Take a Walk (4:23)
Producers: Chris Zane, Michael Angelakos
Writer: M. Angelakos
Publishers: Boat Builder Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Songs (BMI)
From laptop-based bedroom project to major-label act, Passion Pit has enjoyed an impressive upward trajectory during the past half-decade. "Take a Walk" likely represents the first song many will hear from the Massachusetts-based act. Fittingly, it's a balanced sampling of the old and new. Under the watchful eye of Chris Zane (who produced the band's 2009 debut LP, "Manners") "Take a Walk" embraces more of a rock aesthetic than the group's abstract, synth-based jams like 2008's "Sleepyhead," yet still hits its groove behind a vibrant synthesizer riff. Gone are frontman Michael Angelakos' impossibly high, mouthful-of-helium vocals, with the singer now content to let his voice ride the hook rather than define it. And lyrically, he's as vivid and left-field as ever: In what is one of Passion Pit's most intellectual dance jams, Angelakos tells the tale of a financially frustrated immigrant who, when in doubt, simply takes a walk.
Little Big Town
Producer: Jay Joyce
Writers: B. Dean, N. Hemby, L. Laird
Publishers: EMI Blackwood Music/Wruckestrike/Universal-Careers/Barrytones (BMI)
The first single from Little Big Town's forthcoming Capitol set is an ingratiating slice of summertime fun that should find a welcome spot on country airwaves during the steamy months ahead. Teaming for the first time with producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Rubyhorse), Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet have delivered a funky tune that pairs the amazing vocal blend that is the group's calling card with an edgier vibe that serves as a breath of fresh air. The group's performance is playful and tinged with greasy Southern soul, while the lyrics, written by Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Barry Dean, are cutesy-clever. Anyone who has ever soaked up a few rays on a pontoon boat will see themselves in every line and find it impossible not to sing along.
Rick Ross Feat. Usher
"Touch'N You (4:12)
Producers: Rico Love, Pierre Medor
Writers: R. Love, P. Medor, W. Roberts
Def Jam Recordings
For his new single "Touch'N You," Rick Ross gets freaky in front of dreamy production and alongside some trademark smooth crooning from Usher. On the first single from his forthcoming "God Forgives, I Don't" album, Rozay's deliberate flow and typical love-and-money sentiments float over echoing snares, snappy drum machine claps and sparkling touches of synth. Ross' delivery is uncomplicated, but the swaying beat carries his vocals, adding enough depth around his charming lines about "eating like a lion feast." Usher is a little more straightforward, singing sky-high melodies all over the track about "touchin' you" and other, more suggestive ideas. Usher's sexual refrain combines nicely with the gleaming production and Ross' more playful lyrics. With each artist releasing an album this summer, "Touch'N You" is a great ride into the heated season.