I Will Wait (4:52)

Producer: Markus Dravs

Writers: Mumford & Sons

Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group

Gentlemen of the Road/Glassnote

For the lead single off their follow-up to "Sigh No More", Mumford & Sons chose a song with a bit of history. "I Will Wait" has gone through numerous incarnations and working titles, with live performances predating the band's 2010 American breakthrough. The final version of the energetic five-minute track sounds straight off their debut, but considering the runaway success of "Sigh No More", a single emulating the debut's banjo-plucking, brass-blaring, heart-on-sleeve rally calls may be the smartest move in terms of conjuring sustained success. The main problem with "I Will Wait" isn't the lack of variation in its sound, but rather the redundancy of its lyrics: The chorus repeats the song title over and over. If it's musical growth that listeners are looking for, they'll have to wait to hear the full album, Babel, due in September.-JM


Chalk Outline (3:02)

Producer: Don Gilmore

Writers: Three Days Grace, B. Stock, C. Wiseman

Publishers: EMI Blackwood Music-Canada/Blast the Scene Publishing/Mean Music Publishing (SOCAN/BMI), Big Loud Shirt (ASCAP)

RCA Records

Four albums in and after the usual three-year interim between releases, Three Days Grace has something slightly new up its sleeve. The first offering from "Transit of Venus" (due Oct. 2) is a stomping industrial track that starts with electro tracer guitar and a big, halting beat-a foreboding ambience for frontman Adam Gontier's tale of angst and betrayal. He's been "cursed" and "crossed" and "shattered by the ones I love," whose transgressions have left him like the outline of a corpse on the sidewalk-not exactly subtle. The song does fill out in the pre-chorus and chorus, blasting off with a sinewy directness that's as tightly wound as anything the Canadian quartet has delivered before. Of course, new producer Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Bullet for My Valentine, Good Charlotte) is no stranger to working with that type of dynamic and gives "Chalk Outline" a booming presence during its three minutes. It's a welcome change of pace that certainly piques interest in what else Three Days Grace gets up to on the rest of the album.-GG


We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (3:11)

Producers: Max Martin, Shellback

Writers: T. Swift, M. Martin, Shellback

Publishers: MXM ­administered by Kobalt (ASCAP), Sony-ATV Tree Publishing/Taylor Swift Music (BMI)

Big Machine Records

Forget about the Max Martin-assisted embrace of delirious pop hooks on Taylor Swift's new single for a second, and think about how "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" is the funniest song the country superstar has thus far recorded. Gone, momentarily, are the sweepingly romantic narratives of past lead singles "Love Story" and "Mine." Instead, there's a sardonic sneer in Swift's voice, a spoken-word bridge in which she assures her audience that her past flame is so in the past and an incisive, spot-on comment that her past flame would find his "piece of mind/With some indie record that's much cooler than mine." Swift has already offered winning permutations of her girl-next-door persona within different genres, and has certainly written breakup chronicles that cut her exes down to size. But with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Swift expands an already impressive songwriting range to incorporate a biting sarcasm within her deep-rooted confidence. With a new album, "Red", that will likely showcase her experimental impulses when it arrives in October, Swift has tossed out a lead single that's at once bold and familiar.-JL



The Hill (2:42)

Producer: Ty Segall

Writer: T. Segall

Publisher: Domino Publishing

Drag City

The first 15 seconds of Ty ­Segall's new single, "The Hill," off the forthcoming "Twins", are a red herring. The loose, double-tracked voice of Thee Oh Sees' Brigid Dawson gently sings, "Open our hands, upon the sands, we are the children still." Soon, however, Segall's garage-rock sound arrives with rugged drums and distorted guitar thrashing. The prolific San Francisco rock artist keeps his vocals composed on "The Hill," but his words are so impassioned and intimate that the listener can envision him spewing out the lyrics live in his basement. Like a lot of Segall's music, "The Hill" is short, catchy and vigorous, but Dawson's vocal harmonies are interwoven throughout the song and provide a fresh complement. "Twins" is the third record that Segall will release in 2012, but he still has some interesting tricks to display.-GRG



Yet Again (5:21)

Producer: Chris Taylor

Writer: Grizzly Bear

Publisher: Doomed Beauty Music

Warp Records

Few indie-rock bands have one great songwriter, but Grizzly Bear has two: angel-voiced daydreamer Ed Droste and folk-prog experimentalist Daniel Rossen. As they've matured sonically, their respective styles have subtly diverged, but a hypnotic tension remains in that balance. On the Rossen-led "Sleeping Ute"-the first single from the band's upcoming fourth album, "Shields" -- the members of Grizzly Bear flexed their artiest muscles, reveling in disjointed meters, dense psychedelia and fractured blasts of soul. Meanwhile, the Droste-fronted "Yet Again" is the more refined track, with his intimate tenor front and center, nursing a tender lullaby over Rossen's oceanic guitar blasts and Christopher Bear's booming tom-toms. "Take it all in stride," Droste belts on the chorus, moments before spiraling into a climax of guitar noise. But that spasm is temporary: "Yet Again" proves that, even at its most stripped-back, Grizzly Bear never packs anything less than a gut-punch.-RR



Anything Could Happen (3:51)

Producers: Jim Eliot, Ellie Goulding

Writers: E. Goulding, J. Eliot

Publishers: Sony BMG Music Publishing/Global Talent Publishing, PRS


It's a shame that Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" locked up Billboard's Song of the Summer 2012 crown weeks ago, because Ellie Goulding's "Anything Could Happen" would surely be in the running if it were released a bit earlier. The lead single off the U.K. singer/songwriter's upcoming sophomore album, "Halcyon", offers images of long drives in pickup trucks and skinny-dipping: "Stripped to the waist/We fall into the river," she sings. Airy synths make way for breathy chants over a galloping beat during the chorus, and Goulding's voice is multiplied until it sounds infinite. Originally unveiled in a lyrics video that collected fan-submitted Instagram images, Goulding's latest single may never rival the ubiquity of Jepsen's pop smash, but it could certainly equal Goulding's breakout U.S. hit, "Lights," which still resides in the upper reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.-LW

Edited by Jason Lipshutz

CONTRIBUTORS: Jim Allen, Gregory R. Gondek, Gary Graff, Jason Lipshutz, Jillian Mapes, Deborah Evans Price, Ryan Reed, Lindsey Weber, Mikael Wood

All albums commercially ­available in the United States are eligible. Send album review copies to Mitchell Peters at Billboard, 5700 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90036 and singles review copies to Jason Lipshutz at Billboard, 770 Broadway, Seventh Floor, New York, NY 10003, or to the writers in the appropriate bureaus.