The first single off the Icelandic songstress’ forthcoming iPad-LP-multimedia project, Biophilia, is the offbeat artist’s way of leading us through a twisty space journey. Or maybe it’s a psych-up anthem for an alien army? Her lyrics continue to require an extraterrestrial cipher to understand, but her beats and piercing voice do not. It moves along a steady, almost twinkling groove before exploding with a last-minute hook of a breakdown; a crescendo that takes the song to another sonic level.
“Bones,” Male Bonding
This initial single from the London trio’s new album, Endless Now, marks a digression from the band’s loud, crashing guitars and heavy drums to a more streamlined, cleaner hum. While the more studio-compressed sound takes off some of their punky edge, it does assert that the group has aspirations beyond the indie circuit. If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t be able to pick out this track in a lineup of ’90s FM rock. It’s an anthemic, grungy number that is sure to win over the broader following this cleaned-up sound aims for.
“Trust Issues,” Drake
“I can tell certain people don’t like me no more,” broods the rapper, who takes a turn for the solemn in this internal struggle about, yes, trust issues. Drake is unpacking a lot of heady emotions about fame and women that are not necessarily new, but prove nonetheless compelling swathed in the song’s moody ambiance. If two summers ago was the birth of his high-profile career, consider “Trust Issues” the first signs of puberty; confessional, angsty and a little too caught up in itself. This is the musical equivalent of growing pains.
“Moves Like Jagger,” Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
We knew this was coming. How could either artist, both judges on NBC’s hit singing competition “The Voice,” resist the opportunity to boost their sagging sales after releasing underperforming albums? This collaboration is one long, strutting hook that wisely reigns in Aguilera’s penchant for over-the-top melisma. It’s also the funniest song of the summer: Maroon 5 front man is too clean-cut and manicured to convince anyone that he can move like Mick Jagger. That he tries anyway makes this shameless romp worthy of a cranked-up stereo.
“Gucci Gucci,” Kreayshawn
All the controversy and overnight success of this 21-year-old Oakland rapper is perhaps the most bizarre pop phenomenon of the year thus far. How has this unremarkably rapped dig against label-cravers become such a prevalent Internet talking point? Is it her non-beef with Nicki Minaj? Her explanation that her alleged use of racial epithets is purely Bay Area colloquialisms? Who knows? More importantly, who cares? Kreayshawn is often compared to Ke$ha for her sing-talk-rap chattering, but the two aren’t quite analogous. Somehow, Kreasyshawn comes across more calculated.
“Romance,” Wild Flag
Rest in peace Sleater-Kinney: long live Sleater-Kinney. Formed by SK’s Carrie Brownstein and ex-members of Helium and The Minders, this is the lead single from the group’s upcoming debut album. It’s rife with the lipstick-shiny snarl of the bands these women used to be in. Everything, from Brownstein’s booming voice to the garage-rock rhythm, snaps into place curiously well, but this is a quieter, more domesticated riot. It’s a promising, if somewhat expected start for a group that has legendary antecedents.