Owl City

Shooting Star (4:07)

Producers: Stargate, Adam Young

Writers: various

Publishers: various

Universal Republic

Look past the inspirational lyrics and expected crescendo of the chorus on Owl City's "Shooting Star" and focus on the intensity in Adam Young's voice. The singer/songwriter's inoffensive warble now possesses a passionately reckless timbre that recalls the angry earnestness of a pop-punk single. For Owl City, which is nearly three years removed from its massive hit "Fireflies," this is the sound of evolution. The lead single to the artist's upcoming EP of the same name gets an assist from unbeatable production duo Stargate, which culls a warm collection of synth lines and engineers a savory smattering of drums here. Meanwhile, Young retains his gentle vocal prowess in the verses but can't help himself from emitting a few "Whoa-oh's!" as the beat builds. "Shooting Star" may not be as much of a radio staple as "Fireflies," but it represents growth for an artist trying to escape the one-hit-wonder tag.-JL

Katy Perry

Wide Awake (3:47)

Producers: Dr. Luke, Cirkut

Writers: various

Publishers: various

Capitol Records

If Katy Perry's remarkable string of No. 1 singles from sophomore album "Teenage Dream" taught pop fans anything, it's that she and songwriter/producer extraordinaire Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald make quite a team. "Wide Awake," the latest single from her "Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection" reissue that'll also appear in Perry's upcoming 3-D film "Katy Perry: Part of Me," finds the two crafting more pop magic together, with the assistance of a few others, like co-producer Cirkut and writers Max Martin, Bonnie McKee and Henry Walter. Though not as immediately arresting as "Teenage Dream" or "Firework," the song's steady thump, piano plunks and hook-ridden chorus easily hit the sweet spots. Though it may lack the oomph needed to give Perry another chart-topper, the successes of "Wide Awake" are bittersweet, since Gottwald's new deal with Sony may prevent him from working with the EMI artist anytime soon.


Adorn (2:27)

Producer: Miguel

Writer: M. J. Pimentel

Publisher: MJP Music (ASCAP)

Bystorm/Black Ice/RCA

When Miguel publicly griped about losing out on a 2012 Grammy Award nom for his debut disc, "All I Want Is You," few R&B fans could fan away the young singer's complaints - after all, the album whittled out an unconventional authentic lane for the artist. Now comes "Adorn," a sensual ditty from part one of his EP series "Art Dealer Chic" that effortlessly melts lust into love. Although simple in sentiment, the song is far from forgettable, as the 25-year-old demonstrates an understanding of the notes and moments of silence used to seduce the listener. Where most of his peers would have selfishly overstrained their falsettos, Miguel has mastered the art of pacing, knowing just when to hold back and let the waves of his own production crash down. "Adorn" is the type of aural foreplay that should surely tease next year's Grammy committee.