These singles reviews are taken from assorted articles found at the Yorker. Reviews are ordered from earliest to most recent.
Lupe Fiasco – The Show Goes On
The recent fad of rappers (and wannabe rappers) producing club tunes to hit the top 40 has been really successful, but rather irritating. It's disappointing that Lupe Fiasco's stellar lyricism and less egoistic tone is wasted on the autotune-tinged chorus and "party all night" theme. The beat feels like it was made for T-Pain or Flo Rida instead of Lupe, but I can't hate the Modest Mouse sample and catchy brass.
Wiz Khalifa - Black and Yellow
Let it be known: catchy beats will always save mediocre rapping. 'Black and Yellow' isn't an exotic song; the beat's nothing especially creative, but the simple synth melody that's like an artillery of music boxes is somehow hummable, danceable, and easy to rap over all at once. Wiz Khalifa's rapping is inoffensive, but boils down to a kid showing off his shiny new car to girls. It's entirely forgettable - a remix featuring Snoop Dogg and (ugh) T-Pain replace Wiz with no detriment.
Far East Movement ft. Frankmusic - 'Do it in the AM'
Having already released songs about things that don't actually exist (there's no such thing as a 'G6'; the plane is called a 'G4'), Far East Movement prove that they don't even need logical metaphors. You would guess that what they're doing 'in the AM' is in a quick-and-dirty in a nightclub bathroom, but lyrics like 'Last one's in, first one's out / Baby we ain't the crowd' makes the implication... kinda sleazy. Frankmusic's beat-juggle at the end saves this one.
Big Sean feat. Kanye West & Roscoe Dash - Marvin & Chardonnay
The unknown that is Big Sean relies on Kanye West as a saving grace; though unless he's rapping about his personal life - Kanye's flow is... pretty awful. No, this is not "The F***in' Anthem" in any context. And as for the beat - we have a reasonable string intro before being dumped into what sounds like a tuba player jumping on a rusty trampoline. I'll take some actual Marvin Gaye over this, thanks.
Labrinth feat. Tinie Tempah – Earthquake
Listening to it sober, what comes across is just how... entirely acceptable it is. This is definitely the Average Party Anthem of cheap nightclubs for the season - but the beat is nowhere near aggressive enough for the smashing and moshing it asks of its listeners. However, the acapella for the bridge is cute in how out-of-place it is.
Listening to it drunk, though? Amazing tune, love it.
Beyoncé - Party
Her diva personality may grate on some, but I feel that Beyoncé's vocal quality far outstrips her attitude outside the music studio. 'Party' has a rubbery and easy-groovin' synth bassline with lyrics simple enough for me to sing along and annoy the housemates. André 3000 offers a rap verse of quality that the Waynes and Wests wish they could produce.
Side note: The music video version of 'Party' has a different guest rapper - J. Cole - who is... nowhere near as good. Why did they do that?
Bonus Single Review! Beyoncé - Countdown
Agressive brass in R&B and Hip-Hop is nothing revolutionary, but I enjoy it. It feels a little too busy here, especially compared to the straightforwardness of 'Party'. I'm not sure if I'm feelin' the staccato-filled chorus, either. At the very least, the music video looks great; Beyoncé's so cute in a turtleneck!