Basement Jaxx – Back 2 the Wild

Seapunk? Played out? [Video][Website] [5.14] Anthony Easton: So much like a fashionable update of Bow Wow Wow, including the pleasures (the tight rhythms, the yelling vocals, those percussions) and the concerns (how racist is this exactly?).[7] Alfred Soto: A cross between Cartoon Network programming and Tom Tom Club, which fans of the former might argue is a redundancy. [6] […]

Dirty Epics – Midnight Missing

Don’t watch the second half in a public space… [Video][Website] [4.83] Patrick St. Michel: So I guess enough time has passed where Bloc Party can be a band’s go-to inspiration? Though, I guess not when it comes to singing, because those vocals sound rough as heck. [2] Alfred Soto: It sounds okay on first listen, […]

Fantasia ft. Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliott – Without Me

Did you miss us? [Video][Website] [7.25]Anthony Easton: This is so beautiful, isolated, crystalline, and exhausted — softer than Rihanna, but equally obsessive. The bracing corrective of the Missy verse makes it even more interesting. [9] Alfred Soto: I can’t explain why Missy Elliott wasted time on a track with an okay beat and vocals by the […]

When Saints Go Machine ft. Killer Mike – Love and Respect

One of those “75% of these words are about the featured artist” bits… [Video][Website] [4.57] Sonya Nicholson: I saw Killer Mike at South by Southwest this year. The event organizers were smart enough to give him his own venue at the end of the night: no half-hour SXSW teaser set for Killer Mike! Even if […]

Jonas Brothers – Pom Poms

They ain’t holding pomp poms. [Video][Website] [5.27] Patrick St. Michel: 1. This entire song hinges on a marching-band theme, yet “Pom Poms” sounds nothing like a Friday night halftime show. So many artists before the Jonas Brothers have pulled this off well – “Lose My Breath” and “Hollaback Girl” cartwheel to mind – that hearing […]

Joanna Wang – Coins

Romney/Thatcher 2016! [Video][Website] [6.08] Katherine St Asaph: This is horribly US-centric of me, but my God, if only this existed for the Romney campaign.[7] Anthony Easton: Wang’s father is a major producer, and she has had some success in Korea, China and Japan as a singer. Growing up in Los Angeles, dropping out of a […]

Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky

“Regarding the lyrical composition, Pharrell stated that the song is not just about a sexual conquest, but the fortune in finding potential chemistry with someone.” –Wikipedia [Video][Website] [6.82] Edward Okulicz: This is perfectly pleasant, in the way that any of the old, expansive disco records that got electrified and turned into 2000-era dance monsters are […]

Roberto Junior y Su Bandeño – El Coco No

EVERYBODY SLAP YOUR HEAD… [Video][Website] [5.62] Josh Langhoff: The video for “El Coco No,” with its lurid depiction of a line dance that involves patting your head and dressing up like the devil, leaves me with more questions than answers. When seeking answers, I usually turn to Jeff Godwin’s book The Devil’s Disciples (Chick, 1985), and […]

Brad Paisley – Beat This Summer

Call this a do-over. Don’t stuff this one up, Paisley. [Video][Website] [5.50] Alfred Soto: Thanks to “The One with LL Cool J,” I turn to “Beat This Summer” breathing a louder sigh of relief. I’m tempted to overrate this typical evocation of Paisleyean pleasure, where a kiss sounds like a fleet-fingered guitar solo and Paisley’s […]

Deerhunter – Monomania

SCUZZ~!… [Video][Website] [5.29] Alfred Soto: No one needs to be told about its holistic possibilities, not in 2013, not when MBV gave us an impressive reminder a few months ago. Feedback riding surly adolescent rage can barrel down the highway, like the motorcycle sampled at the end of the track. But that’s the problem: the […]