Weekly Fiver #1

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

Ran- Future Islands

A few years back Sam T. Herring and company finally broke through to the mainstream with the hit “Seasons (Waiting On You)”, along with Herring’s inimitable dance moves on Letterman. While that song was great and deserved the accolades it got, it was missing a few touches that would have launched it into stratospherically great territory. Clearly the band feels the same, as they’ve essentially rewritten that song but augmented it with a more melodic bass line and a crunch to the chorus that amps up the song’s dynamics.

Pretty Decent Song of the Week

Chained to the Rhythm- Katy Perry feat. Skip Marley

Is Katy Perry “woke”? The lyrics to this song seem to decry pop culture and it’s sort of bizarre considering they were written by the foremost pop songwriters in the industry. Regardless, the chillwave backing track is a welcome respite from the other island sound pervading pop music recently, and results in one of the more tolerable songs Perry’s released in a long while. The “on and on” coda is a nice touch that adds an appropriately balmy conclusion to the end of the track.

Meh Song of the Week

Evermore- Grandaddy

Indie stalwarts Grandaddy are back after an incredibly long hiatus, but little on their new album justifies the reunion. This single has an interesting synth hook- a sort of electronic take on Weezer‘s “Hash Pipe”- but completely flops on the chorus. The chord progression doesn’t allow for a memorable hook to develop, and the song just sort of trudges along blandly with no discernible high or low points.

Below Average Song of the Week

Hypnotized- Coldplay

There was a time when Coldplay B-sides and bonus tracks were just as good as anything on the albums. Of course, that happened to be the same time that Chris Martin‘s songwriting skills saved the band from becoming every lite rock radio staple around them. The man’s seemingly lost all that skill, and the sappy ballads are now unsalvageable.  “Fix You” was one of the sappiest, mawkish songs ever recorded but it worked (and still works!) thanks to unique chords, rich production, an instant hook, and big, BIG moments. This one-off track is incredibly basic, and although it’s not a total write-off, it shows that the band has become what they’ve always dreaded: Coldplay.

Terrible Song of the Week

Heavy- Linkin Park feat. Kiiara

Moments after getting reviews back from critics, Linkin Park rapper/guitarist/keyboardist Mike Shinoda went on the defensive, poking fun at those who said that the song’s title is misleading. Which it is, but the problem here isn’t that the song is lacking distortion guitars. The band’s entire last album was a straight-up rock album and it was just as bad. The problem here is that this is a lighter-waving inspiration anthem with a hook lifted directly from Wiz Khalifa/Charlie Puth‘s “See You Again” (which in turn was lifted from Bon Jovi‘s “What Do You Got?”. It’s one of the blandest and overused melodic lines in pop music, and it’s not any better when Linkin Park do it. So Mike Shinoda, quit deflecting from the real problem. People don’t hate this song because it’s not rock, they hate it because it sucks.