.

song reviews

Curren$y and Action Bronson

"Godfather Four"

6

Diabolically stoned NOLA rapper Curren$y and Ghostface Killah-steeped nutjob Action Bronson toast their own hustle over this dreamily plush track. Bronson raps, "Billy Crystal kissed my cheek before the Oscars/He said, 'It was my pleasure,' I said, 'Don't touch my leather.'" Now that's living. | More »

Metronomy

"Love Letters"

7

Hearing this indie-pop mash note to classic AM gold, it's tough to remember that these Brits started out as electronica wiseacres. Over earnest organ pump and trumpet, singer Joe Mount blends Abba voices and Dexy's hooks till the Seventies bleed into the Eighties. "Yeah, I'll keep on writing," he shouts, bouncing like Macca at a Wings show. | More »

January 10, 2014

St. Vincent

"Digital Witness"

7

On the second single from her upcoming album, rising cult star (and David Byrne protégée) Annie Clark gets as close to full-on pop as she ever has. Bouncy robo-horns and shaky-on-purpose vocals slide into a retro-futurist chorus that hits like classic Madonna. It's the sound of an art-pop weirdo throwing a curveball by playing it delightfully straight. | More »

Vampire Weekend feat. Danny Brown, Despot and Heems

"Step (Remix)"

8

A rewind of the harpsichord-centric Modern Vampires of the City highlight ditches Ezra Koenig's verses to let three MCs riff. In the song's spirit, Heems flashes back to Wesleyan days, Despot quotes Robert Frost, and Danny Brown hazily imagines a bridal bouquet. For a jam inspired by both Bread and Souls of Mischief, it's perfect. | More »

Run the Jewels feat. DJ Qbert

"Pew Pew Pew”

7

Conjuring both Run-DMC and Company Flow, this turned up as a bonus cut on the U.K. version of El-P and Killer Mike's double-team debut from 2013, with a menacing El-P beat and battle-grade scratching from DJ Qbert. "Tag team of the goddamn century," spits El on verse five, by which point it's tough to refute him. | More »

Sbtrkt feat. Jessie Ware, Sampha and Tic

"Runaway"

6

Mysterious U.K. dance producer Sbtrkt floats the voices of singers Ware and Sampha over a twitchy beat and warm, ghostly synths for a 75-second wisp of a snippet of a track. It's the spirit of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?" haunting the club as a benevolent EDM apparition. | More »

Silversun Pickups

"Cannibal"

6

These alt-rockers have never been shy about admitting they watched a lot of 120 Minutes back in the day, and on this new track they continue to fine-tune their mix of fuzzy guitar chug and glassy beats. It sounds like the techno side project Billy Corgan never got around to foisting on us circa 1999. | More »

Drake

"Trophies"

6

Drake winds up his massive year by giving himself the only award that matters: the gift of reminding himself that he's Drake. Over a Hit-Boy beat that sounds like the Rocky theme dipped in champagne, he informs us that "this shit is not a love song, this a fuck-a-stripper-on-a-mink-rug song." Hey, you can't do that with a Grammy. | More »

December 2, 2013

Bruce Springsteen

"High Hopes"

8

The theme of this spirited cover (from Springsteen's new LP, due January 14th) is bedrock Bruce – the struggle for love and prosperity in a nation where, as original songwriter Tim Scott McConnell put it, "you pay for everything." The revelatory beat merges Caribbean percussion, New Orleans swing and Bo Diddley stomp, topped with scorched-earth wah-wah guitar from Tom Morello. It's music that pushes past desperation into the rotten heart of Saturday night. | More »

U2

"Ordinary Love"

8

U2's return starts like funky church–synth-choir hosanna and the gentle hammering of electric piano – and rolls with steady, compelling restraint. Bono fires a few bolts of falsetto in the chorus, and the Edge's terse guitar break suggests the ring of a wounded church bell. But "Ordinary Love" is about the seeds of dreams, and U2 play it perfectly: down-to-earth, while looking up. | More »

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com