1. Kanye West & Jay-Z – ‘Otis’
Who needs a chorus when you’ve got Otis Redding? Not Kanye and Jay-Z, who unveil the much-hyped ‘Watch The Throne’ by sampling the pipes of the world’s greatest soul singer. “Does it make it eeeeeeaasier?” he croons before a single beat has dropped. Not exactly, but it makes it a load better than hip-hop’s other behemoth, Eminem, unnecessarily staining the pants of the otherwise epic ‘Bad Meets Evil’ with a giant Bruno Mars-shaped skid mark. Anyway, I digress. Jigga and Yeezy really don’t do easy. They do massive.
Rumour has it Tyler, The Creator was invited in to do some session work with Jay-Z a few months back. Just in case Lil’ T thinks he’s on his level, Hova cuts him down to size with the first line: “I invented swag”. Consider yourself told, young man. So what’s there to read into Jay-Z grabbing the intro? Not much. Kanye gets the beat and the last word; Jigga gets the best line: “Run up on Yeezy the wrong way, I might merk ya!”. In between they go verse-for-verse in the old school way. Jay says, “I got five passports / I’m never going to jail”; Kanye responds, “I made Jesus walk so I’m never going to hell”. It’s all big statements and all rather silly. Bring on the album.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
2. St Vincent – ‘Big Black Mariah’
With The White Stripes done and dusted, Annie Clark is doing the decent thing and filling the void in 2011 for an alt.guitar hero whose cover versions are as important as their own tunes. This used to be a Tom Waits song. It isn’t now.
Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor
3. Lil Wayne – ‘Sorry 4 The Wait’
It’s OK, Weezy – especially because, by the sound of it, things have gone a bit ‘Scarface’ lately. Riffing off ‘Rolling In The Deep’, this is a typically danger-poking tale of being “somewhere between joy and pain.” Which apparently means being on a drugscapade with a lady of the night and sleeping with a hammer under the pillow.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
4. Electricity In Our Homes – ‘Aching/Breaking’
Although presumably not an ode to osteoporosis and old age, this nevertheless displays a maturing of ‘Leccy’s sound from ramshackle post-punk discord of yore to ramshackle romance not a million miles from the hoary standard set by a certain Mr J White.
Luke Turner, writer
5. Kai Fish – ‘Cobalt Cheeks’
All our solo love is being fired in the direction of Ronald Vannucci Jr and his mega-big Big Talk project now, so the idea of the bassist from Mystery Jets going it alone isn’t exactly a heart-thumper. Until you hear the Yuck-gone-blockbuster crunch of ‘Cobalt Cheeks’ – which is almost as huge.
Jamie Fullerton, News Editor
6. M83 – ‘Midnight City’
New M83 material has been more elusive than genuine contrition from a News Corp honcho of late, but Anthony Gonzalez has finally obliged and made it worth the wait. A riot of stadium-epic power drums, synth choruses set to Kate Bush and a runaway sax cut from Cut Copy’s cloth combine to excellent effect.
Tim Chester, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
7. Mogwai – ‘Get To France’
Following thunderous seventh album, ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’, the Scottish post-rockers release the rather more delicate ‘Earth Divisions’ EP. This lead track sparkles with the tinkled ivories and tense, glimmering strings of a creepy lullaby that could turn and incinerate your dreams with napalm at any second.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
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8. Summer Camp – ‘Better Off Without You’
After the bunny-boiling obsession of ‘I Want You’ comes this slap in the face, where Ms Sankey has decided the cad isn’t worth her time after all. “If you said you were never coming back, I’d be so happy!” she soars. Don’t go buying flowers too quickly, chaps.
Susana Pearl, writer
9. Patti Smith – ‘Rolling In The Deep’ (Adele cover)
Would the first lady of heartbreak please stand up? Raw, guttural and proof that even a seriously over-played, chart-storming power ballad can still convey real anguish. Only Patti Smith could transform an omnipresent break-up song into the war cries of the vengeful.
Anne T Donahue, writer
10. Girls – ‘Vomit’
Let’s get this straight: Girls’ Christopher Owens is a total hero. He’s your favourite bands’ favourite songwriter for a reason, and this is it. ‘Vomit’ is ‘Live Forever’ with gospel choirs and a million frazzled, fucked-up guitar solos that sound like Crazy Horse going mental. So, pretty damn good then.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
This article originally appeared in the July 30th issue of NME