NEW YORK (Billboard) - The third single off Ke$ha’s debut album, “Animal” -- also known as every bad girl’s sleepover soundtrack -- “Your Love Is My Drug” is unforgiving in its mission to equate lustful romance with substance abuse. “I‘m looking down every alley/I‘m making those desperate calls,” the “Blah Blah Blah” singer narrates over a deeply layered electronic backdrop that knocks even harder than that of her first single, the No. 1 “TiK ToK.” “The rush is worth the price I pay/I get so high when you’re with me/But crash and crave you when you leave,” Ke$ha belts on the bridge. “Is my love your drug?” she asks later -- a silly question in theory, but when delivered with spunky vocal conviction and a healthy dose of humor, it’s hard not to answer “Yes.”
SINGLE: AIRPLANES (Atlantic Records)
Atlanta rapper/singer B.o.B follows up “Nothin’ on You,” his No. 1 hit with Bruno Mars, with a more unexpected collaboration, enlisting Paramore’s Hayley Williams for the inspired “Airplanes.” The rock frontwoman delivers a hook that should have listeners quickly singing along (“I could really use a wish right now, wish right now”), while B.o.B offers introspective rhymes about his transition from underground rapper to burgeoning star. “Somebody take me back to the days/Before this was a job, before I got paid,” he raps. “Back when I was rappin’ for the hell of it/But nowadays, we rappin’ to stay relevant.” Rising U.K. producer Alex Da Kid anchors a floating piano melody with a militant drumbeat for an arrangement that feels epic yet intimate. With its universal themes of personal struggle and nostalgia, “Airplanes” is a surefire second hit from a bright new talent.
SINGLE: THE HOUSE THAT BUILT ME (Sony Music)
Though she’s well-known for incendiary tunes like “Kerosene” and “Gunpowder & Lead,” Miranda Lambert demonstrates how beautifully effective she can be with a tender ballad in “The House That Built Me.” The song chronicles a young woman who visits her childhood home to reconnect with her past, and Lambert promises the new owners that if they’ll just let her in, she “won’t take nothin’ but a memory from the house that built me.” The lyric is filled with the kind of powerful visual details that make a great country song, and Lambert’s achingly vulnerable delivery underscores the emotion. This is the latest single from her “Revolution” album -- recently named album of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards -- and great performances like this one show why the Texas bombshell has risen to the top.