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.
If Lorde‘s abdicated the throne of dark mistress of darkness, perhaps it’s Grace Mitchell who can sit herself down in that seat. The Oregon-born ingenue doesn’t have too much of a catalogue to pore over, but it definitely seems like she’s vying for the title of Lorde 2.0. So far, she is doing a pretty decent job! The first time many people heard of the very red-headed Portland native was when the then 16-year old prodigy covered Hall and Oates‘ classic “Maneater” for the Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack back in 2013. She’s gearing up to introduce the world to her original work on a grand stage, playing not only WayHome but also this year’s Coachella, and there’s been a smattering of new material released over the course of the past year.
This is the latest offering, and it’s a heavy-hitter that makes Lorde’s “dark” songs sound like Anne Murray ballads. A demonic chorus of pitch-shifted vocals hit what sounds like the lowest bass note possible, and the whole affair evokes a nightmarish post-party scene in a Los Angeles ghetto at 3:00 AM. Mitchell’s husky voice sets her apart from the dozens of singers trying so hard to be the next Ella Yellich-O’Connor, and adds the dramatic weight this song requires.
Pretty Decent Song of the Week
The sisterly trio’s new album was strangely overlooked by both mainstream and indie publications, not receiving either disastrous scorn or critical praise. No crossover singles, no song of the summer, it just sort of happened and then life moved on. Most of it is more of the same Wilson Phillips lite 80s pop, but right at the end there’s this sombre, down-tuned ballad that straddles the line of melodrama ever so finely. There’s a totally unnecessary chord progression directly in the middle of the song, but the choral bloom that fills the second half of the song fully makes up for it.
Meh Song of the Week
Uh, Canadian hipsters have been losing their minds over this dude for the past month…he’s just a CBC version of City and Colour? Ok, fine, I guess.
Below Average Song of the Week
Chillwave was a genre best known for sounding like it was recorded onto cassettes. The whole aesthetic was based around that one EQ’d drumbeat that was imported through a land line from the 1980s. Somehow this band doesn’t even get that right, and instead throws shoddily recorded guitars over the cheesiest computer percussion available. There’s one squiggly synth flourish that sounds like it might save the song, but Then the incredibly annoying Vampire Weekend-knockoff singer comes in and the whole thing becomes bottom-of-the-barrel “indie pop”. This is the type of band that perpetually opens for third-tier radio filler bands.
Terrible Song of the Week
Every so often this final portion gets rechristened from “disappointing” to “terrible” because there is not one single redeeming quality to the song. Such is the case with this abomination that barely qualifies as “music”. It’s some sort of horrific ambience that sounds like it would be playing in the basement of a guy who has a plastic tub of worms as pets. He cuts out pictures of people’s faces in magazines and scratches out their eyes, then makes a collage out of them. He then takes a film photograph of his collage and brings the negative to an underground club that is only open on the 23rd day of each month and only serves turnip root juice. They are also playing this awful noise, and they think it is pure “””””ART!!!!”””””. They hang basement guy’s negatives on the wall as a “local artist exhibit”, next to the garbage can full of melted dolls (that is also an exhibit). Playing on their TV is VHS footage of surgeries from the local hospital’s training video from 1981.
Anyway, I have no idea why iTunes had this mess on their front page.