Weekly Fiver #2

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

Feel it Still- Portugal. The Man

YES they blatantly ripped off Pharrell‘s “Happy”. But they improved it in every way, from the little electronic flourishes throughout the song to the endlessly melodic chorus. Instead of the monotone “raise-your-hands-if-you’re-feeling-like-a-moon-without-a-roof” (nearly all ONE note, by the way), you get a hook that actually sticks in your head.

 

Pretty Decent Song of the Week

Half a Million- The Shins

It seems like James Mercer is turning into indie rock’s Rivers Cuomo– plundering his “legacy” (Garden State quote) and image in order to continue making music. He even sounds like the Weezer frontman on this song, which borrows liberally from The Cars‘ songwriting. It’s the best song from the new record though, and the fact it has two choruses is commendable.

 

Meh Song of the Week

Skin- Rag’N’Bone Man

Holy cow, is the industry pushing this guy hard. Not only has he been constantly featured on iTunes’ front page since the beginning of the year, but he’s got prime placement on every major music festival this summer. That said, if we’re gonna get a Hozier rip-off (Tobias Jesso Jr, Kaleo) every year now, we can do worse than this guy. He takes the soul balladeer thing and adds some hip-hop beats to it, which is an ok gimmick. The song itself is one of the most cookie-cutter products to be released in years. It’s got the second-most commonly used chord progression in pop music, and a woefully generic melody. But we’re gonna be hearing it a lot this summer, and as far as radio filler goes it’s tolerable.

 

Below Average Song of the Week

Something Just Like This- Chainsmokers feat. Coldplay

You know what’s funny is with different lyrics, this song would be pretty decent. It’s got an ok melody, and interesting dynamics. But Chris Martin is on some furious mission to destroy all goodwill that Coldplay accumulated over the years. Take a look at these clunkers:

I’ve been reading books of old / the legends and the myths / Achilles and his gold / Hercules and his gifts / and Spiderman’s control / and Batman with his fists

Have you keeled over retching and/or laughing yet? There’s so much wrong with this, so let’s just cover a few bases:

  • Chris Martin can only think of two Greek legends
  • Chris Martin pronounces “Hercules” with the emphasis on the wrong syllables
  • Hercules had “gifts”
  • Apparently there were no heroes between ancient Greece and comic books
  • Spider-Man‘s CONTROL (?!?!)
  • Fistman sorry I mean Batman sorry I just only ever think of fists when I think of Batman

It’s just a lyrical trainwreck. And that’s just the first verse!

 

Terrible Song of the Week

No Answers- Amber Run

Not quite indie-pop clones (Kopecky Family Band, Milo Greene, Local Natives), not quite aggro-rock acolytes (Young Guns, Starset), but just as generic as both styles. The music landscape is littered with these kinds of bands; painfully plain alternative acts that have little to no songwriting talent yet churn out an album every two years and for some reason have a record contract.

Here’s a brief list of them: Civil Twilight, Morning Parade, The Chevin, Wildlife, and of course prime example The Boxer Rebellion.

Though these bands’ stylistic accoutrements change as the musical climate around them does, at the heart is the pounding spirit of U2‘s chest-beating new wave running anthems. Except, imagine that essence distilled down to 1% of the original.

It’s just really really bad music, and these bands have no reason to exist. They add nothing to the world other than being permanent openers for third-tier radio rockers.

Yikes- four paragraphs and not a word about the song itself!

Ok, well it’s bland, with a basic hook and faux-angst. It adds a dark EDM twist to the mix but like I said, even though the styles differ over the years, this has a boring-core centre and I fully expect to never hear about this band ever again.