Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa – Payphone

The other day, I saw a 5-year-old kid running out of the elevator singing this at the top of her lungs. A man in the elevator grumbled about how he told her she shouldn’t sing and she’d thank him in ten years. That mood sums up this track pretty well, I think… [Video][Website] [2.00] Katherine […]

Jack White – Sixteen Saltines

Side-eyeing the song, perhaps? [Video][Website] [5.71] Jonathan Bradley: For their first three or four albums, the White Stripes fronted like they’d never heard any music released after 1960 or north of the Mason-Dixon: a pleasant piece of theater made better by the duo’s unwavering commitment to it. Since then — let’s date the transition to […]

Jerrod Niemann – Shinin’ On Me

His finger lingers over the Top 11 of ’11. “Oh HO,” he thinks, “so they like country with horns…” [Video][Website] [6.83] Alfred Soto: Eric Church, Luke Bryan, and Dierks Bentley get the fratboy tag, but Niemann’s closer to the stereotype and talented enough to, like, write a concept album about it. Confident about his increasing […]

Lostprophets – Bring ‘Em Down

A little Sunday evening aggro… [Video][Website] [4.20] Iain Mew: Man, it’s been over a decade since “Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja.” Ever since then, every single that Lostprophets have released has failed the fundamental test of whether it has anything remotely as awesome as the riff in “Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja”. This one eventually comes closer than […]

Bonnie Raitt – Right Down the Line

Flame-haired guitar-toting goddess skanks it up a little. Literally. [Video][Website] [5.67] Alfred Soto: “Baker Street” is epochal, Gerry Rafferty’s second big hit less so, but the years have been kinder to this proto-Dire Straits number. Raitt and Rafferty sound like a can’t-lose team, so why is this a dud? Her voice still exudes the peculiar […]

Jesse y Joy – ¡Corre!

As heard in “La que no podía amar”… [Video][Website] [5.88] Iain Mew: This basically ends up as a by-the-numbers Snow Patrol mid-tempo song in a language that I don’t understand. (What’s that? “Corre” actually means “Run”? I swear, I did not set that one up deliberately!) Yet I enjoy “Corre” a great deal more than […]

Alabama Shakes – Hold On

Jack White approved… [Video][Website] [6.00] Brad Shoup: Answering the question, “what would Jack White sound like if he weren’t such a raging, seething id?” with “a little like the Stampeders.”[6] Alfred Soto: I prefer their guitar tunings and voices to Jack White’s, to cite that other avatar of musical necrophilia. But a preference is just […]

tUnE-YarDs – My Country

Will no one get these children a washcloth?

Mystery Jets – Someone Purer

And finally, in college I called this band “The Flaming Jets” for a couple months because I could never remember their actual name. That is all… [Video][Website] [5.50] Zach Lyon: If I were much younger I’d certainly have a tolerance for “Someone Purer”‘s self-deprecating yearning for self-improvement, especially via music. But the problem with being […]

The Mars Volta – The Malkin Jewel

Continuing the autobiography of today’s editor, a kid in high school would tell me I looked like the lead singer of this band every day in the lunch line… [Video][Website] [4.50] Rebecca Toennessen: Releasing a single from a concept album might make a single seem impenetrable to understand without the context of the album, and […]