From Alicia Keys to Fall Out Boy, the Best and Worst Singles of the Week
"We Are Here"
Never mind the simplistic chord progressions: A pregnant Keys' latest move to effect social change through song would hit if it weren't such an overwrought exercise in cliche. The midtempo cut attempts to unify, but its earnestness is embarrassing ("Let's talk about Israel/ 'Cause right now, it is real," she sings). Her intentions may be good, but Keys is better-suited for love songs. --Steven J. Horowitz
"The Devil in I"
The nu-metal maniacs in Des Moines, Iowa's Slipknot forge ahead with .5: The Gray Chapter’s "The Devil in I," a headbanging odyssey from its gnashing guitar squalls to singer Corey Taylor's final deranged laugh. Though longtime drummer Joey Jordison's departure doesn't dull its percussive push, Slipknot's slightly more sober tone may divide longtime fans of the band's harder-core early days. --Harley Brown
Fall Out Boy
Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" makes up the backbone of FOB's follow-up to 2013's Save Rock and Roll, and the J.R. Rotem-produced cut is a blowout. Patrick Stump's operatic proclamations are matched by militaristic drums and the occasional dramatic production flourish, but the conflicted poetry of the lyrics makes "Centuries" compelling for more intimate settings. --Maura Johnston
"Feels Like Vegas"
After mining chart gold with her breakout hit "2 On" and turning down for follow-up "Pretend," R&B newcomer Tinashe teams up with Norwegian hitmaking duo Stargate for "Feels Like Vegas," the latest off her upcoming debut, Aquarius (Oct. 7). Over streaking synths and a chopped-and-screwed vocal sample, she convincingly stakes PG-13 territory ("Every kiss getting wetter") with sexy results. --S.J.H.
Darius Rucker has another hit on his hands with "Homegrown Honey," which finds the former Hootie & The Blowfish leader drawn to a boots-wearing, whiskey-drinking country girl spotted among the "New York pretty." Compared with his past solo work, "Homegrown Honey" feels edgier and more playful, with Rucker wielding an electric guitar and hitting his stride. --Jill Menze
Wale Featuring Jeremih
Maybach Music Group/Atlantic Records
"I can door you up, baby, suicide/ A little wordplay, I'm hoping I can make you smile," says Wale on the first single off his upcoming album About Nothing. The Washington, D.C., MC's nonchalant, Seinfeld-loving shtick has always been wink and nod, but that doesn't completely forgive yet another song comparing a woman to a pimped-out ride. --Dan Hyman
An edited version of this story orginally appeared in the Sept. 27th issue of Billboard.