T. Pain, “Drowning Again”
Considering that this is an Auto-Tune-free ballad whose video features T-Pain gently stroking piano keys in the dark, there is plenty to make fun of. Let’s just focus on this one line, though: “When I’m diseased / I hope you’re dying next to me / In my watery grave.” Thanks for giving him "watery," Lonely Island!
The Roots, “Make My” feat. Big K.R.I.T.
We interviewed Questlove once, about a year into his band’s late-night run. He explained that he hadn’t yet moved to New York from Philadelphia (transporting his record collection was a primary concern) and was therefore commuting back and forth to the city on a chartered bus, sleeping in two hour bursts throughout the day while taping Fallon, learning new songs for musical guests, playing shows, recording, and producing. That means The Roots upcoming concept album could consist of nothing more than Black Thought breathing heavily into an empty can of SpaghettiOs and we’d still be in impressed.
We’re not mad that Grimes — the ascendant Montreal one-woman act who makes excellently creepy electro jams — decided to go all ethereal over this track’s unstoppable keyboard burbles. We’d just like to politely suggest she consider calling up Bun B or Trae the Truth or someone to get super slow and heavy on the remix.
Atlas Sound, “Flagstaff”
In his primary gig, as the front man for Deerhunter, Bradford Cox makes messy, charged-up noise-pop. In his solo project, Atlas Sound, he slows things down and incorporates more ambient bloops and drones. The point is, Flagstaff, Arizona is lovely this time of year.
William Shatner, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Shatner’s been a self-parody for so long he has to keep going bigger. That’s how we end up with this video starring Bill, as the moon, shouting “Bohemian Rhapsody” at young lovers lazing about on the grass.
Childish Gambino, “All the Shine”
In gearing up for his first official release, emo-nerd-hipster-blog-rap hero Childish Gambino releases a studio version of “All The Shine.” Serious question: are we approaching a moment in time where more people know about Donald Glover’s rapping than the ratings-challenged NBC show he stars on?
Johnny Marr and Best Coast, “In Your Sleep”
Best Coast’s lonely-hearted sadsackery usually feels less "honest" and more "pathetic," ("I wish he was my boyfriend," etc.). On this track, though — a collaboration with Johnny Marr for Ray Ban, of course — BC’s Bethany Cosentino debuts a much-appreciated sense of dark humor: “You say we’re not in love but I know we are. Just because of the way you walk … and the things you say in your sleep."
The Vaccines, “Tiger Blood”
Charlie Sheen lives!
T.I. feat Pharrell, “Hear Ye, Hear Ye”
T.I. wisely spends enough money to get one of the good Pharrell beats, then lets P go first (“I know n----- that’ll run from their shadow like Peter Pan”). Later, he engages in some lightweight real-talk: “Laying in the prison cell staring at the ceiling, still wondering where it all went wrong. Since Phil got killed I ain’t never moved on.” Not exactly a comeback jam, but it's not without its merits.
Young Jeezy, “38”
Con: Young Jeezy pushed the release of his next album, Thug Motivation 103, again, this time to December 30.
Pro: It will now be accompanied by a movie narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
Con: This new song, “.38,” is mostly boring.
Pro: It does include the line: “Got ‘em stacked long and wide like some Lego blocks / This ain’t even a real home, this my Lego spot.”