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Julia Simon

Reporter

  • If I Die Young

    This country-pop sibling trio made its debut with an uncommonly sad single. "We wanted to write a song about making the most of whatever time you're given — whether it's two years, 20 years or 200," eldest sister and singer Kimberly Perry said. But the song is more an elegy than it is a pep […]

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  • International Love

    This Chris Brown-assisted single off Pitbull's sixth album, Planet Pit, finds the Miami MC singing in both English and Spanish about the globe's hottest spots. The scale of hotness is determined by that destination's damsels: Ladies are bombshells in Lebanon, down for threesomes in Romania, and boast "freaky big ol' boot[ies]" in Brazil. "It's all […]

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  • Thinkin Bout You

    Odd Future's crooner spun himself off from that collective by releasing a mixtape, working with Kanye West and writing tracks for a few big names. "Thinkin Bout You," which has Ocean hoping a girl from his past still keeps him in mind, was originally intended for R&B singer Bridget Kelly. But Ocean's demo version was […]

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  • I’m Yours

    Jason Mraz re-emerged after his disappointing second album with this lead single, a Jack Johnson-esque ditty about giving yourself fully to someone else. The success of the reggae-tinged song (it earned two Grammy nods and a spot on the Billboard singles chart for well over a year) was something the folk-pop singer never predicted when […]

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  • Call Me Maybe

    It wasn't a third-place finish on Canadian Idol that got this pop singer noticed; rather, it was an unexpected Twitter endorsement from compatriot Justin Bieber. While home for the holidays, Bieber heard Jepsen's sugary track — about hoping for a crush-at-first-sight to call — and tweeted, "Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen is possibly […]

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  • The A Team

    This debut track from the then-20-year-old British singer-songwriter has a dark story behind it. Sheeran says he culls songwriting inspiration from "viewing other people's situations," which, for the heroine in "The A Team," involves drug addiction and prostitution that began as a teen. Sheeran paints the woman's trials with haunting imagery such as "But lately […]

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  • Simple Song

    Though James Mercer put the Shins on hiatus for five years, it took him no time to pen Port of Morrow’s lead single, a sweet, nostalgia-riddled cheer up for a former (and possibly current) love interest. “I wrote the lyrics in the space of 15 minutes, on the living-room floor,” he told Rolling Stone. But […]

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  • We R Who We R

    Though the first single off her second EP is a synth-fueled party starter, Ke$ha revealed that the song is a response to a slew of news-making teen suicides (like that of Tyler Clementi, a gay college freshman whose roommate humiliated him by spying on him in his dorm room with a webcam). "I was really […]

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  • You Make Me Feel…

    Cobra Starship's Gabe Saporta told Rolling Stone that this chart-topping dance-hall anthem spared his band from becoming a one-hit wonder. On their second, post-"Snakes on a Plane" hit, the emo-poppers recruited pop diva Sabi to trade lyrics with the frontman about maybe hooking up: Saporta declares he's been looking for her his whole life, and […]

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  • Province

    On "Province," a shoegaze fest about uncertainty in a time of change, TV on the Radio are resolved to remain strong, even curious. "Let it follow that we let it free, let it fly," Tunde Adebimbe sings. And the motto of "just going with it" might be how the band got David Bowie to sing […]

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