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song reviews

Enrique Iglesias Feat. Pitbull

"I Like It"

7

Enrique is back with his most danceable fiesta since "Bailamos" swept the States more than a decade ago. Rather than getting his samba on, he's scouting for some forbidden nookie with a babe he can't keep his hands off of ­ while his girl's out of town. "No one can know the things I'm gonna wanna do to you," he swoons. And Pitbull gives us insight into his bedroom: "Tiger Woods times Jesse James equals Pitbull all night long." Cheating never sounded so fun! | More »

Prince

"Hot Summer"

5

A one-off jam Prince put out in celebration of his 52nd birthday, this vaguely beach-rock tune rides chirpy organ riffs and a bright melody that feels kind of kitschy. It would be great in an ad for a local water park, though. | More »

Seu Jorje

"Everybody Loves the Sunshine"

8

The Brazilian singer with the killer Bowie covers (see The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou) wraps his chocolate baritone around this blissed-out '76 Roy Ayers jam while Beastie Boys producer Mario Caldato Jr. makes the vintage synths sizzle like summer cicadas. More, please. | More »

Eddie Vedder

"Better Days"

7

This spare slow-burner had Pearl Jam scholars wondering whether it was a Riot Act or Backspacer outtake. Turns out it's Vedder's contribution to the Eat Pray Love soundtrack, though it would have been a quiet standout on any recent PJ album. | More »

The Situation

"The Situation"

4

And you thought Pauly D would be the first Jersey Shore star to rap. Sorry, Pauly — the Situation pulled the robbery! Sitch raps with DJ Class, Fatman Scoop and the Disco Fries, complete with the party chant "Whoa, we got a Situation." It probably sounds fine when you're beating the floor at Bamboo in your "I Heart House Music" t-shirt — especially after a jug of Ron Ron Juice. | More »

June 28, 2010

Drake feat. Jay-Z and Lil Wayne

"Light Up (Rikers Remix)"

7

A song about how hard it is to keep the world partying when you feel like dying inside, 'Light Up' was already one of the more poignant tracks on Drake's Thank Me Later. Jay-Z's cameo was note-perfect ('I'm not as cool with niggas as I once was'). But this remix cranks the pathos to 11 with a verse from Lil Wayne — delivered over the phone from freakin' Rikers Island. (Is this how he used his one phone call? Talk about true to the game!) Reception in ... | More »

June 10, 2010

Beck

"Bad Blood"

6

On this cut for the soundtrack to HBO's True Blood, Beck cranks out a swampy rock tune based around a filthy, Jack White-style garage riff. The reverb-dunked production adds a psychedelic edge — Beck hasn't sounded this bluesy or ramshackle in years. | More »

June 8, 2010

Kanye West feat. Dwele

"Power"

8

After you've sampled Can and compared yourself to Maya Angelou, how do you reach new heights of left-field craziness? How about rapping over King Crimson's paranoid prog jam "21st Century Schizoid Man"? Kanye's best single since "Stronger" rides a torrid whipsaw beat, as he takes on his spelunking media image, pinballing from self-aware ("I'm an asshole") to defiant ("Kiss my asshole"). The sentiment is classic Kanye, but he hasn't melted down this brilliantly in a lo... | More »

Arcade Fire

"The Suburbs/Month of May"

8

"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 »

Ne-Yo

"Beautiful Monster"

6

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 »

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »
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