Here are five new songs that you need to have on your iPod while walking to class this week.
1. Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”
When Jay-Z and New York City get together, something great happens and people listen. He doesn’t even sound like he’s bragging at this point. Lines like “I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can” can only garner respect and admiration. As long as Jay-Z keeps putting out tracks as strong as “Empire State of Mind,” who cares how many times he says he’s going to retire.
Oh, Alicia Keys’ hook isn’t bad either.
2. Third Eye Blind, “Bonfire”
I’ll admit it. Third Eye Blind’s first new single in six years, “Don’t Believe a Word,” wasn’t the instant classic I was hoping it would be. However, the one that follows it on the band’s new CD is.
“Bonfire” brings back the undeniable catchy-chorus approach that brought 3EB to fame in the first place. Mix in the acoustic guitar and deeper-than-expected lyrics, and I almost believe it’s the 90s again. This song should start taking over the airwaves soon. Welcome back, boys.
3. Drake, “Fear”
Drake puts it all out there. The Toronto native can feel the pressure of being a star building, and he isn’t totally comfortable with it. Regardless, he wants you along for the ride and brought a clean guitar hook to keep things smooth.
If you heard “Best I Ever Had” this summer and thought, “Great, another guy just making hits about groupies,” then you thought wrong. Check out “Fear” to see why Drake is about to become your next favorite rapper.
4. Thrice, “Wood and Wire”
Lots of bands go through changes from album to album, but few have had as drastic of a transformation as Thrice has.
The band began as a post-hardcore outfit in 1998, shredding and screaming its way through the underground. Then maturity sunk in. Instead of playing as fast or heavy as possible, singer Dustin Kensrue and guitarist Teppei Teranishi began to write more thoughtful alternative, electronic and indie music. “Wood and Wire” really showcases just how far they’ve come.
5. The-Dream, “Fancy”
No one can deny that singer/producer Terius Nash makes hits. They just might not be aware right away.
Nash, better known as The-Dream, has composed some of the decade’s biggest songs, including Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” Not to mention his own slew of hits.
On “Fancy,” all of The-Dream’s talents find the spotlight. During the six-minute tale, he shows off his surprisingly good voice, well-enough lyrics and a beat that starts out fitting and ends fantastic.
Grant Goerke can be reached at email@example.com