Weekly Fiver #16


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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

I Wish I Was Your Cigarette- K.I.D

There’s a refreshing sort of IDGAF attitude about K.I.D that’s pretty rare in pop music nowadays. As I wrote a few weeks back, songs about relationships tend to vacillate to one end of the spectrum (i love u so much u r my everything forever) or the other (ya whatever i don’t need love it’s all about being young and wild and free). The Mississauga band stand in the middle, being straightforward about human feelings in a very millennial way. They’re raunchy at times, but it’s never in the obnoxious, blatant way that’s been popularized by modern comedies.

Singer Kara Lane makes no proclamations or grand gestures in her words, but isn’t shy about her feelings either. As the title implies, she’d really like to get close to the object of her affection, and doesn’t mind letting them know about her huge crush. It’s direct and to the point. Same goes for the instrumental. It’s pop rock in the vein of Garbage, and works in tandem with the lyrics to hammer home a message of honest emotion.

 

 

Pretty Decent Song of the Week

 

The Way You Used To Do- Queens of the Stone Age

A QOTSA record produced by Mark Ronson– now here’s a legitimately unexpected team-up in a climate where very little surprises anymore. Josh Homme has always seemed like the kind of rebel who doesn’t really care about opinions though, so something like this was bound to happen at one point in their career. The first song to come out of this partnership is slight but interesting. A short guitar riff lies over a 50s swing beat, with the faintest wisp of a chorus. It’s not much on its own, but it sets the stage for what will hopefully be a innovative album.

 

Meh Song of the Week

Halfway Home- Broken Social Scene

Full disclosure: I’ve never been a fan of BSS and their shambolic, freewheeling style. To me they’ve always seem like shorthand for ART™, and I haven’t been able to find one straightforward song in their catalogue that I enjoyed. But this has been a very weird, upside-down year for music, and I’ve found myself looking forward to releases from many, many artists that I previously was not a fan of.

Here comes the Toronto collective with a brand new track and….it doesn’t quite do the trick. But it’s close! It clocks in at under five minutes, has a defined structure, and is far beefier than much of the band’s previous work. It almost sounds like the band took some cues from M83, with soaring strings and a widescreen chorus in between the prickly guitars of the verses. It just needs to be about 15% less noisy and 20% more melodic. It still bodes well for the rest of Hug of Thunder, and hopefully isn’t an outlier on the record.

 

 

Below Average Song of the Week

 

Venus- Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly & James McAlister

It feels almost dirty to criticize this project. It’s very artsy, yes, but it’s also utterly unpretentious. An indie opera concept album about our solar system seems like the sort of novelty you’d buy in a museum gift shop for a soft-spoken workplace acquaintance’s birthday. There’s no real need for this song, or the whole album, to exist, but there doesn’t need to be. It’s just an abstract collaborative venture between a few musicians. No hooks, no structure, no obligations.

That said, if this is what Sufjan‘s been doing instead of writing new material then I’m kind of peeved because he always gets caught up in his weird ventures (remember Sisyphus?) and there’s huge gaps between proper albums.

 

Disappointing Song of the Week

The Louvre- Lorde

There’s already a substantial base of detractors bemoaning Lorde “selling out” with her new album’s direction. There are also ardent supporters who are proclaiming this the album of the year, some sort of landmark record. Neither extreme is true, but Melodrama definitely skews towards disappointment rather than masterpiece. It’s nowhere near the singular Pure Heroine, though it’ll probably do well commercially due to her rabid fanbase.

There are a few unabashed Taylor Swift rip-offs. There are a lot of cringeworthy lyrics. There are a few good moments as well! There’s also this song, “The Louvre”. As song that contains the words “hold a megaphone to my heart and hear it go boom boom boom boom boom”, and then proceeds to neither get loud like a megaphone nor go boom. Yes, it’s the return of the dreaded anti-chorus. The song pretends like it’s ramping up during the pre-chorus, and then goes small when it should go big. And it never goes big. Instead there’s just the clumsy cadence of the spoken “boom boom boom boom boom boom” line, which is not only annoying but seemingly counter-intuitive. On a record filled with dance club pop, this would have stood out had she pared the line down and followed it up with a rush of big drums and synths. Instead it’s a throwaway song that sabotages itself at every chorus.