Single Reviews: Ariana Grande, Ryan Adams, Jeezy, Parmalee, Ryn Weaver


"Break Free"

Ariana Grande's "Problem" is still duking it out with Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" for Song of the Summer status, but that hasn't stopped Grande, 21, from delivering another perfectly on-trend smash with follow-up single "Break Free," featuring production from EDM beatmaker du jour Zedd. The song, the second single from Grande's sophomore album, My Everything, adheres to the strict rules of 2014 dance-pop (generic lyrics about independence, bass that doesn't drop until the chorus). But there's one crucial exception: her formidable pipes. "Break Free" succeeds in its insistence on being a soaring power ballad disguised as a club banger, allowing Grande to belt at full blast - particularly on the infectious bridge, punctuated by an "oh bay-bay" that should quickly become her signature. -Andrew Hampp


"Gimme Something Good"

Pax Am/Blue Note

Formerly mega-prolific songwriter Ryan Adam kicks off his first album cycle in three years with a gripping blues-rocker good enough to make the alt-country crowd wonder how it has survived this long without him. Adams quit ­smoking and endured inner-ear disease to get to this point, so the song's dash of Springsteen mythology sits tidily next to the subtle acoustic-guitar shimmers. -Chris Payne


"Seen It All"

CTE/Def Jam Recordings

Jigga and Jeezy sound right at home as they once again reminisce about their dope-dealing days on the title track to the latter's forthcoming LP. Jeezy spits extra-aggressive, and Jay Z happily plays the wizened vet, but Cardo's exotic, flute-heavy trap beat is the real MVP of the track, reportedly recorded during Jay Z's "Magna Carta...Holy Grail" sessions. -Jason Lipshutz


"Close Your Eyes"

Stoney Creek

There's a sweet ­simplicity to "Close Your Eyes," Parmalee's latest single, about the anticipation of that longed-for first kiss. To lead singer Matt Thomas' credit, he manages to sound like neither a cliched hopeless romantic nor another guy out to get some, which makes lines like "Coming on strong, I'm gonna lay it on your lips" come off more endearing than nauseating. -Jill Menze




Singer-songwriter Ryn Weaver topped Billboard's Emerging Artist chart with her catchy alt-pop debut. She's unsigned, but big names are behind the track: Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos, Cashmere Cat and Benny Blanco co-produced, and Charli XCX co-wrote. "OctaHate" benefits from its intricate arrangement, but Weaver's unrestrained confidence seeps into the song's smallest corners. -Dan Hyman


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