"All the Time"
After the curveball Atari falsetto rush of "One Way Trigger," the Strokes drop another jam from the pending Comedown Machine, and it's 2001 all over again: a tuneful, tight, three-minute rocker tossed into an EDM-ish pop scene like a louche grenade. Even better, they've bulked up a bit and sound like U2 flipping through old indie-rock 45s. | More »
Usher and Diplo's last collaboration was the sonically nuanced, sex-tacularly sensitive "Climax." Their new one isn't so subtle, with Usher trying to persuade a woman to ditch the schmo she came to the club with and high-tail it back to his pleasure cave for some first-class Ushin'. "A chance like this only happens once in a lifetime," he informs her, like the Mr. Roarke of hitting it on the down-low. Diplo's glowering synth stabs give the track a nervous, predatory throb. | More »
"Over the Rainbow" it ain't. Still, the theme song from Disney's The Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz the Great and Powerful, has its modest virtues: an instant earworm chorus, deft production by Stargate and, just where you'd expect them (on the other side of the third chorus), some flamboyant vocal runs from Ms. Carey. | More »
"A Tattered Line of String"
The first new song in a decade from Ben Gibbard's much-beloved synth-pop duo doesn't quite reach the heights of their 2003 bedroom-glitch-pop grail, Give Up. But the guy can still adjudicate post-hookup awkwardness over Depeche Modean tinkle like no one else. | More »
There would be no Flo Rida had there not first been a Nelly showing how to take half-sung, half-rapped party anthems to the top of the charts. Now, though, the flow of influence has reversed. "Hey Porsche" is a shameless, nearly note-for-note rewrite of Flo Rida's "Whistle," catchy but pitiful: That smell isn't exhaust fumes, it's desperation. | More »
"The Rise of the Ghostface Killah"
A spaghetti-Western-flavored origin story delivered with typical irresistible flair – from the strangulated sample of Ol' Dirty Bastard calling Ghost's name to lines like, "Colombian neckties from a black Gambino/Bodies get dumped in the black El Camino." Listen to "The Rise of the Ghostface Killah": | More »
"Started From the Bottom"
Drake's new single arrived on the Internet with Cliff's Notes: an open letter from the man himself. "I feel sometimes that people don't have enough information about my beginnings," he wrote. "Started From the Bottom" doesn't exactly fill in the blanks – we learn Drake used to argue with his mom and sometimes borrowed his uncle's car. The real statement is the revamped sound: Drake raps in a higher register over a spare, staccato beat built around a nattering 80... | More »
"My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)"
What happens when an arena-emo band jettisons the "emo"? Turns out it's a big, goofy, stomp-along pop-metal anthem. The first Fall Out Boy single since 2009 might have a wordy sad-journal title and angst-wracked lyrics, but Patrick Stump sounds like a manimal banging on his cage door as he sings restraining-order-worthy blather like "You're the antidote to everything except for me" over a track strung between the club and a Kiss convention. The Paul Stanley-style "I'm on fire!"... | More »
"Demon to Lean On"
The greatest song yet by these twentysomething San Diego surf punks treats Nirvana like a killer thrift-shop find, with the guitars set to "mudslide" and an oh-well Nathan Williams drawling (possibly accidental) Kurt Cobain allusions like "We're probably just dumb." Gloomy though the lyrics may be ("no hope and no future" gets repeated), Williams sounds like a talented slacker with a sugar high, barreling into bigger and bigger choruses. Grimier bubblegrunge is seldom found under a schoo... | More »
We're not sure how they do things in Canada, but here we are a nation of laws, and this is one of them: When you make your first rap song about how good your penis tastes, make it one to remember. But if this jam with MCs Juicy J and Maejor Ali is pro forma, Biebs acquits himself reasonably well with chest-hair-poppin' flow and verses more cute than cringe-inducing: "Got your girlfriend at my crib watching Netflix/Let's just admit that I'm the bestest." One to grow on. | More »
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