant picture ideal for the grey skies that dominate this time of year.

 

Pretty Decent Song of the Week

 

No Distraction- Beck

For all his irreverent oddball music, you’d think Beck would be a more visible media presence. It’s not that he’s hermetic, but he tends to keep out of the public eye. No controversial statements, no viral videos, no outlandish interviews- just the occasional single or album. That’s why it’s strange that on his newest record Colors he embraces mainstream culture with a passion outmatched only by Rivers Cuomo‘s obsession with staying a teenager forever.

A lot of Colors is music made to be licensed to family-friendly commercials. “Dreams”, “Wow”, and “Up All Night” could respectively soundtrack ads for Frutopia, Jolly Ranchers, and Kia (if they haven’t already). “No Distraction” is a little less applicable, but it’s still produced with the sheen of something meant for mass appeal. Kind of like a Bruno Mars single. Ok…maybe it is a Bruno Mars single. It sounds uncannily like “Locked Out of Heaven”, from the vocal glitch samples to the reggae pop influence. In the end though, the chorus is unique enough to stand on its own and it will get lodged in your head for days on end.

 

Average Song of the Week

Over and Over Again- The Used

I clicked on the iTunes preview of this song out of morbid curiosity, with clenched teeth and wincing eyes. After all, The Used began their steep decline into unlistenable territory over a decade ago. I was ready for something on par with Dance Gavin Dance, Bring Me the Horizon, or any of the other Punk Goes ______ alumni. AKA the worst music in the world.

Imagine my utter shock when it turned out to be…pretty ok? The band’s ditched any pretense of being punk in favor of a more mainstream alternative (and even indie) sound, and it works out just fine. I’d go so far as to say that it’s…….good.

 

Below Average Song of the Week

 

Tinseltown Swimming in Blood- Destroyer

I admit it: I don’t get Destroyer‘s music. I don’t understand why Dan Bejar has such a fervent following. To my ears, it’s just another dude writing 80s AM radio lite rock with the occasional saxophone thrown in. There aren’t too many hooks, and a lot of the songs just drift around with no discernible purpose. He does hit a pleasant groove sometimes, but for the most part it’s kind of aimless and doesn’t merit the fuss.

 

Terrible Song of the Week

Body Talk- Majid Jordan

When the “wrong generation” crowd decry modern pop music and dismiss it as vapid and sterile, this is what they’re imagining it’s all like. This song is the purest, most essential definition of Top 40 radio filler. It’s just something to take up time in between real hits, a factory-assembled track that does absolutely nothing to qualify its own existence. It’s Z-grade product below even the likes of Hailee Steinfeld– a hard feat to manage. It’s impressively generic.

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