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"Live Your Life"

by T.I. ft. Rihanna

(Grand Hustle)

Or, "Winning the Internet, Part 1: Jacking for Hooks." You can't know how disappointed at least two dozen rock critics were to realize that Douglas Wolk was at Burning Man when this song debuted online. Wolk is the Portland critic whose history of the "Numa Numa Dance," the YouTube meme (fat kid in chair, headphones on, rocking out) set to O-Zone's "Dragostea Din Tei," appeared successively at EMP, in the Believer, and in last year's Da Capo anthology. Now Rihanna has resung that infernal hook beneath T.I.'s don't-call-it-a-comeback bid, proving like nothing since his 80-zillion gun salute to the ATF just how shameless he really is.

What's even more unabashed is how much the track of "Live Your Life" sounds like a third-generation MP3 copy of T.I.'s 2006's megahit "What You Know." It sounds like a rush job, undistinguished apart from how cheaply, in all senses, it comes across. T.I.'s rhymes are fine, but they'd land a lot better if he weren't rapping them over twice-grilled toasted cheese of the Euro-trance variety. Guys, guys: Not everything of that ilk is as cool as Daft Punk, okay? A lot of it is just lousy, for real. Can we please try to remember this?

Minimal EP

by Matias Aguayo


Or, "Winning the Internet, Part 2: Jacking for Beef." It's true that this track's creation predates Philip Sherburne's recent discussion-starting Pitchfork column about the current dark days of the dance-music industry, but it's a perfect answer anyway, by making a mockery of the question. Literally: "Never gon' dance, never gon' dance/'Cause that music got no groove, got no balls," Aguayo slithers into our ears, mixed to cover the beat, which is of course the point. Three mixes on the 12-inch—all are good, but neither the playfully severe original nor Marcus Rossknecht's electro-lit touch-up comes near DJ Koze's fabulous remix, which bathes a jazzy guitar lick in warm red disco lights, and turns the song from a theoretical anthem into a real one. T.I. shouldn't sample it, but note-taking is definitely encouraged. recommended