So here we are, a few short weeks into 2011, and the new year, baby that it is, is already strutting its stuff and looking rather fabulous. Musically speaking, we're starting the year off with some very hot new singles off some very hotly anticipated upcoming albums by some very big, very bold-faced and, uh, well, very hot names. So we've devoted this edition of single-phile to providing you, dear pop fan, with a little guide to the year (so far) in hot! new! singles!, including our 25-words-or-less summaries and predictions for whether or not the song will last through 2011's middle age.
Artist: Britney Spears
Song: "Hold It Against Me"
Album: From her upcoming and wildly anticipated seventh album (title TBA), due in March
In 25 Words or Less: Britney goes after dance-pop turf she helped create, rides big throbbing club beats like cowgirl, sounds more comfortable in own innuendo than has in years.
Likelihood You'll Still Be Listening to It Six Months from Now: 85%. It's not Britney's best work, but she sounds confident, sexy and ready to take on our apparent addiction to clubby dance-pop.
Artist: Jay-Z and Kanye West
Album: From Watch the Throne, the upcoming collabo album that's got the hip-hop world Twitterpated (sorry)
In 25 Words or Less: Ye-n-Jay musically commemorate their much-ballyhooed bromance with so much opulent, operatic braggadocio, they ought to be wearing powdered wigs and letting them eat cake.
Likelihood You'll Still Be Listening to It Six Months from Now: 70%. If it were anyone other than these charismatic egomaniacs, we'd probably dismiss the paper-dropping, more-baller-than-thou big talk as an exercise in trying a bit too hard (and coming off sounding kind of tired). Since it is these two, however, it's a bit disappointing to hear them being such, well, hams, but we'll keep listening -- especially thanks to that dramatic, diva-riffic soundscape Lex Luger has built for them to ham it up in.
Song: "Rolling in the Deep"
Album: From her upcoming sophomore effort, 21, due out February 22
In 25 Words or Less: The mature-voiced neo-soulstress cashes in on Dusty Springfield comparisons, goes a little Southerly soul, (almost) acts her age with a rollicking, drama-ridden kiss-off.
Likelihood You'll Still Be Listening to It Six Months From Now: 23%. Adele's debut, while impressive, was a bit too grown-up for its britches. If "Rolling" is any indication, the 21-year-old Brit is skewing younger and more energetic. That said, she's still not exactly mainstream here, especially in this era of dance-pop and club beats. A connoisseur's pop star.
Artist: Avril Lavigne
Song: "What the Hell"
Album: From upcoming fourth album, Goodbye Lullaby, out March 8
In 25 Words or Less: The original Sk8r Grrl blows off grown-up concerns like divorce with an oh, Mickey, it's so fine singsongy, hand-clapping, retro-leaning brat-pop ode to messing around.
Likelihood You'll Still Be Listening to It Six Months from Now: 67%. "What the Hell" is fun, carefree, bouncy, bratty -- all the makings of a good pop song, in other words. That said, it sounds an awful lot like (a more thoughtful, less mean version of) her last big single, "Girlfriend." And honestly, we're not sure how a not-a-girl-not-yet-acting-like-the-woman-she-is, bratty as ever, mall punk Avril fits into today's sleek, chic, sexy dance-pop scene.
Artist: The Script
Song: "For the First Time"
**Album: From their just-released (stateside, anyway) second album, Science and Faith
In 25 Words or Less: Sensitive, hip-hop-happy stadium rockers don't fix what ain't broke, processing a troubled relationship with soaring vocals, dramatic licks, acoustic guitar breaks -- though little hip-hop.
Likelihood You'll Still Be Listening to It Six Months from Now: 93%. Come on, you love this stuff.