.

song reviews

M.I.A.

"XXXO"

7

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"

7

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 »

The Chemical Brothers

"Swoon"

7

Beloved British rave stalwarts rock the melancholy with indecipherable vocals and an awesomely squishy, spangled, descending-tone sample that hits your gut like cresting a roller coaster. A tune that definitely lives up to its title, for a world that needs to spend some time in the chill-out room. | More »

May 12, 2010

N.E.R.D. feat. Nelly Furtado

"Hot N' Fun"

5

The slinky dance cut rocks a fat, minimalist Eighties funk groove à la Liquid Liquid's "Cavern," with Ms. Nelly on the ephemeral hook. "We wrote this for a purpose," begins Pharrell. "Get high, get money, get sex, get real!" Duly noted. | More »

Eminem

"Not Afraid"

6

"Let's be honest, that last Relapse CD was eh," Eminem admits on "Not Afraid," his therapeutic new single. Even a sicko like Slim Shady couldn't stomach another humorless disc of Lindsay Lohan decapitation fantasies, so he scrapped Relapse II to bring us Recovery, the apparently more introspective disc that's due this summer. "Not Afraid" reflects the new MO: It's part "fuck tha world" rage rap and part rehab-session group hug, complete with lyrics about kicking drugs and ... | More »

Britney Spears

"Telephone"

7

Before Lady Gaga conquered the Fame Monster, she was a songwriter who pitched 'Telephone' to Britney Spears. This Auto-Tuned Britney demo is more bare-bones, but it holds up against Gaga's version anyway. Even before its authenticity was confirmed, any seasoned Britneyologist could tell it was our girl singing, with her distinctive vocal tics and barely repressed rage. | More »

How To Destroy Angels

"A Drowning"

5

The first single from Trent Reznor's new project (his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, is on vocals) is a seven-minute slow-burner decked out with squealing horns and whispered lyrics about slipping off into oblivion. Creepy? A little. But it's also too sleepy. | More »

Interpol

"Lights"

7

On 2007's Our Love to Admire, New York's doomy New Wavers abandoned taut goth punk in favor of bigger, more expansive art rock. Chastened, the band is back to its old voodoo on a new single. "Lights" is like six Joy Division slow songs played at once, beginning with a crawling riff that could have been recorded in Dracula's wine cellar, and building to groove euphoria. Paul Banks reanimates Ian Curtis as the world's worst boyfriend. "Maybe I like to stray," he moans. "It&#... | More »

Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg

"California Gurls"

6

Conceived as an answer to Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind," this ode to West Coast ladies is gleefully over-the-top — a thumping, synthy summer anthem that screams, "This is a summer anthem!" Snoop Dogg's lyrics are marginally better than Perry's lines about "Sippin' on gin and juice/Laying under the palm trees," and you can bet your SPF 80 that the buoyant tune (co-penned by Dr. Luke and Max Martin) will lodge itself in millions of skulls. | More »

Sleigh Bells

"Tell 'Em"

6

This M.I.A.-approved noise-pop band lives up to months of buzz with its debut single: Mixing angelic vocals with grinding synths and scorched bass, it's a body-shaker that sounds like a choir girl showing up to a street fight with a howitzer and a holster full of lasers. Danceable lasers. | More »

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com