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.
A lot of the new material from James Murphy seems to revolve around the theme of existential crises. The excellent kickoff single “american dream” told the story of an urban hipster seemingly past his prime and trying to cope with the void through drugs and meaningless hookups. Where that song had Murphy acting as an omniscient narrator, here he’s firmly in first-person mode and living through the crisis himself. A fever dream of a song, “i used to” tells the story of someone drifting between memories and consciousness. It’s a heady five-and-a-half-minute cut of electronic psychedelia in the grand tradition of LCD songs, but unlike the recently reviewed lacklustre “tonite”, it doesn’t make any promises it can’t keep. It swirls around and maintains the same gauzy mood as it descends into a final flurry of synthsizers.
Pretty Decent Song of the Week
Using echoes of the past to convey a message about looking to the future, Anna of the North and her billowy synths paint a
I like it because I relate to the lyrics.
Meh Song of the Week
The much vaunted indie rockers’ latest release is soooooo boring. “Day I Die” is one of the few exceptions on the largely molasses-filled record, full of chiming guitars and dynamic segments. It also sounds more like a latter-day Kings of Leon song than a National song, albeit a little more ambitious. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine Caleb Followill in pace of Matt Berninger though, and that sunny riff (and those jangly bridge chords!) could definitely be found somewhere on one of the Kings’ last two albums. It’s not the ideal look for the stately National crew, but it’s innocuous enough to fit on mainstream radio.
Below Average Song of the Week
Ah, here it is. After a few feints with some A+ singles over the past few months, the Foos finally drop their requisite guaranteed MOR radio filler. There’s not much to be said about this latest addition other than it fits right in with the band’s lesser canon. It’s this album’s “DOA”/”Long Road to Ruin”/”Walk”. A more able version of the Goo Goo Dolls stitching together moody minor key verses with an arms-outstretched major key chorus. Expect to be hearing it well into 2018.
Embarrassing Song of the Week
If you’re not already smirking at the completely straightfaced usage of both the song title and the artist name, maybe you’ll have a laugh or two after hearing the actual song. It’s basically B-Real reciting a PSA about the benefits of marijuana set to a Rage Against the Machine instrumental, and it’s just as corny as any government sponsored PSA against cannabis would be. The song itself isn’t totally inept, but it is aggressively uncool. It’s “””rebellious”””. It’s dad Rage.