"Girls Around the World"
by Lloyd, ft. Lil Wayne
This melting Creamsicle of a record is so immaculately constructed that its craft renders itself invisible, each part meshing into the other till there is only an exquisite whole. But it's still worth celebrating those parts. There's Lloyd's falsetto, so cocoa-buttery that the first time I heard it, it took till the second "I just wanna be your man" to realize it wasn't actually a woman. There's the title phrase, embedded in the background—Chubb Rock, I think. There's the sliding-block synth-strings that one-up "Sensual Seduction" by cutting its signature into bite-sized chunks. There's Lil Wayne concisely rewriting Rakim into a come-on as sly as Lloyd is doe-eyed sincere. And there's the source of those Rakim quotes, the eternal "Ashley's Roachclip" break that Coldcut used to remix "Paid in Full" even deeper into the annals. The secret, though, is the absolutely guileless, wussed-out way Lloyd repeats the word "song" after the chorus's killer line, "Can't get you off my mind/You're like my favorite song"—the most shameless pussy-tease this side of Prince doing "Do Me Baby" or "Adore."
A few months ago, Adele had a big British hit with "Chasing Pavements," proof that just because a god-awful-maudlin ballad isn't as horrifying as Leona Lewis doesn't mean you ever need to hear it. This follow-up is a different story. Adele still evokes Shirley Bassey too much for her own good, but instead of belting and wailing here, she's scratchier and friskier, buoyed by the track's breakbeat. The words are better (funnier, meaner), too, which helps. Advantage: faster tempos, as usual in R&B from England (and elsewhere).
"Be a Nigger Too"
This sounds cynical. Not disgusted or sly or deadpan or sneaky or confrontational—just cynical. Nas's great ex-rival Jay-Z gets away with these kinds of singsong choruses because he sounds so self-amused, but if Nas has a self-amused bone in his body he's never exposed it on record. Besides, it's hard to imagine what could be the appeal of a chorus taken from a sickly Oscar Mayer ad jingle. Anyway, he changed the title of his new album to Nas, so this kind of isn't the title track anymore. Boo-hoo.
"Golden Cage (Fred Falke Remix)"
by the Whitest Boy Alive
The most Camaro-ready synth lick of the year so far, even counting the Quiet Village album; or, "Son of 'Digital Love'"—for this week at least, the number-one son.