Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head ever week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, noise rockers HEALTH and industrial icons Nine Inch Nails are a match made in end-of-days heaven.
Catharsis can take many curious forms: a good cry after a film, the euphoria among strangers dancing to an electric piece of pop, a long run (allegedly). Then, there’s HEALTH and Nine Inch Nails, two groups that have long harnessed the power of noise as their tool of choice, actively defying expectations at every turn along the way. This week’s collaborative release is no exception.
“ISN’T EVERYONE” is churning and intentionally grating, and feels in line with both groups in terms of production and lyricism. “Nothing matters/ We’re all to blame (isn’t everyone?)” could have been pulled from multiple eras from either group, but feels particularly like a return to form for the members of Nine Inch Nails.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross simply have the range: Their skillset is so strong that they’re able to pivot from an Oscar-winning score for something as life-affirming as Pixar’s Soul back to the grittiness that propelled them to fame as a band in the first place. If we must live in this broken world, let us have, at the very least, some damn good tunes to listen to while we wallow in our dystopian fate.
HEALTH and Nine Inch Nails have always provided the soundtrack for this specific kind of catharsis: a track that feels claustrophobic until it feels like a release. Perhaps best of all, when asked about the song, the members of HEALTH only had the following to say: “It’s fucking Nine Inch Nails. That speaks for itself. You don’t need a clever quote to encapsulate it.”
— Mary Siroky
McKinley Dixon — “Twist My Hair” (feat. Deau Eyes)
Our Artist of the Month, McKinley Dixon, has completed an ambitious album trilogy with For My Mama and Anyone Who Look Like Her. LP closer “Twist My Hair” features melodies from Deau Eyes and is a journey in and of itself, a fitting finale for an artist clearly on a journey. It’s jazz; it’s spoken word; it’s a homecoming and an exhale. In a Track by Track breakdown of the album, he told Consequence, “After the chaoticism of the album, [this song] is the rest.” The album is a quiet exploration of grief, unpacking the difficult process of loss, and the final track tethers the moving parts together in as neat of a bow as possible. — Mary Siroky
Lydia Ainsworth — “Cosmic Dust”
“Cosmic Dust” is the perfect title for the recent track from Lydia Ainsworth: On it, the Canadian singer-songwriter has one foot in the past (dripping in the shimmering sounds of a ‘90s beat), the other in a future of her own daydream. The orchestral flourishes throughout add to the track’s breezy quality, leaving the listener floating in Ainsworth’s capable wake. There’s a bit of a nostalgic quality to her vocals, allowing her decade-spanning winks to all shine. “Cosmic Dust” arrives ahead of the artist’s next album, Sparkles and Debris, set for release on May 21st. — Mary Siroky
LUMP — “Animal”
In describing their upcoming album, Animal, reunited duo LUMP (Laura Marling and Tunng founding member Mike Lindsay) said, “There’s a bit of a theme of hedonism on the album, of desires running wild.” The title track arrived this week, and is certainly indulgent: quirky, uninhibited production cascades in and out of languishing vocal interludes. The track encourages the listener to give into impulse, and does so by leading the way, meandering and exploring in an exciting, formless journey all its own. — Mary Siroky
MARINA — “Purge The Poison (feat. Pussy Riot)”
Welsh pop singer MARINA has recruited Russian protest group Pussy Riot for a rousing remix of “Purge the Poison,” which reflects on environmentalism (“Protectin’ the planet, healin’ our own damage”) as well as “female and queer power,” as Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova noted in a statement. “Matriarchy runs the state/ we are here to dominate,” Tolokonnikova sings on her new verse. The collab precedes Marina’s fifth album Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land, due in June. RIP to the patriarchy! — Gab Ginsberg
Top Songs Playlist
Check out and subscribe to our Spotify Top Songs playlist.