On the trio's first recording since 2004, the punchiest female R&B group of its generation - specialists in aggressive inspiration - exercises impressive restraint; "Nuclear" is a billowy love song, with gentle harmony vocals wafting over a Pharrell beat that winks back at early-Nineties hip-hop soul. | More »
The Eighties indierock greats do their part for Record Store Day by releasing their very first recording session, from 1980, as a four-song double-seven-inch single. "Writer's Cramp," previously only known to deep Dü-ologists, is bubblegum boogie-thrash with a guitar solo like a grenade going off in Jimmy Page's basement. | More »
New Orleans-bred singer Smith has the wide range and smoky soul-pop pipes of a gentler Jennifer Hudson or an edgier Norah Jones. Here she promises herself to her new beau, skipping effortlessly from an earthy folk guitar intro to a playful, swirling chorus with serenely confident vocals. | More »
"There's a time and a place to die," Hayley Williams shout-sings on Paramore's roaring first single since 2009. The thick howl reminds us that the Tennessee pop-metal band isn't dead yet, despite losing cofounders Josh and Zac Farro. "If there's a future, we want it now," Williams belts, and moves forward by embracing her inner heavy. | More »
"One Way Trigger"
There's something admirably – if not always successfully – contrarian about the new Strokes single, as if the former fresh princes of Nu Yawk rock would rather jump in front of the L Train than party like it’s 12:51 ever again. "One Way Trigger" is busy, nerf-y synth-rock with an A-ha melody and Julian Casablancas’ voice wafting out of falsetto hell like Kenneth Parcell trying to sing Al Green at the TGS "Farewell Staff!" karaoke party – in symbolic te... | More »
"Suit & Tie"
Among other virtues, Justin Timberlake's first new single in six years is utilitarian: a gift to the world's wedding DJs. It's a 21st century "Puttin' on the Ritz," an ode to dressing to the nines and going dancing that will be soundtracking nuptials, proms, and other formal-wear occasions for the foreseeable future. It sounds the part. Co-produced by Timberlake's longtime maestro Timbaland, "Suit & Tie" is natty – as expertly tailored and crisply pressed as... | More »
"Judge Jury and Executioner"
The latest track from Amok, the forthcoming debut LP by Thom Yorke's other band, is a bubbling cyber-groove packed with antsy beats – as you might expect from a group that features two world-class percussionists (as well as Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass). But Yorke's swarming choral-style vocals take center stage, along with acoustic guitar and a delicious three-note bass line that sounds like a morph between Flea's instrument and Yorke's humming. Electro... | More »
The Louisiana rapper, finally unincarcerated, leaks hip-hop's most blatant James Brown tribute in decades – fronting what sounds like a full funk band. Riding chicken-scratch guitar vamps, Mystikal mimics awed white folks, confl ates "Brick House" with Seventies porn, remembers Abbott and Costello, rumbles through Ali's jungle, and climaxes saying it proud: a lesson in rap's prehistory. | More »
"I Got a Boy"
It took the most beloved of all Korean girl groups (and a handful of Euro writers) to finally deliver a song as sharply plotted and blindingly razzle-dazzle as the K-pop machine itself. Harmonizing, speed rapping, and belting like divas, mostly in Korean, these nine young idols romp through a candy land of pop sounds, from minimal R&B to high-BPM dance. It's a musical gymnastics routine. | More »
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