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song reviews

Red Hot Chili Peppers

"The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie"

6

Click here to listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers' "The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie" It's reassuring to realize just how little the Chilis have changed in the five years since their last album—or in the two decades since Blood Sugar Sex Magik, for that matter. So what if guitarist John Frusciante quit (again) during their most recent hiatus? The remaining members seem to be the same lovable goofballs as always. Their big comeback single, from August 30th's I'm ... | More »

July 15, 2011

Blink-182

"Up All Night"

7

It's not exactly the "prog-rock Blink" that guitarist Tom DeLonge teased, but on their first track in six years, the reunited neo-punks do get loopier than ever. The three-and-a-half minute anthem synthesizes the ideas already brewing on the Greatest Hits cut "Not Now": Jagged riffs smash into warbled sci-fi synths, as DeLonge and bassist Mark Hoppus trade glum proverbs — "Everyone lives to tell the tale of how we die alone someday," Hoppus wails — before wrapping it all up i... | More »

July 5, 2011

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

"Same Mistake"

7

One of the past decade’s biggest blog-buzz acts brightens up on their first single in four years, garnishing their guitars with cascading strings and disco-rock rhythms. Alec Ounsworth even smooths out his dying-cat vocals, sounding more like poppy solo Tom Verlaine than quirky Television Verlaine. Listen to "Same Mistake": Related: • Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos | More »

June 30, 2011

Drake

"Marvin's Room"

7

Drake loads up on rosé and cognac, drunk-dials his ex and spills his guts over a noirishly spare beat. The result is bummer-rap-as-high- comedy, with Drake offering candid thoughts on his ex’s new BF (he’s not a fan) – and bragging about his busy love life. Listen to "Marvin's Room": Related: • Photos: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

June 29, 2011

Lloyd feat. Lil Wayne and Andre 3000

"Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)"

8

Lloyd's "Dedication to My Ex" could be 2011's "Fuck You" – the crazy catchy, joyfully profane, vaguely retro R&B song that sweeps the internet. Over a slinky, organ-splashed groove that could have come from a Raphael Saadiq album (or Frat Rock!), Lloyd bemoans an unfaithful lady while his backup singers unleash an extremely grandma-unfriendly refrain: "I miss that pussy, that pussy, that pussy, that pussy!" Andre 3000's cameo, packed with slick wordplay and delivered ... | More »

Wilco

"I Might"

8

For their first release since leaving the major label game and hanging their own shingle (what took so long?), Wilco deliver a seven-inch single that sounds like it was knocked out by a garage band, albeit a knowing one. "It's alright/You won't set the kids on fire/Oh I might," sings Jeff Tweedy, like he's having a late night talk to the mirror after some teenagers yelled "Dad rocker!" at him outside the mini-mart. Mikael Jorgensen adds some nasty-sounding Farfisa organ, guitar... | More »

June 28, 2011

Morrissey

"Action Is My Middle Name"

7

The Mozzer recently announced that he has a new album all ready to go – just no label to release it. (Label? What is this, the freaking Nineties?) Morrissey debuted three of the new tracks live on BBC radio. Each song is in the heavy glam-rock mode of his last couple of solo albums, but the clear keeper of the bunch is the brilliantly titled "Action Is My Middle Name," exactly the kind of sardonically obsessive sex rant Morrissey has always done so well. He tries to convince some... | More »

June 24, 2011

Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine

"Stereo Heart"

6

Travie McCoy doesn’t work in a specific genre – unless "crossover" is a genre. And this potential summer smash, cut with his band Gym Class Heroes, highlights his skill at pop that floats between styles. "Stereo Heart" is a little bit hip-hop, a little bit disco, a little bit dark-synthed club music; and, with Adam Levine replacing Bruno Mars on the hook, it’s a lot like Travie’s hit "Billionaire." When Levine croons, "Make me your radio," it also (unintentionally?) ch... | More »

June 22, 2011

Lenny Kravitz

"Stand"

6

The first single from Kravitz's Black and White America, due out August 30th, borrows the melodic phrasing of vintage cranky Elvis Costello, yet still somehow sounds like a groovy windows-down, volume-up summer hit. It's fluffy stuff, but also a welcome curveball. Listen to "Stand": Related: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

June 20, 2011

Wild Flag

"Romance"

8

A study in supergroup chemistry: The first taste of the Sleater-Kinney/ Helium/Minders alums’ debut LP (due in September) harnesses their old bands' strengths into a fresh blast of giddy garage-psych ambition. Listen to "Romance": RELATED: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »

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Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

More Song Stories entries »
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