"The Suburbs/Month of May"
"2009, 2010/Wanna make a record how I felt then," sings Win Butler on "Month of May." As usual, the Arcade Fire frontman is feeling a lot. Childhood nostalgia, suburban ennui, parenthood, war, death — these are just some of the themes crammed into the songs on Arcade Fire's fabulous new double-sided 12-inch single. "The Suburbs" is a piano-fueled shuffle that starts dreamy and then turns vaguely paranoid as it looks back at a teenage wasteland with longing and amusement: "You always se... | More »
There's a problem with Ne-Yo's girlfriend. "You're a knife, sharp and deadly," he sings. In lieu of couples therapy, superproducers Stargate lend a jittery Euro-house beat. It's more goofy than scary, but Ne-Yo's so amiable you root for him — to find a nicer gal, at least. | More »
"I'm A Singer"
Because tweeting the cell number of Lynn Hirschberg, the reporter responsible for an unflattering New York Times Magazine profile on her, wasn't enough revenge, M.I.A. released this dis track. Over murky electro, she calls out writers and Hirschberg in particular: "Journalists be thick as shit. . . . You're a racist, I wouldn't trust you one bit." "Singer" is bland as music, and though M.I.A. has a right to be miffed, it's less interesting than the raw audio about those tr... | More »
"King of Anything"
Like her 2007 hit "Love Song," this single shows off Bareilles' ability to tuck a heartfelt kiss-off into a perky piano-pop tune. Over an arrangement outfitted with hand claps and horns, Bareilles delivers smooth-voiced complaints about an overbearing acquaintance without losing her cool — the closing line, "Let me hold your crown, babe," is as mean as Bareilles gets. For introspective pop, sensitive adults and teenage girls could do a whole lot worse. | More »
The Gaslight Anthem
New Jersey's most buzzed-over young band drops a focused blast about a downtrodden creative type who finds "bandages inside the pen and the stitches on the radio." A hint of what's to come on Gaslight's upcoming American Slang, "Boxer" is one of the band's most immediately likable tunes yet: scrappy, catchy and hyperpassionate. | More »
With its ultraviolent video and synth-punk harshness, the Sri Lankan antidiva's most recent offering, "Born Free," suggested that her forthcoming third disc might be aimed at only her fringiest fans. So it's a big relief that the album's first official single is a frisky slice of dance heaven, with M.I.A. setting aside radical chic for a fiendishly sexy disco jam. Over sinewy and atmospheric future-techno throb from Baltimore producer Blaqstarr, M.I.A. drops uncharacteristicall... | More »
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"I Should Have Known It"
Petty wasn't kidding about bringing a bluesier sound to Mojo, his new album (and 12th with the Heartbreakers). The CD's first single kicks off with a caustic riff that ZZ Top would love to have written, and Petty adopts a nasty sneer as he kicks aside a two-timing lover. The slow-boiling rage makes this one of his best bad-love songs, and when he declares, "It's the last time you're gonna hurt me," you know the man is hellbent serious. | More »