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song reviews

Rick Ross

"I Love My Bitches"

8

Bitches aren't the only things that Rick Ross loves. For one thing, there's alliteration: "Bottles, Beamers, brandnew Benzes/Barbies, ballerinas and Britneys/Barbra Streisand-edition Bentleys." (One might add booming beats and boasts as big as that beard.) The first of two singles from the Miami MC's fifth solo album – God Forgives, I Don't, due out December 13th – is topnotch Ross, with the rapper delivering a torrent of witty brags (about everything from his ... | More »

October 12, 2011

B.o.B. feat. Lil' Wayne

"Strange Clouds"

6

On the kickoff to his second LP, the Atlanta rapper slings references to Nancy Kerrigan, Inception and Top Chef over a blippy dubstep beat from Dr. Luke. Wayne drops a wink-nudge verse about getting blitzed, but it’s B.o.B who lights up with a charming, tenacious flow.  Listen to "Strange Clouds": Related• Photos: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

October 10, 2011

Rostam

"Wood"

6

The Vampire Weekend talent pool runs deep. This elegant track from Rostam Batmanglij is a different flavor from his electro-pop project, Discovery, with its sitar, hand drums and strings; imagine David Byrne sleepwalking through a Bollywood musical. Listen to "Wood": Related• Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos | More »

October 6, 2011

Taio Cruz

"Hangover"

6

"I can drink until I throw up/And I don't ever, ever want to grow up," sings Taio Cruz – and can you blame him? Songs about partying yourself senseless are surefire these days, especially when bolstered by thudding production from Dr. Luke. Grimly effective, industrial strength party-pop. Listen to "Hangover": Related• Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos | More »

September 30, 2011

Olivia Tremor Control

"The Game You Play Is in Your Head, Parts 1, 2 & 3"

8

The reunited Georgia psych-pop crew's first single since the Nineties is a candy-colored daydream in three acts, totaling five minutes of exhilarating melodies and home-brewed sound effects. What a sweet surprise. Listen to "The Game You Play Is in Your Head, Parts 1, 2 & 3": Related• Live Review: The Olivia Tremor Control Bring the Old Magic Back• Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos | More »

September 28, 2011

Lou Reed and Metallica

"The View"

8

"I am the root/I am the progress/I am the aggressor," James Hetfield bellows like vengeance itself in the thundering spaces between Lou Reed's dry, unpitying harangue, in this song of destructive passion from Lulu, the strange-bedfellows record of the year. The full album runs the gamut of Reed and Metallica's respective extremes: his literary violence and love of drone, their wild-boy thrash and crushing power chords. But "The View" – with its crippled-march rhythm, sudden ju... | More »

September 26, 2011

Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris

"We Found Love"

4

The first release from Rihanna's as-yet-untitled sixth LP is much ado about very little indeed. Scottish Euro-dance specialist Calvin Harris tosses pumped-up synths and 4/4 beats at an insipid tune and half-baked romantic catch-phrase - "We found love in a hopeless place" - which RiRi repeats approximately 350 times, hoping it will start to mean something. It's the worst single of Rihanna’s career. It will probably top the Hot 100 anyway. Listen to "W... | More »

Dev

"In The Dark"

6

This California electrohop diva is known for her slithering monotone on Far East Movement's "Like a G6." Here, Dev speak-sings about her sex drive over a Nineties Latin house beat like a top-shelf version of Ke$ha – seductive, not sleazy. Listen to "In The Dark": Related• Photos: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

September 23, 2011

Lana Del Rey

"Video Games"

6

With her self-described "gangster Nancy Sinatra" look and crackedactress name, Lana Del Rey has a burnt mystique that's almost as striking as her debut single's torpid majesty. Del Rey (real name Lizzy Grant) stretches her sloshed-succubus pout over an orchestral track somewhere between Cat Power and Fiona Apple, as she evokes a jobless afternoon of cheap, lazy splendor: "Kissing in the blue dark/Playing pool and wild darts/Video games?" The beautifully washed-out video only adds to... | More »

September 22, 2011

Daft Punk

"Drive"

6

If Daft Punk are the Beatles of dance music, then this lost 1994 nugget – from a new compilation celebrating Scottish label Soma's 20th birthday – is their Cavern Club: all adrenaline, sweat and raw aggression. (Their Pete Best? A vintage Roland 909 drum machine, duh.) Don't expect any glitter-caked disco samples, though. Three years before their breakthrough LP, Homework (and way before the robot costumes and psychedelic pyramids), Daft Punk specialized in twisted, brut... | More »

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Song Stories

“Wake Up Everybody”

John Legend and the Roots | 2010

A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

More Song Stories entries »
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