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song reviews

Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake

"Give It to Me"

6

A leaked cut from Timbaland's upcoming solo album, "Give It to Me" is a moderately catchy tune with a Timbabeat that balances clubby sleekness and tweety synths with pumped-up clip-clop percussion. Timberlake sing-raps a snaky melody in a big, powerful rumble that has more presence than his usual cameos, but Nelly steals the spotlight. This story is from the December 14th, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone. | More »

September 21, 2006

Beck

"Nausea"

6

Riding a trashy bass-and-guitar riff that sounds simultaneously bluesy and Radiohead-esque, this single from Beck's upcoming album finds him in free-associating Mellow Gold mode. But while the style isn't novel, the garage-band-in-space sound — clicking, super-syncopated LCD Soundsystem-style percussion, random bleeps and machine noises — breaks new ground for Beck and producer Nigel Godrich. It's not as polished as much of last year's Guero, but it may be more... | More »

August 24, 2006

Beck

"Think I'm In Love"

7

Along with "Cell Phone's Dead," Beck's online-only new single, this brand-new song indicates Beck already has some prime material in the can for his next album. "Think I'm in Love" is catchy and weirdly seductive, combining narcotic funk and a great psyched-out chorus; the video (briefly posted, then yanked) is even weirder and more fun, with Beck singing in front of a badly wigged fat dude plus other tripped-out imagery. | More »

August 10, 2006

Justin Timberlake

"SexyBack"

6

For the first single from a pop superstar's new album, the Timbaland-produced "SexyBack" is as odd as it gets – a thunderstorm of synth pulses underneath Timberlake vocals rendered alien by pitch-shifting, distortion and Lance Bass knows what else. But as Timbaland chimes in with a chant of "Get your sexy on," it's easier to accept the song – if not the transformation of "sexy" from adjective to noun. This story is from the August 10th, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone. | More »

May 18, 2006

Kanye West feat. Twista and Keyshia Cole

"Impossible"

4

Kanye goes Hollywood with a glossy, Philly-soul-sampling contribution to the Mission: Impossible III soundtrack (he also delivered a bombastic take on the franchise's theme music), featuring speed rapper Twista, hip-hop soul princess Keyshia Cole and a mind-numbing number of repetitions of the word "impossible." It doesn't quite work: The skittering beat never settles into a groove, and the rhymes never explain what, exactly, is supposed to be so impossible. This is one mission Mr. ... | More »

April 21, 2005

Nine Inch Nails

"The Hand That Feeds"

8

On his first new song in four years, Trent Reznor piles Nine Inch Nails' signature distressed guitars atop a sleek, pulsing beat that could belong to LCD Soundsystem. Hipster dance-rock aside, the pushing-forty frontman summons some of that old mesh-shirted fury for a "Head Like a Hole"-ish refrain: "Will you bite the hand that feeds you/Will you stay down on your knees?" | More »

September 3, 1970

Jimi Hendrix

Stepping Stone/Izabella

"Stepping Stone" b/w "Izabella"Hendrix Band of GypsysReprise0905 Now here's a hot little item that's only a few months old, released before the Capitol album and a dozen times as good. Hendrix and the guys rocket through "Stepping Stone" with its outrageous lyrics ("You're all woman – at least you taste like you are") and ever-increasing tempo, culminating in a frenzied guitar solo which ends with the engineer breaking in and saying "You made it!" Indeed. "Izabella" ain&... | More »

Fleetwood Mac

World in Harmony

Why Reprise is pushing a klunker like "Manalishi" is beyond me. It's another of those aimless heavy things that goes nowhere. "World," on the other hand, is a beautiful instrumental, featuring placid guitar work through several tempo changes, sounding very much like a world in harmony. This recording, incidentally, was made before guitarist Peter Green left. It is unlikely that it'll ever be on an album. This story is from the September 3rd, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone. | More »

Fleetwood Mac

The Green Manalishi

Why Reprise is pushing a klunker like "Manalishi" is beyond me. It's another of those aimless heavy things that goes nowhere. "World," on the other hand, is a beautiful instrumental, featuring placid guitar work through several tempo changes, sounding very much like a world in harmony. This recording, incidentally, was made before guitarist Peter Green left. It is unlikely that it'll ever be on an album. This story is from the September 3rd, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone. | More »

April 30, 1970

The Who

"The Seeker"

With "The Seeker" Pete Townshend and the Who take that proverbial one step backwards. A subdued (for the Who) rock and roller that gives the impression of having slightly more muscle than it shows, "The Seeker" addresses itself to the futility of seeking The Answer (which, we are informed, neither Bobby Dylan, the Beatles, or even Timothy Leary has to bestow). Built around a rather familiar rock riff and employing a typically obvious change to hook in its chorus, it's highlighted instru... | More »

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Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

More Song Stories entries »
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