"Getting Ready for Christmas Day"
"Got a nephew in Iraq/It's his third time back," sings Paul Simon, pondering the fate of a relative spending Christmas abroad. "Jingle Bells" this ain't. The first taste of his forthcoming LP is built around a 1941 sample of the Rev. J.M. Gates (from the gospel comp Goodbye, Babylon), and the end result recalls Simon's golden era, all warm tunefulness cut with mischief. "I may be layin' in some lonesome grave," laments the Reverend. Then Simon's sunny chorus chases th... | More »
"Hold My Hand"
When it first appeared, there was some doubt that this 2007 "collaboration" — circulated in a rough but near-identical version after Michael Jackson's death — really happened. (Members of Jackson's family are among the skeptics.) Musically, the controversy is much ado about little. "Hold My Hand," the lead single from the forthcoming posthumous Michael LP, is a modestly anthemic ballad about sticking by loved ones in hard times, with a melody faintly echoing Bob Mar... | More »
Rolling in the Deep
With the follow-up to her Grammy-snagging 2008 album looming, this London pop-soul singer made a surprising choice for the disc's first single: "Rolling in the Deep" finds the 22-year-old in bluesy gospel mode, sounding powerful but not particularly pop. Starting with a stroked acoustic guitar, this breakup-mourning track builds to a stomping, hand-clapping climax that affirms the English knack for rejiggering the sound of American roots music. "I can't help feeling we could've... | More »
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"
This version of the Thriller killer, cut by its producer for his new album, finds T-Pain splashing on the Auto-Tune like cheap cologne while Thicke channels Michael more straightforwardly. This at least beats Justin Guarini’s version from Season One of Idol. | More »
Our first taste of the Kanye-Jay collaboration album (due next year) celebrates some simple pleasures: a dusty Curtis Mayfield sample, a butter-dripping beat, and Jay waxing nostalgic about listening to his mama's shit when he was on his pajama shit. This isn't about conquering the world, just watching it spin. | More »