Instant playlist: New songs from Avril and 8 others
AVRIL LAVIGNE, ''Girlfriend'' This instantly catchy pop-rock cherry bomb comes off like a 2007 sequel to the giddy junior-high na-nas of 1982's ''Mickey'' and 2005's ''Hollaback Girl'' — and is just as much bratty fun. (Album due April 17) A- (Buy it on iTunes)
MIKA, ''Love Today''
The Brit sensation channels Bee Gees falsetto funk, Freddie Mercury swagger, and Scissor Sisters dancefloor sauce on this infectious feel-good anthem, the follow-up to current single ''Grace Kelly.'' (Album due March 27) B+ (Buy it on iTunes)
FALL OUT BOY, ''Thnks fr th Mmrs''
Guest producer Kenneth ''Babyface'' Edmonds supplements the emo superstars' usual guitar crunch with flamenco-style strumming and a quivering string section, giving them their most sonically adventurous song yet. (Album out) A- (Buy it on iTunes)
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, ''North American Scum'' Brooklyn hipster James Murphy opens this track in his trademark deadpan drawl. When the hook kicks in, though, even he can't resist squealing along in sheer ecstasy. (Album due March 20) A- (Buy it on iTunes)
YOUNG BUCK, ''Get Buck''
Rising hitmaker Polow Da Don (''London Bridge'') lends a thunderous beat to fellow Southerner Buck — who once again proves he's among the sharpest lyricists in 50 Cent's G-Unit crew. (Album due March 20) B+ (Buy it on iTunes)
MIRANDA LAMBERT, ''Crazy Ex-Girlfriend''
The title of this twangy rave-up is aimed squarely at the no-nonsense Texan twentysomething who sings it: Lambert gleefully describes wreaking havoc on a former flame's new relationship. (Album due May 1) B+ (Buy it on iTunes)
KAISER CHIEFS, ''Ruby''
The XTC-loving lads from Leeds are back with a supremely catchy ode to infatuation: ''Let it never be said that romance is dead/'Cause there's so little else occupying my head.'' (Album due March 27) A- (Buy it on iTunes)
PATRICK WOLF, ''Accident and Emergency''
Avant-garde English rocker Wolf lays his vulnerable vocals over schoolyard samples and a spare, glitchy backbeat. The result (available only at EW.com) is both odd and hypnotic. (Album due May 1) A- (Download it exclusively here)
MACY GRAY, ''Finally Made Me Happy''
The Fraggle-voiced songstress returns after a lengthy hiatus with this smoky Motown-style slow jam. Don't be misled by the title, though; it's actually a kiss-off to an old lover. (Album due March 27) A- (Buy it on iTunes)