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song reviews

Kanye West feat. Bon Iver and Gil Scott-Heron

"Lost in the World"

8

The latest leak from Camp Kanye is less a song than an inspired chunk of Nineties-style DJ mixology. It begins with Bon Iver — the Wisconsin-bred folkie who collaborated on nine songs for West's upcoming album — singing a revamped version of "Woods," his haunting, Auto-Tuned meditation from 2009. Vocal rounds swell into a gospel chorus, fat 4/4 drums kick on, and there's Kanye pledging, "If we die in each other's arms/Still get laid in the afterlife." (Trés r... | More »

October 22, 2010

Bright Eyes

"Coyote Song"

7

A benefit single for the victims of Arizona's immigration laws, this protest song (about a lover stuck in Mexico) is as pretty as it is angry. Bright Eyes: King of Indie Rock | More »

October 20, 2010

John Legend

"Wake Up"

6

Legend and the Roots recorded Arcade Fire's anthem for their LP Wake Up!, but it didn't make the cut. This live version suggests why: Legend's vocals miss Win Butler's cracked frailty, and the groove refuses to swing. But it's cool to hear the song becoming a 21st-century standard. Video: The Roots and John Legend on Their Soul LP 'Wake Up' | More »

October 18, 2010

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 »

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »
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