Carrie Underwood feat. Ludacris | “The Champion”

champion carrie underwood

So yeah, this happened.

The queen of country finally decided to make a bland Top 40 pop song with even blander lyrics (“I’m a fighter like Rocky/ Put you flat on your back like Ali”). The premier vocalist of this generation is utterly wasted on this pap.

And Luda? He fucking does the each-letter-stand-for-X thing for his verse (“The ‘I’ is for integrity, innovative career”). Also a waste of talent. Goddammit.

Not even a Patriots-less Super Bowl can justify this vapidity.

Thirty Seconds To Mars | “Walk On Water”

30stm new music

Jared Leto loves two things: majestic arrangements and Tony Robbins platitutes,. That is made painfully clear (again) on “Walk On Water”. Leto writes choruses designed to be shouted back to him by the masses, and this does not fail that goal. Whether Leto trying to sell self-help (“Do you believe that you can walk on water?/ Do you believe that you can win this fight tonight?”) is supposed to empower the audience or the other way around remains unclear. This will be stuck in your head after a one listen, so choose wisely.

Queens of the Stone Age | “The Way You Used To Do”

qotsa new single 2017

In which the band’s trademark robo-rawk is supplanted for robo-groove, likely thanks to the “Uptown Funk” guy, who produced the upcoming LP. (Not that it’s a surprise, but there’s a strong dance element to this – including handclaps and a flippantly sashaying guitar riff). Perhaps fittingly, Josh Homme wrote about his favorite topic (read: fucking) to match the artificial sexiness of the whole affair. Basically, imagine the next logical step after Era Vulgaris but with Mark Ronson calling the shots.

Byzantine | “Trapjaw”

byzantine new album 2017

Second single from The Cicada Tree is gnarly, vicious, and catchy. In other words, it’s a Byzantine song – and a solid one at that. The pedestrian lyrics (“You trade the here and now for everlasting lies/ Just a barrier to divide those side by side/ They seek to define”) follow a well-worn path, but that’s about the track’s only downside. More of this, please.

Living Colour | “Come On”

new music living colour

It’s a decent, blues-ish anthem from the funk-metal vets’ upcoming record, Shade,  but it’d be better without the electronic elements that not only date it to 2017, but also come off as a cheap ploy to sound modern and hip. Guys, all you had to do was rock out, that’s it. You’re trying too hard.

Arcade Fire | “Everything Now”

arcade fire new music

They’ve carried over the disco tendencies from Reflektor, though the bloat seems to have been excised (thanks to Thomas Bangalter?) and been replaced with the once-lost folk aspects. So, folk disco? Meanwhile, whether Win Butler is being sarcastic throughout is unclear, though you can feel his disdain in a line like, “Every song that I’ve ever heard/ Is playing at the same time, it’s absurd”. This is a solid lead single, but remember this is AF so it could make or less sense in context of the forthcoming LP.

Foo Fighters | “Run”

This seems to be the sibling of “The Pretender,” both in its structure and its inoffensively vague politicking. The difference is that “The Pretender” felt finished; this feels rushed and thrown together. Still, Foo Fighters is comfort food to many (myself included), and in 2017 we need it. If you still listen to modern/active rock radio, though, get ready to be sick of this song by summer’s end.

Rancid | “Where I’m Going”

We finally have the token ska-punk single from Rancid’s upcoming LP, Trouble Maker. It’s a fun little ditty complete with lyrics that only make sense as a drunk sing-along (“Have you ever seen the Devil?/ Well, I have and now he’s in trouble/ Oh, ‘liberty and freedom I obey’/ Are words I’ll never regret”). They continue to make stuff this catchy sound effortless.