When the announcement was made that Adele would be tackling the theme for the forthcoming James Bond installment Skyfall, the response could probably be described as a collective “DUH!”, and luckily the finished result doesn’t disappoint. Soaring strings, powerhouse vocals and a hefty dose of Hollywood drama meld into a perfect blend of velvety goodness straight out of Bond’s Golden Age. It doesn’t really matter if this one is shaken or stirred, because either way it goes down smooooth.
DJ Sliink | PUT CHA BACK IN IT
You have to hand it to Alexander Wang and his production team. Season after season they deliver the coolest of cool runway soundtracks that burn their way into your head, as is the case with the opening track from Wang’s Spring Summer 2013 runway show (a favorite around these parts). Sampling lyrics from Masters At Work’s 2002 Carribean-tinged club jam WORK, DJ Sliink’s PUT CHA BACK IN IT takes the original, chops it up and ratchets the energy up to 11. We’d bet money that listening to this infectious little jam just once will not be enough. It’s catchy enough that you’ll be tapping your foot long after the song ends. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Junior Kimbrough | I GOTTA TRY YOU GIRL
One of the most talked-about Spring 2013 collections, Hedi Slimane’s debut for Saint Laurent, was the subject of several sensational headlines. (Albeit not always for reasons related to the collection itself…Cathy Horyn, we’re looking in your general direction.) Say what you will about the clothes and Slimane, but one thing is inarguable, as far as we’re concerned: the soundtrack, created by the electronic icons of Daft Punk and consisting of an extended edit of Junior Kimbrough’s “I Gotta Try You Girl,” was spot-on. A bluesy slow burn, the song served as a fitting complement to the dark, L.A.-rocker-chick-slash-witchy-woman that Slimane has envisioned for spring. The original edit has been on heavy rotation ever since.
Kanye West feat. Big Sean & Jay-Z | CLIQUE
Leave it to Yeezy to deliver one of the catchiest tunes around devoted — lovingly of course — to his peeps. If 2011’s Jay and Ye collaboration, the aptly yet offensively titled N***as In Paris, provided the ultimate in hip-hop sing-alongdom, then the most recent single off of West’s multi-artist compilation CRUEL SUMMER ups the ante considerably. With lyrics that proclaim his clique’s superiority (“Ain’t nobody fresher than my mothaf****n clique”) and a slick, hard-driving beat, we triple-dog dare you not to bounce with it.
Lana Del Rey | RIDE
Love her or hate her you’ve got to admit that Lana Del Rey has got style, which could explain why her love-it-or-hate-it debut Born To Die is about to be re-released, deluxe style. Featuring an additional eight new tracks, Born To Die: Paradise Edition should be catnip to those of us craving a little something new from Lana. Serving as the upcoming album’s lead single, RIDE is as moody and bluesy a torch song as can be. Eschewing some of Born To Die’s original R&B accents in favor of a slow burning, piano-driven melody, the somber sex appeal is just too appealing to resist. Then again, we always have had a thing for sad girls singing sad songs…
Miguel | ADORN
Sometimes, a straight-up and simplistic R&B jam is preferable to all the cacophony of the headache-inducing dubstep sounds that are currently pervading virtually every musical genre. Miguel’s “Adorn,” a single from the crooner’s just-released album Kaleidoscope Dream, goes back to basics with sparse production, a familiar sounding beat, and silky smooth vocals. With a straightforward message — “Let my love adorn you…you gotta know that I adore you” — the song is a simple yet sweet expression of love.
No Doubt | PUSH AND SHOVE
If the first single off of No Doubt’s comeback album, SETTLE DOWN, whetted our appetites for more of the band’s laid back, good time sound then “Push and Shove”, the title song off of said album, delivers it in spades. A delirious mish-mash of quintessential No Doubt (complete with a horns section) whipped up with slick, almost dub-steppy production courtesy of Diplo. For anyone who came of age in the Tragic Kingdom era, this eclectic jam is impossible not to love, recalling as it does so much of that album, but it’s hardly a throwback. Then again, even if it was, would that really be so bad?
Purity Ring feat. Danny Brown | BELISPEAK II
On “Belispeak II,” Detroit-based underground rap darling Danny Brown spits an autotuned verse over a dreamy, electro-infused beat from “It” duo Purity Ring, in a collaboration that could very well send the Tumblrsphere into a tizzy. It’s touted as a “sequel” to the Canadian indie group’s original song “Belispeak,” but it’s only slightly reworked by amped-up percussion and Brown’s trademark high-energy delivery. An unlikely coupling, for sure, but one that’s just crazy enough to work.
Pusha-T feat. Future | PAIN
Produced by the dynamic duo of No I.D. and Kanye West, “Pain” is the first single off of Push’s upcoming full-length solo project, to be released sometime next year. This bare-bones banger has a sinister, lurching feel and a guest spot from up-and-comer Future. In an era of hip-hop where bottle-popping, Maybach-driving excess is still very much a factor, it’s a strangely refreshing change of pace to hear something with a little more doom and gloom and weight.
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