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song reviews

Brian Eno

"2 Forms of Anger"

7

This taste of Eno's new album nearly conflates his entire oeuvre: There's ambient drift, murky, data-storm rhythms and art-punk rave-up. Anger from the guru of chill? Bring it on. Photos: The Hottest Live Photos of the Week | More »

October 14, 2010

Steven Tyler

"Love Lives"

6

Tyler recorded his first solo single for Space Battleship Yamato, a Japanese sci-fi film set in 2199. But the song is stuck in 1997: It's a ballad with an orchestral sound so big you can see spaceships explode while lovers em- brace. It's no "Dream On," and it's not quite "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." Let's hope Tyler saved the rockers for Aerosmith's next LP. Photos: Aerosmith Bring the Hits to Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock Tour Kickoff | More »

October 12, 2010

U2

"Every Breaking Wave"

8

U2 have made their current European tour a testing ground for new material. The best of the new live songs is "Mercy," cut during the sessions for 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb but not on the album. The band has reworked "Mercy" for the stage, turning it into a big bear hug of a ballad that almost sounds like it could have gone on Joshua Tree. "You're going to kill me, and I want to die," Bono sings against the Edge's spacey arpeggios. &qu... | More »

U2

"Glastonbury"

8

U2 have made their current European tour a testing ground for new material. The best of the new live songs is "Mercy," cut during the sessions for 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb but not on the album. The band has reworked "Mercy" for the stage, turning it into a big bear hug of a ballad that almost sounds like it could have gone on Joshua Tree. "You're going to kill me, and I want to die," Bono sings against the Edge's spacey arpeggios. &qu... | More »

U2

"Return of the Stingray Guitar"

8

U2 have made their current European tour a testing ground for new material. The best of the new live songs is "Mercy," cut during the sessions for 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb but not on the album. The band has reworked "Mercy" for the stage, turning it into a big bear hug of a ballad that almost sounds like it could have gone on Joshua Tree. "You're going to kill me, and I want to die," Bono sings against the Edge's spacey arpeggios. &qu... | More »

U2

"Mercy"

8

U2 have made their current European tour a testing ground for new material. The best of the new live songs is "Mercy," cut during the sessions for 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb but not on the album. The band has reworked "Mercy" for the stage, turning it into a big bear hug of a ballad that almost sounds like it could have gone on Joshua Tree. "You're going to kill me, and I want to die," Bono sings against the Edge's spacey arpeggios. &qu... | More »

October 8, 2010

Kanye West

"Lord Lord Lord"

6

Kanye visits the chill-out lounge, delivering a seven-minute-plus opus that's languid in the extreme: Psychedelic-soul synths float on a groove that wouldn't sound out of place on your smooth-jazz station. The rapping is equally laid-back: Mos Def purrs abstractions ("Ecstatic patterns in the calendar design"); Swizz Beatz slurs boasts about cars and suede attire; Raekwon muses on weed-smoking. Kanye, meanwhile, is full of punch lines — "If I'm a douche, then put me in yo... | More »

October 6, 2010

DJ Shadow

"Def Surrounds Us"

7

After secretly planting vinyl copies in record shops across Europe, the master of surreal, sample-drenched electronica drops a digital version of this single, his first in four years. It's a time-warping combo of hand claps, video-game bleeps, Nineties jungle break beats and a slow-mo electric-guitar arpeggio, all unspooling amid snippets of the spoken phrase "Though we are alive, death surrounds us." (Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Brightside!) "I've Been Trying,"... | More »

October 5, 2010

Glasser

"Home"

7

Art-rock gorgeousness from a newcomer to watch: Witchy woman Cameron Mesirow lays wind-swept vocals over a plinking marimba riff, then ups the drama with a flood of synths and an epically pining refrain. RS Album Review: Glasser's Ring | More »

October 4, 2010

Hugo

"99 Problems"

6

Ever wonder what a Robert Plant reworking of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" might sound like? New Roc Nation signee Hugo has the answer. This mystic acoustic number feels a bit like a novelty, but the heavy, banjo-laden production hits hard. Photos: Hip-Hop Royalty: How Jay-Z and Beyonce Run This Town | More »

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

More Song Stories entries »
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