Singles: Feb. 8 2013 |


Singles: Feb. 8 2013

Our grades on singles and albums this week


Fall Out Boy
”My Songs KNow What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)”

Back after three years, FOB stay on their old workout plan, pumping rugged alt-rock crunch full of snarling R&B vocal stabs and big-ass drums like an aggro Maroon 5. That many disparate elements need a strong melodic adhesive to cohere, and this falls a few ”Whoa”s short. B-Kyle Anderson

”Started from the Bottom”

On the first single from his upcoming third album, a darker, deeper-toned, and somewhat defensive Drizzy raps up his origin story. It’s not as eloquent or expansive as previous takes on the genre (Jay-Z’s ”December 4th,” Kanye’s ”Last Call,” A$AP’s ”Suddenly”), but the looping pianos and eerie chanting will still pull you into a Kendrick Lamar-ian trance. BRay Rahman


Tim McGraw
Two Lanes of Freedom

Don’t be fooled by the hillbilly-proud rocker ”Truck Yeah,” which finds McGraw bragging that he’s got ”Lil Wayne pumpin’ on my iPod,” or by ”Mexicoma,” a piano-pounder that finds him stoned at Tortilla Joe’s. (Spring break, whoo!) Once he’s tipped his Stetson to frat-rock America, this is a deeply traditional country album — and a touching one, too. With minimal production, the pedal steel comes through clearly, and so does the regret on ”Friend of a Friend,” on which he grills his buddies about the girl who got away, and ”Number 37405,” which imagines going to jail for a DUI. But go ahead and skip ”Highway Don’t Care,” his bland May-December duet with Taylor Swift. Imagining this 45-year-old vet making Swift’s little heart-hands gesture at her? Ick. BMelissa Maerz

Jim James
Regions of Light and Sound of God

Listening to James sing with his Southern-rock band My Morning Jacket feels like hearing George Harrison lead Lynyrd Skynyrd on a guided meditation trip. He’s the bearded spiritual leader; they’re just jamming to his visions of Vishnu. So it makes sense that James’ first official solo album has him going full guru, singing ever so gently about God and Martin Luther King Jr., and relaxing with ’70s R&B and instrumental jazz. As easy listening goes, it’s dreamy — so dreamy you might have trouble staying awake. B-Melissa Maerz