“Bitch Better Have My Money”
Rihanna’s sassy new single recalls the icy trap of “Pour It Up,” with her once again sneering over a stuttering beat. A more imaginative hook would have been nice, but Ri isn’t playing nice here — following the folk-pop of “FourFiveSeconds” with this grimy bop proves she’s impossible to pigeonhole. –Jason Lipshutz
Shades of the xx‘s downbeat cool color the thumping “Loud Places,” but the act’s producer wisely builds up to a grander sound on the first cut from solo debut In Colour (June 2). Featuring vocals from bandmate Romy, the song climbs from hushed verses to a majestic chorus that samples Idris Muhammad. –Steven J. Horowitz
“Glass & Patron”
FKA Twigs has built a following by toeing the line between electronica and R&B, and “Glass & Patron” may be her most magnetic balancing act yet. As a fog of harsh buzzes slopes into a bass-heavy slither, Twigs murmurs “hold that pose for me” — even though she herself is coolly incapable of doing so. –J.L.
Stoney Creek Records
Keifer Thompson is singing about more than just his car when, on “Trans Am,” he asserts, “I want to hug those curves, and show you what this motor’s made of.” Innuendos aside, Thompson Square’s latest finds the husband-and-wife duo successfully trading twang for classic rock, with a stomp-clap bridge that hits the mark as expertly designed dumb fun. –J.L.
This story originally appeared in the April 11 issue of Billboard.