“Drug Test,” Game, featuring Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
Leaked from Game’s long-awaited The R.E.D. Album, “Drug Test” doesn’t hold back. Dr. Dre brings one of his signature pounding four-on-four clapping beats that ride the song. All the rappers on this track bring their A-game, hungry to have the strongest flow on the track. The chorus snarls and gets right in the face of listeners with lyrics such as “So let’s get high off something, high off something, high off something.” “Drug Test” doesn’t add much to the legacy of the rappers so much as cement them as makers of reliable rap songs.
Even at its catchiest, Girls always had a tinge of bitterness and forlornness surrounding its songs. On “Vomit,” which will be released on the second album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Girls lets its sadness all hang out. Beginning with a slow, plucking guitar and lead singer Christopher Owens quivering to say, “Nights spent alone/Nights I spent looking for you,” the song continues to build to an epic anthem for finding love. The drums get heavier and the guitars start shredding as they build up to the surging chorus. “Vomit” ends with a pounding organ and gospel chorus as Owens makes an oddly triumphant plea to “Come into my heart, my love.”
“Otis," Jay-Z and Kanye West
It’s time to party like it’s 2002. Off their forthcoming collaborative album, Watch the Throne, “Otis” is a pure throwback to The Blueprint and The College Dropout-era Kanye and H.O.V.A. West relishes in sampling Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness,” taking the repeated phrase “you’ve got to” and the charged guitars and piano to make an unrelenting yet soulful beat. As for Jay-Z and West, they’re back at their arrogant best. Jay-Z says, “I guess I got my swagger back, truth” before West responds with, “Damn Yeezy and Hov/Where the hell ya been?” “Otis” is a pure cut of prime rap unencumbered by emotions or by following current trends.
“Surgeon,” St. Vincent
Two years after her critically acclaimed second album, Actor, St. Vincent has released “Surgeon” as a preview of her third album, Strange Mercy. The song takes the listener on a hazy, surreal trip. The odd count of the drumbeats provides an unsettling rhythm to the melody in which the synthesizers groove and gibe. Annie Clark, the woman behind St. Vincent, coos intriguing lyrics: “Best find me a surgeon/Can’t cut me open.” The song subtly seduces until the end of the track, when the synths let loose and pick up the pace for a chaotic finale. “Surgeon” is a surprisingly sexy and thrilling song from a woman who continues to surprise listeners.