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song reviews

Lil Wayne feat. Drake

"She Will"

6

The latest leak from the forthcoming Carter IV is a case of the mentor (Lil Wayne) trying on the style of the protege (Drake). "She Will" is emo-rap, a moody ode to a loose woman, complete with a brooding beat by T-Minus and plaintive chorus rap-crooned by Drake himself. But in the verses, Wayne can't repress his playful nature, or his way with punchlines. "Some people hang you out to dry like a towel rack," Weezy raps." I'm all about 'I' – give the rest of the vowel... | More »

August 12, 2011

Feist

"How Come You Never Go There"

7

It ain't exactly a party-starter. The first single from Metals, Leslie Feist's hotly anticipated third album, is a total downer, a bruising ballad about a fracturing romance. ("How come you never go there?/How come I'm so alone there?" Feist sings.) But the music is riveting: a tense soul-blues vamp, spiced with horns and raggedy electric guitar, with Feist's clear, piercing voice—at once sad, remorseful and accusatory—demanding your attention all the whi... | More »

August 10, 2011

Pusha-T feat. Tyler, the Creator

"Trouble On My Mind"

7

They don't sound troubled, actually. This is a model of unruffled swagger, with the Clipse's Pusha-T unfurling crack-rap metaphors and gloating over bin Laden's death, while Odd Future's Tyler, the Creator brags about sexploits - and, for some reason, his "ironed pair of Dockers." Listen to "Trouble On My Mind": Related• Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos | More »

August 9, 2011

Evanescence

"What You Want"

6

On the lead single from Evanescence's third album (and first in five years), Amy Lee trades anguish for defiance, goosing her wail with welcome sass. Still, she's nearly overrun by the music, a collision of two-ton guitars, strings and piano. Listen to "What You Want": Related• Evanescence's Amy Lee Thrilled to Return After Five-Year Break• Photos: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

August 8, 2011

Drake

"Headlines"

6

The voices in and outside of Drake's head tussle on his first official Take Care single. "I had someone tell me I fell off; ooh, I needed that," he reflects, snares clacking away at some of his deftest rhymes since the spotlight-thrusting So Far Gone mixtape. The spare beat never takes off, and the hook is a slight thing, almost an afterthought – or maybe the clearest sign that even with booze, cynics and fame buzzing about, hip-hop's great hope isn’t overeager to please... | More »

August 4, 2011

Mumford & Sons

"Untitled"

7

This still-nameless ballad (fans are calling it "Home") sounds like Arcade Fire reborn as a string band. Cut live in a radio station, it's a slow-builder that threatens to explode but never does. it may be a taste of Mums' upcoming LP; either way, its sad hunger feels universal. | More »

August 3, 2011

SuperHeavy

"Miracle Worker"

7

People don’t often use the term "world music" anymore, but the first offering from Superheavy — Mick Jagger's collaboration with Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Damian Marley and Indian theatrical composer A.R. Rahman — is some pretty worldly stuff. Jagger really goes for it, tasting every word he rolls out over the soul-splashed roots-reggae groove, which is cut with a gorgeous fiddle melody strung between Nashville and Istanbul. It's a summertime single built for every... | More »

Jane's Addiction

"Irresistible Force"

6

This single — from The Great Escape Artist, Jane's Addiction's first album in eight years, due September 27th — comes on like an art-metal freak show set on some distant planet. It opens with Perry Farrell sounding like Carl Sagan in an episode of Cosmos, musing ominously about the stars and some sort of big bang. The verses are built around droning funk, as the band backs Farrell's ponderings with a rubbery bass line and some clattering percussion. But then Farr... | More »

August 2, 2011

Bon Iver

"Come Talk To Me"

7

This B side revives a 1992 Peter Gabriel original with acoustic banjo plucks and Justin Vernon's layered cries. When Vernon sings, "The heart, it will not be denied/Till we're both on the same damn side," and summons the yearning chorus, it's damn near unearthly. Listen to "Come Talk To Me": Related• Bon Iver Kick Off Tour With Magnificent Milwaukee Show• Review: Bon Iver, Bon Iver• Why Bon Iver Had to Relearn Everything He Knows | More »

July 29, 2011

DJ Shadow feat. Afrikan Boy

"I'm Excited"

4

Shadow's music used to be touched by the uncanny; this may be the clunkiest thing he's done. Stray, seemingly found noises give the groove ridges, but it's so busy it never finds its footing. Listen to "I'm Excited": Related• Photos: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »
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