Melissa Maerz
July 06, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Alicia Keys, ”New Day”

When she says it’s a new day, she isn’t kidding. On the first single from her as-yet-untitled album, due later this year, Keys trades her usual piano-led inspirationals for a booming drumline intro you might find on a Nicki Minaj track. The Steinway comes in soon enough, but with her husband, Swizz Beatz, producing, she sounds reenergized, more hip-hop queen than jazz-club chanteuse. B+Melissa Maerz

Muse, ”Survival”

The operatic Brits’ official theme song for the London Olympics clearly aims to capture the majesty of elite decathletes with its strings and ”Bohemian Rhapsody”-style bombast — but lands much closer to the unintentional goofiness of synchronized swimmers. CKyle Anderson

Olly Murs feat. Chiddy Bang, ”Heart Skips a Beat”

Simon Cowell’s most recent U.K. export is no boy-bander. The 28-year-old British X Factor alum’s infectious reggae-inflected ballad is the work of a grown-ass man willing to put his true feelings on the line. Fortunately, it’s also a perfect summer jam, so if you shed a tear, you can just tell everyone it’s sweat. A-Ray Rahman

Tim McGraw, ”Truck Yeah”

After years of sensitive pop tunes like ”She’s My Kind of Rain,” the country titan (below) is truckin’ tired of sentimentality. ”Yeah” finds McGraw celebrating his inner ”redneck rockin’ like a rock star.” Who knew he had fellow Louisianan Lil Wayne ”pumpin’ on [his] iPod”? B-Grady Smith

You May Like