5 Faves: Buzz Songs to Watch in 2011…So Far

Posted February 22, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

Now into the new year, we’ve located five songs that people are talking about…or should be talking about a little bit more

It seems like the daisys and violets of spring are coming a bit earlier than expected. New singles from pop galore like Lady Gaga and Britney Spears are already lighting up the pop charts, but bubbling beneath the surface are some definite noise makers worth analyzing. In our latest “5 Faves” installment, we have profiled five tunes that are attention-seekers and are promising to make an even greater impact on the year later down the road.

“Rolling in the Deep”

Cooking in the oven of Nina Simone blues and Dusty Springfield soul, “Rolling in the Deep” gives the Brit singer her most remarkable moment yet. It’s quite stunning to hear the gospel inflections and therapeutic rants on this bluesy number. The choir ad-libs and handclaps give her a slice of heaven, but the bitter lyrics keep her wrapped up in her humanness (“Go ahead and sell me out/And I’ll lay your shit bare”). It’s a mysterious paradox to some, but it’s a solid masterpiece to others.

My Chemical Romance


Sure the concept video sports a Laser Tag-Anime look (all thanks to their Killjoys’ persona), but the fourth single coming from My Chemical Romance’s is a bit synthy, a bit poppy. When the chorus enters, the pop blends with loud drums, guitar riffs while lead vocalist Gerard Way belt out his rally chants for free speech (“Sing it for the boys, sing it for the girls/Everytime that you lose it/Sing it for the world”). It’s a big contrast when compared against the rambunctiously loud “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na),” but it’s all for the right reasons.


“Shake Me Down”
Cage the Elephant

Definitely one of those singles you have to listen to more than once to thoroughly appreciate. The song breaks the “acquired taste” adage after Matthew Shultz’s whiny vocals matches up with Cage the Elephant’s melodrama. The performance goes back and forth from reflective quietness to rugged amped-up rock. One delicious guitar riff tucked under the chorus leaves a lasting impression, while the lyrics help find a sensitive spot for the afterworld (“Even on a cloud day/I’ll keep my eyes fixed on the sun”). The concept video, detailing a heartfelt journey of a middle-aged man’s last dream, is just as compelling. “Shake Me Down” is currently perched at No. 1 on both the Rock Songs and Alternative Songs’ charts.

“Moment 4 Life”
Nicki Minaj featuring Drake


Besides counting how many times Godmother uses the word “darling,” the concept video for “Moment 4 Life” gives the Nicki universe adequate revelation into her interesting load of personalities. But the song, loaded with ’90’s R&B punch and Minaj’s half-singing/half-rapping contribution, feels like a lab creation mixing Cyndi Lauper pop with ?uestlove drums. Adding Drake to the rap royale makes it even harder to resist.

“Windows Are Rolled Down”
Amos Lee

Even after rocketing to No. 1 with his fourth LP Mission Bell and suddenly falling down to No. 26 a week later, Amos Lee is still the artist that’s on every body’s lips. “Windows Are Rolled Down” blends Tennessee country with Bill Withers soul on an arrangement that best captures Lee’s down-home persona. Startling information to digest especially knowing Lee is signed to Blue Note, he’s infusing more folk into his soul and he even hangs out with Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson on the new record. Still, good music – regardless of the style it’s wrapped in – knows where to find you. Mr. Lee’s got our attention. The new single made its chart debut at No. 49 on Billboard’s Rock Songs’ survey.

We want to hear from you.

What new songs in 2011 should we be focusing on?
Do you think it’s beginning to look a slow year in music for 2011?
Who are you are most anxious in hearing new music from?
Coldplay? R.E.M? More from Lady Gaga? Kanye West? U2? Raphael Saadiq? Jennifer Hudson?

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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