Singles Roundup

New music from Kenny Chesney, 50 Cent, and Justin Timberlake

“Pirate Flag”

Kenny Chesney, “Life on a Rock”

Country superstar Kenny Chesney released this summery single just in time for the winter storm Nemo. "Pirate Flag" celebrates a man who trades in his small-town life for a full-time party with rum, pirate flags, and "island girls." Chesney releases his signature drawl over an introductory bed of acoustic guitar and rhythmic clapping, which is soon overwhelmed by a more driving beat as Chesney slips deeper into pirate mode. The story is somewhat undermined by logical gaps—Chesney claims to have ridden the bus to his Caribbean getaway—and its forced rhyming makes it a difficult sing-along. Still, the song’s upbeat tempo and fun, if ridiculous, theme could make it a nice addition to any party playlist.

“Major Distribution”

50 Cent Ft. Snoop Dogg and Young Jeezy, “Street King Immortal”

"Major Distribution" is the first single off of 50 Cent’s long awaited album, "Street King Immortal." Throughout the song, 50 rumbles in his signature raspy-melodic voice, "I’m trying to move one brick, two brick, three bricks, four." Presumably intended to sound intimidating, the lines come off sounding like a nursery rhyme written to help children learn how to count. This singsong chorus is composed of three unremarkable verses. Despite its shortfalls, the song is worth a listen, as it features Snoop Lion as his former, rapping Snoop Dogg self. But don’t get excited for a Doggy-Dog return—the song was recorded before Snoop adopted his new reggae persona.

“Mirrors”

Justin Timberlake, “The 20/20 Experience”

After half a decade without Justin Timberlake, two new singles in the space of a few weeks feels like rain in the desert. "Mirrors" the eight-minute second single off of "The 20/20 Experience," evokes a soulful, ‘90s R&B feel. The song takes a while to warm up, beginning as a synth-driven ballad that seems as if it would be more at home on an All-American Rejects album. The first verse, rife with cliched images, ends with an almost stalkerish declaration—"Just know that I’m always / Parallel on the other side." JT redeems himself with a catchy hook and chorus and a slow-clap in the second half of the song. The song’s theme is perfect for JT’s comeback album, too. One can’t help but feel Timberlake is singing directly to the listener when he declares, "I don’t want to lose you now," or, "You were right here all along."

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