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.
Is it time to revive the 2000s yet? Courage My Love think so, and they nail the sound of the early part of that decade with their cover of k.d. lang‘s smoky noir ballad turned electro-jam. The bold, clear production sounds not too unlike fellow Canadian alternative pop act Jakalope, an encouraging sign that some alternative artists still recognize that it’s the 21st century and songs should sound like they were recorded in it.
Pretty Decent Song of the Week
Apparently there’s some sort of grand overarching mythology connecting all the songs on Science Fiction, in addition to connecting the album to Brand New‘s other works. I dunno, I don’t have time to sift through all the online theories. That said, it is fascinating to have watched Jesse Lacey‘s journey between belief and doubt, and how the themes from The Devil and God surface again within the framework of esoteric and mystical references. Cthulu and Salem are both used as narrative tools on the murky “Lit Me Up”, as Lacey struggles with the last vestiges of his faith over a pitch black soundscape that can only be described as an “electronic grunge dirge”. The spectre of Nirvana‘s “Come As You Are” hangs over the swampy bass, and the bleary keyboards evoke a dark dream world within a black hole, strange territory that the band has never quite visited before.
Meh Song of the Week
The biggest band in the world are back…and they sound exactly how you’d expect U2 in 2017 would sound. All this year they’ve been hinting that they’re returning to rock, that they’re ~very mad and angry~, and they deliver on both those fronts in precisely the way you imagine they would. It’s smack dab in the middle of the road, neither offensive nor memorable. It also sounds strangely like what oneRepublic would consider a fist-pumping anthem. There’s a little of “The Fly” in there, a bass line that distantly echoes “New Year’s Day”, and a hook right out of “Hold Me, Kiss Me…”. Looking for a high profile jam for your sports montage? Here you are! Looking for a single to remind the world that U2 have returned? Wait a bit more- this is just a promo single rather than the proper radio single that’s on the way.
Below Average Song of the Week
At precisely 1:20 into “tonite”, James Murphy sets the anticipation level at high. It’s just one synth chord, but it hints at something big. “It feels like forever” he sings at that moment, and it does. Because for the rest of the song you wait and wait for the big wave of sound promised by that one chord, and it never comes. You think it’ll hit from 2:31- 2:38? Nope. There’s no payoff at all. It’s five minutes of build-up and no release, a six minute road to nowhere.
Disappointing Song of the Week
Everyone’s familiar with a bad chorus, or even no chorus. How about the fragment of a chorus? That’s what happens here, where the song totally falls apart for no reason when it’s supposed to…not fall apart. It sounds like the band tried to figure out what they’d do once they got there, then just left it incomplete. The stop-start nature of it makes it seem like a rehearsal rather than a finished product. The third chord literally sounds like the keyboardist is hesitating before playing it, and the only lyrics are “….feel as lonely as i do…..as i do”. A total shame, as it wastes some really creative use of auto-tune, not to mention the cool cover art.