Pop Single-Phile, Spring 2013
Heya, pop fans! Time for another installation of Pop Single-Phile, our semi-regular breakdown of all those brand-spanking-new songs and can't-avoid-'em singles you're dying to get your ears on. They're all here, from our pick for the greatest of J.T.'s new singles to Fall Out Boy's comeback, from Selena Gomez's post- (like, way post) Bieber jam to that Brad Paisley song no one can shut up about. We've got everything you need: one-bite summaries, evaluations of their longevity and, of course, a playlist so you can start right in on the jamming.
Song: "Pusher Love Girl"
Artist: Justin Timberlake
Summary: Timba-lake does the sonic equivalent of slowly exhaling smoke in our faces; we catch a serious buzz off heady mix of vintage soul, tripping Timbaland beats, Mayfieldian falsetto.
Staying Power: Yes, please. Everybody, stop listening to "Mirrors" RIGHT NOW.
Song: "Feel This Moment"
Artist: Pitbull f. Christina Aguilera
Summary: Heard one recent Pit song, heard 'em all. Globe-trotting-baller lyrics, '80s sample, strobe-light beats, etc. Points to Xtina for making the best of a painful hook.
Staying Power: Hey "Feel This Moment," please follow your own advice and last not one second more.
Song: "Here's to Never Growing Up"
Artist: Avril Lavigne
Summary: Once-and-future mall punk tries on anthemic pub-folk the kids are loving, advocates dancing on bars, almost says "ass," tries to reclaim brat-pop-princess throne from Ke$ha.
Staying Power: We're still not entirely certain if this is a real single or an old Saturday Night Live Avril parody. Actually, Avril, maybe it kind of is time to, well, you know what.
Song: "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark"
Artist: Fall Out Boy
Summary: Fall Out Men overcome struggles, solo attempts and hubris with ferocious, fist-pumping, foot-stomping arena-quaker (featuring Patrick Stump's killer Steven Tyler screech!), still like poperatically long titles (phew!).
Staying Power: OMG revivl! FOB r brngn emo back u guyz!
Song: "Next to Me"
Artist: Emeli Sandé
Summary: Waiting for Adele to stop selfishly enjoying new motherhood and really get back to work? Her fellow full-throated, old-soul hip Brit oughta tide you over.
Staying Power: The song is fluffy malt-shop-pop goodness, but the voice (and that haircut!) will stick to your ribs.
Song: "I Love It"
Artist: Icona Pop
Summary: Longtime hipster-pop name-drop fodder gets real spotlight post-SXSW with brazen, rubber-burning, crazy-pants electro-pop anthem for self-destructive, under-occupied millennials that's much, much cooler than you are.
Staying Power: "You're from the '70s/ But I'm a '90s bitch."
Artist: Anna Kendrick
Summary: This too-cool-for-school glee club audition by Kendrick's would-be "producer" character is as aca-embarrassing as Pitch Perfect itself. So in other words, it's freaking awesome.
Staying Power: The little movie that would not die spawns a little single that could. Don't front: We all know it's because you (yes, you) watched this scene 987 times on YouTube. Keep it up. (Also, Anna Kendrick? Is there anything you can't do?)
Song: "Accidental Racist"
Artist: Brad Paisley f. LL Cool J
Summary: The song your Twitter feed wouldn't shut up about this week. Self-satisfied and out-of-tune as an after-school special? Sure. A real (and needed) conversation-starter? Absolutely.
Staying Power: Why isn't anyone getting to the heart of the real issue here? A country star is singing about Starbucks. (Don't worry: we also included the ready-for-cookout-season jam "Beat This Summer" in the playlist, in case you don't exactly look to Brad Paisley for your weighty sociocultural discourse.)
Song: "Lego House"
Artist: Ed Sheeran
Summary: A house built of throwback metaphors, vocals as intimate as an angsty night spent journaling and soft-spun beats create one solid foundation, friends.
Staying Power: This redheaded Brit with the soft-spoken electro-pop and gentle breakup breakdowns (let's call him the anti-Biebster, shall we?) is campaigning hard to be your unlikely pop star crush. Aw, let him win, would ya?
Song: "Come and Get It"
Artist: Selena Gomez
Summary: Speaking of Bieber, forget him. Selena did, and we got this effortlessly all-grown-up dancefloor seduction in the breakup. Bhangra backbeat suits her strong, flat vocals.
Staying Power: #TeamSelena
Artist: will.i.am f. Justin Bieber
Summary: #trendjunkie Pea whips up usual soup of head-punching beats, almost-zeitgeist "rhymes" that don't seem to understand own core purpose. BTW Biebster, what's up with your #DaftPunk/KanyeRipoff?
Staying Power: Oh, sure, you'll shake your thing, but will you respect yourself in the morning?
Song: "Vive Hoy"
Summary: Cool kids behind last year's inescapable tribal smash drop single that basically sounds like that smash turned upside down and inside out. We'll take it.
Staying Power: The jury is very much still out. "Intentalo" is still huge, but do tribal guarachero's pointy boots have somewhere to go from here?
Song: "Blurred Lines"
Artist: Robin Thicke f. T.I., Pharrell
Summary: Pop's other fly white boy sees your "Suit and Tie," raises you one sexy, silly, seriously fun little bromantic retro-pop jam session.
Staying Power: He may just be bringing sexy back, y'all.
Song: "Can't Hold Us"
Artist: Macklemore f. Ray Dalton
Summary: "Thrift Shop" grants second life to castoff singles. This exhilarating slice of stomping, tent-revival soul and motor-mouthed flow with a killer hook? The real score.
Staying Power: Yes, please. Everybody, stop listening to "Thrift Shop" RIGHT NOW.
Song: "Heart Attack"
Artist: Demi Lovato
Summary: This is the real glimpse into Demi's soul, all steel-edged diva defenses (bolstered by considerable dance-pop fierceness) safeguarding sweet, fleeting vulnerability.
Staying Power: "I can play 'em like a Ken doll/ Won't wash my hair/ Make 'em bounce like a basketball." Agreed. How high shall we bounce, Demi?