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.
With a soundtrack rightfully lauded by critics as one of the best in 2016 cinema, La La Land left behind something so few movies do nowadays: a lasting sonic impression. Memorable hooks are a thing of the past for most Hollywood scores, but they’re plentiful in this film and in this song. Sung by the leads, it straddles a precarious balance between wistful and optimistic, delivering a little of both from each side of the emotional spectrum. It results in a perfect emotional arc contained entirely within a few minutes.
Pretty Decent Song of the Week
It seems like just last week I was railing against generic alt-rock clones. (ha ha, the joke is that it was last week). Yet here we have one that have written an okay song, and for that I am giving them credit. It’s a melancholy alternative folk track, but it’s about a hundred times better than anything on that last Mumford & Sons album. It’s also got a distinct hook that floats in and out between the verses and choruses, and at the very least has potential to lodge itself in your head for an hour or so. So good on you, The Franklin Electric, you wrote one good song.
Meh Song of the Week
It’s just…a City and Colour song. Not good, not bad. It’s just there.
Below Average Song of the Week
Moody electronic ballads are starting to pop up more often in mainstream music, and for that we should be grateful. Now if only they’d bothered to assign a more capable songwriter to them! This track has decent verses, and the Coca-Cola/Pepsi-jingle hook is passable. But the chorus melody is incredibly flat and monotonous, and an instrumental riff would have done wonders.
Terrible Song of the Week
Sometimes when I say “terrible” I mean “disappointing”, which in fact can be even worse than terrible. A terrible song is usually some sort of generic pap, with no redeeming qualities or even reason to exist. A disappointing song is one that builds you up and then lets you down terribly.
Future Islands have a stellar track record, and this might be the first song of theirs that they really mess up on. It starts off wonderfully, albeit predictably, with the trademark wandering bass line and Sam Herring‘s inimitable vocals. But the chorus hits and….well, it doesn’t hit. It’s hollow and the very definition of anti-climactic, and it’s sad that such a formidable band resorted to the same trick everyone else has been pulling for the past few years. All this song took to make it good was some sort of backing instrument in the chorus and it would have been another great track. Now it’s just a missed opportunity.