Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Singles Serving

Adele - Rolling in the Deep. Although "Make You Feel My Love's" enduring appeal has kept her close to pop audiences, this is the real deal--the first single from her second album, 21, which follows 19 from 3 years ago. "Rolling in the Deep" is a great pop record for Adele, who delivers a soulful, confident vocal over an upbeat tune of guitar, hand claps and '60s-style girlgroup backing vocals.

Wretch 32 - Traktor. Meet Wretch 32, a British grime rapper that's one of this year's hot new things (according to BBC and MTV at least). "Traktor" is his first single. On first listen, it's not really my thing, but subsequently it's grown on me a bit. The key is to turn it up really loud. I really like the piano bit that comes in for the bridge, since I wasn't expecting that in this mix that's otherwise just beats.

Kanye West & Jay-Z - H.A.M. The reception for this superstar rap collaboration has been decidedly muted. It debuted at #30 in the British singles chart, and it's #20 at iTunes right now, so I expect a similar reception in the US. Surely the album will do well, but I think this first taste is pretty good. It's quite over the top (it has an operatic middle 8), leading me to believe it's more West's influence than Jay-Z's.

Keri Hilson - Pretty Girl Rock. The woman best known for 2009's "Knock You Down" and 2007's Timbaland collaboration returns with the first single from her second album. It's not bad, but I can't say it's a knockout. It has a sweet piano refrain, but it's too repetitive.

Chromeo feat. Elly Jackson of La Roux - Hot Mess. This is just a bit of fun from one of last year's best synth-drenched '80s throwbacks. Elly Jackson doesn't sing, but offers some spoken word bits sprinkled throughout.

Update: Turns out there's a new version of "Hot Mess" that features more Elly Jackson vocals than the album version. I just heard it on the radio and it's great.

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