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“Story of My Life”
One Direction, “Midnight Memories”
For a band whose oldest member has yet to turn 22, it seems a little premature to release a song entitled “Story of My Life.” For One Direction, however, youth is no deterrent to heartache. Their newest single is a kick-drum happy anthem in the vein of Mumford & Sons that seems content to skate by with lyrics that would be clichés if they were coherent—“written on these walls are the colors that I can’t change”—before bursting into a soaring chorus that feels all the more empty for its bombastic attempts to create emotional depth.
Lady Gaga, “ARTPOP”
“ARTPOP” is rapidly approaching, and with her most recent single from the album, “Venus,” Lady Gaga herself is entering new territory: outer space. An electronic, galactic romp, “Venus” is a whole lot of noise with just enough substance to succeed as a single. It’s true that Gaga’s power belting feels a little flat on this newest track, and she seems to have traded in some of her signature wit for the like of the stunted pre-chorus line “take me to your planet.” However, the track is saved by a campy roll call of the planets at the end of the track, and a whole lot of Gaga verve.
"Let Me Go" ft. Chad Kroeger
Avril Lavigne, "Avril Lavigne"
In her newest single, Avril seems to be dead-set on convincing her listeners that she is now very, very mature. Instead of being polished or adventurous, however, "Let Me Go" is ponderous and heavy. Seemingly centered on some kind of trauma, the lyrics are at once histrionic and hollow: "I've said goodbye / Set it all on fire." The instrumentation is similarly uninspired, alternating between a sickly-sad piano melody accompanied by violins and a muddy drum beat during more expansive moments. If nothing else, "Let Me Go" has spawned a terrific music video, which features unfortunate product placement, a shape-shifting Chad Kroeger, and the subtle symbolism of an hourglass that runs in reverse.
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