Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each 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, BTS return to their roots with the swaggering, confident “Run BTS.”
“Okay, let’s go,” SUGA directs at the start of “Run BTS,” one of the new tracks on BTS’ anthology album, PROOF (out today, June 10th). The album is dense, 48 tracks pulled from the group’s nine years of activity so far. “Run BTS” is one of the brand new offerings, kicking off Disc 2 of the three-part collection.
The title of the song has nothing to do with BTS’ longstanding variety show of the same name, and everything to do with the fact that the members of BTS have been “running” virtually nonstop since their debut in 2013 — the driving guitar and energetic beat recall some of the more unhinged energy of earlier eras of the group. This time, though, the song isn’t being performed by a group of seven young men trying their very best to make their way, but by a septet of confident adults who have achieved things beyond their wildest dreams.
There are references to the many hardships they encountered in their past — the looming threat of being sent home during their days as trainees, their old address in a one-bedroom dorm where they all resided, and an old studio that often flooded when it rained too much. SUGA is completely in his bag on his verse, his rapid-fire flow lending itself to one of his best offerings in recent memory: “The reason behind Bangtan’s success? I don’t know if there’s something like that/ All of us just run hard/ No matter what, we just run,” he says.”
“Comfort? Got them (Got them)/ Principles, got them (Got them)/ Good music, got them (Got them)/ Good team? Goddamn,” RM replies. Jimin and Jin’s vocals soar during the pre-chorus, before V’s rich baritone and Jungkook’s reliable riffs keep the energy careening forward. And, as usual, J-Hope nearly steals the show by the time his verse closes things out.
This kind of (well-earned) confidence that teeters into flexing hasn’t really been front and center on a BTS track like this since the days of “Mic Drop,” but if there was any time for these boys to take a step back and tally up their achievements, it was this present moment. The whiplash from “Yet To Come” into this explosion of energy is welcomed.
— Mary Siroky
Laura Veirs – “Eucalyptus”
Singer-songwriter Laura Viers begins her latest single by recounting her morning run. Thematic relevance notwithstanding, it’s a perfect setup for the pulsing, repetitive, increasingly rewarding “Eucalyptus.” The track slowly builds, adding and subtracting elements from the baseline of scattered drums. Yet, it doesn’t climax with an explosion of sound or a sticky refrain. Instead, much like a run, it returns to where it started — in this case, the sound of rain.
The upcoming Found Light Out is Viers twelfth studio album, though her first since separating from husband and producer Tucker Martine. The singles thus far see Viers taking the reins and learning from such an experience. “Eucalyptus” is no different, as Viers remains defiant, rejects cynicism, and refuses to cease the effort she puts into herself. — Jonah Krueger
more* – “I Believe In You”
You can tell alt-pop duo more* like to spend time in the studio. Their songs are meticulously layered, featuring a variety of sounds and timbres that all come together in service of the song. In that way, it comes across as almost effortless. But the density of their sonics is anything but slapped together. Their latest single “I Believe In You” showcases that even when they take it softer and slower, they don’t have to sacrifice an ounce of their studio playfulness.
Built on an acoustic guitar, a love-sick bassline, and vocals that are sung just barely over the volume of a whisper, more* can’t help but fill the song with auditory embellishments. Luckily, it works towards the tune’s benefit, as lo-fi harmonies, slinky guitar lines, and even a dash of pedal steel supplement the somewhat downtrodden vibe. It’s another strong showing from the group that has too much fun with their day. — J.K.
Rachel Bobbitt – “What About The Kids”
Rachel Bobbitt’s tender, shimmering voice has the capacity to carry a massive weight of emotion — a weapon she wields very carefully. “What About The Kids” finds Bobbitt conveying the difficult reality of parents experiencing trauma and children not knowing quite what it means; the tension she investigates builds throughout the verses, until the remark “don’t let the kids see” cues a satisfying chord shift, adding a layer of sadness and relief at the same time.
With her new EP, The Ceiling Could Collapse (out July 15th), Bobbitt seems to be picking up where she left off on her terrific 2020 EP, And It’s The Same, but with more wisdom and courage than ever. — Paolo Ragusa
Madison Cunningham – “Hospital”
LA based singer-songwriter Madison Cunningham has returned with the excellent “Hospital,” and well on display is her radiant voice and her guitar mastery. The fuzzy crunch from Cunningham’s guitar work is both classic and wildly emotive, and her soaring vocals are pristine and inspired. As she gears up to release her new album Revealer (out Sept 9th), “Hospital” points to Cunningham embracing a playful style of rock that fits her storytelling candor perfectly. — P.R.
The A’s – “He Needs Me”
It might seem unconventional for a brand new group’s first single to be a cover, or that the cover would be from a song originally written for the live-action Popeye film from 1980 — but The A’s seem to be anything but a conventional group. In this track, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Meath provide a new take on Harry Nilsson’s Popeye classic, stripping down the instrumental to a muted, minimalist production with charming vocal harmonies.
The original song was already nostalgic, but The A’s seem to take this nostalgia, throw it in a blender, and make something entirely fresh with it. It’s weird, it’s fun, it feels simultaneously from this moment and from another world, at times it feels like they’re… about to break into a yodel? To say it’s enchanting is an understatement. — André Heizer
Belot – “Driving To LA”
If your body doesn’t immediately start moving within the first second of this song, you might not be a human. The crusty synth bass lures you in with a bouncy lick, and you suddenly find yourself in the passenger seat of a shiny convertible going 100mph on I-5. Off Belot’s latest EP Harmless Fun, this song is an electro-pop explosion perfect for the dance floor, but full of genuine emotion about growing up, growing apart, and taking agency of your future. Also, it’s just a sick groove. — A.H.
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