Fall is back-to-school time for pop stars too, you know. Back to the serious business of putting out new music -- and, more importantly, music that challenges both them and their fans beyond the flowery, sugary fluff of the summer jam. A good deal of the time, therefore, fall singles can wind up being introspective, pensive love and breakup songs (see Bruno Mars and Solange Knowles). Never fear, though, cuz Kelly Clarkson is here to get us in fighting spirit -- and you know Pitbull will never leave us hanging without a party for long.
Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Song: "Get Up (A Cowboys Anthem)"
In 25 Words or Less: K.C.'s powerful power pop-with-a-beat-you-can-dance-to formula, with Texas in place of fighting/sass/post-breakup-ballsiness. Cowboy hats, disco beats haven't been this close since the Village People.
Yeah, But Will It Be a Hit? The formula has yet to steer K.C. wrong. (See also: Pink, who might be doing a more interesting job with it lately, however)
Song: "Don't Stop the Party"
In 25 Words or Less: Breaking: Pit abandons usual mojito-chilled club beats for dubby, funky, plunky Latin grooves -- and congas! Less breaking: Still wants to keep party going. Phew!
Yeah, But Will It Be a Hit? You guys. This dude made "Back in Time" a hit. He's magic. Plus, this track deserves some love.
Artist: Bruno Mars
Song: "Locked Out of Heaven"
In 25 Words or Less: Pop's (drama) king of sweeping slow jams gets bouncy, synth-poppy, Police-y beats interesting enough to back up his lyrical theatrics. Sings better, sounds happier! Yay!
Yeah, But Will It Be a Hit? We hope so! Let's all do our best to encourage him to get off the stomped-on, done-wrong, broke-down puppy dog bit, OK? If he has to cry in that pinched tenor rain anymore, he's going to get nodules on his vocal cords.
Artist: Solange Knowles
Song: "Losing You"
In 25 Words or Less: Bey's baby sis does her avant-R&B thing, this time coating it in aloof '80s pop instead of '60s soul. Peppiest breakup song we've ever heard. Yeah, But Will It Be a Hit? Probably not, but Solange, ever the artsy, misunderstood younger sis, might not care that much.
Artist: Enrique Iglesias feat. Sammy Adams
Song: "Finally Found You"
In 25 Words or Less: This feels so familiar already. Because it's getting major play already or because it sounds so ... Enrique? Who cares? Boy knows sexy club drama. Yeah, But Will It Be a Hit? N/A. Try "Already is."
Artist: Christina Aguilera
Song: "Your Body"
In 25 Words or Less: A newly voluptuous Xtina singing about sexy body-loving? Hawt. The sluggish disco groove? Too fast for baby-making, too slow for booty-dancing. But still. Hawt.
Yeah, But Will It Be a Hit? She's managed to (almost) tighten that old-fashioned belt into something that might be palatable for contemporary pop audiences, so there's a fighting chance!
Song: "Die Young"
In 25 Words or Less: It's peppy. It's poppy. It's peppered with slicked-up, smoothed-out Dr. Luke beats. It's about youth and partying. It's ... the most normal Ke$ha song ever.
Yeah, But Will It Be a Hit? Duh. Still, for the record, Ke$ha, we expected something a bit more ... glittery.
Artist: Lana Del Rey
Song: "Blue Velvet"
In 25 Words or Less: Moony, soft-focus prom classic meets moony, soft-focus neo-pinup and her band of dark, noirish lounge beats. Match made in droopy, swoopy heaven.
Yeah, But Will It Be a Hit? Well, none of Lana Del Rey's songs will probably ever trump Lana Del Rey the icon you either love or love to hate. But it's a good choice for her brand.
Song: "Gangnam Style"
In 25 Words or Less: OK, we're not really going to break this down because you've all heard the song, done the dance, etc., etc., right? RIGHT?! We just wanted to take this opportunity to point out that this K-pop confection is currently the No. 2 song in America. Wow. Yeah, But Will It Be a Hit? Again, wow.
Artist: Taylor Swift
Song: "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
In 25 Words or Less: We're as ready as you are to hear Taylor's new single, "Begin Again," on Rhapsody; unfortunately, her label decided not to release it for streaming to any subscription music service right now. As soon as they do, you'll be the first to know. Promise. In the meantime, you can't go wrong with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." So don't.