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song reviews

James Blake and Bon Iver

"Fall Creek Boys Choir"

8

It's a match made in hipster heaven: The acclaimed electronica auteur teams up with the demigod of the beardy set. The result is gorgeous. On their first collaboration, James Blake and Bon Iver dip a stately gospel-soul ballad in Auto-Tune and that analog-tape-running-backward sucking sound. (And that barking noise is actually a Cuíca drum.) You can't make heads or tails of Justin Vernon's lyrics, which may be a good thing given his usual poetastery. But meaning doesn�... | More »

August 29, 2011

Florence and the Machine

"What the Water Gave Me

7

There are megawatts of raw power contained within Florence Welch's larynx, and she wrings out every last one on the first tune from her forthcoming second album. She takes her sweet time getting there, though. The track opens softly, with Welch cooing slightly spooky pastoral poetry ("Time, it took us to where the water was"). But soon enough, she's out-and-out howling about learning to let go after a failed relationship, ancient Greek giants and possibly drowning herself. Her veile... | More »

August 26, 2011

Yelawolf feat. Lil Jon

"Hard White (Up in the Club)"

7

The New Wave-haired Alabama rapper brings geeked-up fire to his first single on Eminem's label. Lil Jon "yeah"'s it up as Yela stalks the club, proudly spouting "hick" pride and making out like a thin white duke anyway. Listen to "Hard White (Up in the Club)": Related• Yelawolf is About to Get 'Radioactive'• Artist of the Week: Yelawolf | More »

August 24, 2011

Miranda Lambert

"Baggage Claim"

7

The country fire-starter who brought you "Gunpowder & Lead" gets back to what she does best: torching shit. Here, it's her needy man's baggage; putting it on the curb won't do. "Come and pick it up before I blow it up in flames," she belts. The emotional-baggage metaphor gets tortured, but the track is a funky country blues with a Zeppelin musk. Lambert simmers – a good-natured gal spitting hickory-smoked venom. Listen to "Baggage Claim": Related• Video: Miran... | More »

August 22, 2011

Das Racist

"Michael Jackson"

7

"I'm fucking great at rapping!" roars Himanshu Suri on the hip-hop provocateurs' new one. It's true – he and partner Victor Vazquez have only gotten cleverer since last year's name-making mixtapes. They go extra hard here, referencing Ritchie Valens and Oompa-Loompas over a tweaked-out beat. Listen to "Michael Jackson": Related• Video: Trickster Rappers Das Racist Joke Around Backstage at SXSW | More »

August 19, 2011

Coldplay

"Us Against The World"

7

These new songs – all debuted live in recent months but not yet released in studio versions – suggest Coldplay's forthcoming album may be more gritty, fun, strange and (yes) danceable than any so far: a Zooropa to the Unforgettable Fire of 2008's Viva la Vida. "Hurts Like Heaven" opened their Lollapalooza set with a word rush that occasionally recalled LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends," plus some outstanding guitar asides. Broadcast on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, "Charlie ... | More »

Coldplay

"Charlie Brown"

5

These new songs – all debuted live in recent months but not yet released in studio versions – suggest Coldplay's forthcoming album may be more gritty, fun, strange and (yes) danceable than any so far: a Zooropa to the Unforgettable Fire of 2008's Viva la Vida. "Hurts Like Heaven" opened their Lollapalooza set with a word rush that occasionally recalled LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends," plus some outstanding guitar asides. Broadcast on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, "Charlie ... | More »

Coldplay

"Princess of China"

6

These new songs – all debuted live in recent months but not yet released in studio versions – suggest Coldplay's forthcoming album may be more gritty, fun, strange and (yes) danceable than any so far: a Zooropa to the Unforgettable Fire of 2008's Viva la Vida. "Hurts Like Heaven" opened their Lollapalooza set with a word rush that occasionally recalled LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends," plus some outstanding guitar asides. Broadcast on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, "Charlie ... | More »

Coldplay

"Hurts Like Heaven"

7

These new songs – all debuted live in recent months but not yet released in studio versions – suggest Coldplay's forthcoming album may be more gritty, fun, strange and (yes) danceable than any so far: a Zooropa to the Unforgettable Fire of 2008's Viva la Vida. "Hurts Like Heaven" opened their Lollapalooza set with a word rush that occasionally recalled LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends," plus some outstanding guitar asides. Broadcast on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, "Charlie ... | More »

August 17, 2011

Blink-182

"Heart's All Gone"

6

The second taste of Blink's comeback LP reboots their bubblegum punk, setting a post-breakup bitchfest to shrink-wrapped hardcore that's pitched perfectly between the mosh pit and the food court. Listen to "Heart's All Gone": Related• How Blink-182's Teen Angst Grew Up• Song Review: Blink-182, "Up All Night" | More »

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Song Stories

“Bizness”

Tune-Yards | 2011

The opening track to Merrill Garbus’ second album under the Tune-Yards banner (she also plays in the trio Sister Suvi), “Bizness” is a song about relationships that is as colorful as the face paint favored by Garbus both live and in her videos. Disjointed funk bass, skittering African beats, diced-and-sliced horns and Garbus’ dynamic voice, which ranges from playful coos to throat-shredding howls, make “Bizness” reminiscent of another creative medium. “I'd like for them not to be songs as much as quilts or collages or something,” Garbus said.

More Song Stories entries »
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