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
In case it hasn’t become obvious over the past decade- Noel is the superior Gallagher brother. Wittier, more intellectual, and overall a better musician than Liam, he also has this strange habit of actually finishing his sets! Noel’s also unafraid of a little experimentation, while Liam’s still doling out the soccer hooligan pub fare he’s been doing since the Oasis days. On the latest record from the High Flying Birds Noel’s gone retro, and this chugging first single is unlike anything he’s ever done before. Brass instruments and a lead keyboard hook crisscross throughout the 1960s styled stomper that finds the elder Gallagher reinvigorated after a slightly turgid offering in 2015, showing that there’s a lot of neat ideas still left in his “potato head”.
Pretty Decent Song of the Week
Frank Turner‘s never shied away from personal matters; his biggest single “Recovery” was a diary entry put to music. Still, this song finds Turner sopping wet with emotion, to a degree that would make Snow Patrol blush. It’s some sort of ode to a loved one, played completely straight with little to no nuance in the lyrics. This doesn’t seem like a ringing endorsement, but the song is well structured and memorable enough to recommend. It’s kind of endearing to see an alternative punk go full-on love ballad.
Average Song of the Week
The song itself is just another Imagine Dragons inspiring endurance bro anthem, but what I find uncanny is that it sounds exactly like Fall Out Boy…and they also just released a song called Champion, that sounds completely different melodically but made out of the same elements. SpoOoOky.
Below Average Song of the Week
After having released one of the most critically panned albums ever, the only way the artfully pretentious New York duo could go was up. That’s really that could be said about this single- it’s not absolutely awful. It is however incredibly derivative and cheap-sounding, taking the most plastic parts of the 1980s and putting them together into an inoffensive tune. Hey MGMT and also every other music person out there: please make your 2018 resolution to leave the painfully overdone 80s revival behind.
Disappointing Song of the Week
I held off on doing a write-up about this song as I anticipated a wave of thinkpieces to emerge in the wake of its release, or maybe some sort of explanation from Swift herself. It’s been radio silence so far though, so it looks like the lyrics to this song are exactly as basic as they scan upon a cursory listen. And man, are they ever terrible lyrics.
Swift spends the entire song obsessing over some heartthrob’s good looks, which, while eye-rolling, isn’t anywhere near the most egregious part of the track. That would be the fact that she spends the three-or-so minutes relaying the message that she has absolutely no agency because this guy is “OMG so hAwT”, rendering both their actions meaningless because she is entirely transfixed with his physical attractiveness. She’s not responsible for what she does around him and vice versa. This would be bad coming from a teen starlet, but remember that Taylor Swift is now a twenty eight year-old woman. Something that she herself seems to have forgotten. She’s got Rivers Cuomo syndrome, permanently stuck in irrational teenager mode.
In fact it’s so reductive that even if Swift unveils some sort of sly double meaning like she did with the similarly shallow-at-face-value single “Blank Space”, the target demographic is going to be absorbing the Desperate Housewives type implication that beautiful people can get away with anything and it’s A-OK. Not a message that would have been great in any era, but especially irresponsible in the current climate.