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song reviews

Weezer

"Paranoid Android"

5

Weezer don't flex their art-rock muscles often, so it's understandable they'd want to cover Radiohead's gloom anthem. At the end of their note-perfect rendition — recorded as a Web-only lark — someone says, "That was so cool." Well, sorta. But mainly boring. If they'd made it sound like a Weezer song, that would have been so cool.  Listen to Weezer's cover of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android": Gallery: The Week's Hottest Liv... | More »

June 10, 2011

Beyonce

"Best Thing I Never Had"

6

"You showed your ass, and baby, I saw the real you," Beyoncé sings with monsoon fury on her new single, giving the Real Housewives of R&B the perfect pinot-grigio-powered bomb to drop before sending a 9-iron through his windshield. "Best Thing" is a welcome blast of sass after the niceties of "1 + 1." Co-written by Babyface, its balladic surge promises sunshine and unicorns, but B turns it on its ear with man-strafing soul venom; she even yanks the line "sucks to be you right ... | More »

June 8, 2011

The Weeknd

"Rolling Stone"

7

"I'm-a keep on smoking till I can't hit another note," sings R&B buzz magnet Abel Tesfaye on this narcotic jam (whose title refers to the Earth, not this mag). Rather than slow him down, weed seems to give him vocal superpowers, as he sends his icy croon into the stratosphere over acoustic guitar. Listen to The Weeknd's "Rolling Stone": Artist to Watch: The Weeknd Gallery: Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos | More »

June 6, 2011

Ivy

"Distant Lights"

6

Click here to listen to Ivy's Distant Lights New York pop trio Ivy make melancholy sound chic. This new single is typically seductive: sleek beat, wistful melody and a vaguely noirish scene set by Dominique Durand in a voice pitched halfway between a coo and a sigh. Gallery: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

Limp Bizkit

"Shotgun"

5

The new jizz-oint from Bizkit's first disc in six years clings defiantly to the frat-tastic funk of circa-1999 rap rock — complete with "a shout to you ladies with the hot tits." So, welcome back Fred Durst, a 40-year-old man who still says "tits." Listen to "Shotgun": Gallery: Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos | More »

June 3, 2011

Coldplay

"Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"

7

Chris Martin says Coldplay's upcoming album is influenced by old-school New York graffiti, and in a recent photo the bandmates are dressed in neon chillwear like they just walked off the set of Breakin' 3: A Brit-Pop Odyssey. But the first single doesn't go for the sound of early hip-hop so much as its sense of year-zero possibility. Over a rave-tinged keyboard melody, leavened by producer Brian Eno's rainforest-of-the-soul ambience, Martin sings of kids dancing until morn... | More »

Lil Wayne

"How to Love"

7

How to love? Lil Wayne has a theory. You grab an acoustic guitar. You toss in some strings. You rap a little, sing a little, whisper sweet nothings: "I admire your poppin' bottles and dippin'/Just as much as you admire bartendin' and strippin'." This Tha Carter IV single is a casual ground-breaker – the gentlest, most melodic rap ballad since LL Cool J's "I Need Love." Wayne sings prettily – though he uses Auto-Tune, he doesn't sound like the cyborg W... | More »

Romeo Santos

"You"

7

Romeo Santos — who, in Aventura, fronted the world's most popular Latin band — is a ladykiller with an unearthly falsetto that recalls Aaron Neville's. His debut solo single blends Dominican bachata with R&B — plus coos and come-ons in Spanish and English — with predictably suave results. Listen to "You": Gallery: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

June 2, 2011

Yuck

"Milkshake"

8

The fuzz-rock revivalists slow down for a pretty, poppy ballad about nursing a broken heart by getting stoned. "Milk­shake," released as half of a one-off single, probably would have been all over the radio 20 years ago - and the melody is so sticky-sweet that you almost feel like it could do the same today. Listen to "Milkshake": Gallery: Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos | More »

June 1, 2011

Arctic Monkeys

"Reckless Serenade"

7

Over a "Sweet Jane" bass line, Alex Turner sings the praises of a girl so awesome that "topless models doing semaphore wave their flags as she walks by and get ignored." Sounds like a catch! The slinky surf-guitar melody is pretty fetching too. Listen to "Reckless Serenade": Gallery: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »
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