Random Access Memories |
Looking like they stepped out of Tron: Legacy (the '10 sci-fi film they scored), the helmet-rocking French electronic duo have won some precious metal—two Grammys - with their futuristic beats. But now Daft Punk takes you back to the '70s and '80s on a sweeping disco extravaganza recorded on analog gear with an army of real, human musicians. Among the players on their first studio album since '05: guitarist Nile Rodgers, whose Chic sound funks up two Pharrell-led jams: "Lose Yourself to Dance" and the even groovier "Get Lucky." Then there's "Giorgio by Moroder," with the titular titan of dance music accessing some special memories.
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MY TOP 10 JAMS NOW!
1. BRUNO MARS
Okay, now that we've all dried our eyes from "When I Was Your Man," it's time to par-tay with this gem of a jam that will have all your peeps bumping around the barbecue on Memorial Day.
2. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
"Let the Groove Get In"
Another old-school boogie, with its "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' "-esque vibe, this is the seven funkiest minutes of The 20/20 Experience.
3. CHRIS BROWN
Like JT, CB channels the King of Pop with this throwback to the glittery-socked soul of Off the Wall. (The video is totally MJ too.) Killer smooth.
4. MARIAH CAREY
Mimi teams up with the neo-soul man of the moment for this guitar-laced gorgeousness, with the pair kicking it like the new Marvin and Tammi.
In one of her most dynamic vocal performances ever, Ri-Ri packs a real emotional wallop on this power ballad from her latest, Unapologetic.
6. ALICIA KEYS & MAXWELL
"Fire We Make"
Along with "#Beautiful," this sultry Girl on Fire slow jam (also featuring some blazing guitar from Gary Clark Jr.) makes this a hot season for power duets.
7. ROBIN THICKE FEATURING T.I. & PHARRELL
Working his falsetto-kissed croon, Thicke riffs on "Got to Give It Up" (Marvin Gaye's 1977 soul-disco classic) with this irresistibly frisky come-on.
8. KID CUDI FEATURING KENDRICK LAMAR
"Solo Dolo Part II"
Two of hip-hop's most talented twenty-somethings unite on this sinister standout from Cudi's Indicud. The rare sequel that lives up to the original.
"Trying to Be Cool"
The French alt-rockers achieve synth-pop bliss on this airy highlight from Bankrupt! The perfect spring breeze, it'll give you butterflies.
10. VAMPIRE WEEKEND
On this punky romp from Modern Vampires of the City, VW cuts loose and breaks out of those cardigans, never sounding more fun.
Have you been able to process winning yet?
I haven't been able to process getting into the Top 10! My mind has been in a whirlwind ever since then.
What was the best advice you received during the competition?
I remember Smokey Robinson saying, "No matter how high your head gets in the clouds, never let your feet come off the ground." Which means stay grounded and stay humble. It's gotten him far, so I would definitely take that advice.
Who are some of your own music idols?
I love Jazmine Sullivan and Whitney Houston. Aretha Franklin - even getting the chance to have her say my name [on the Idol finale] was amazing! I look up to Jennifer Hudson so much. And I started singing because of Christina Aguilera
when I was 9 or 10.
What would you have been doing on the day of the finale if you hadn't made it on American Idol ?
I would probably have been at work from 8 to 6, renting out golf carts, and then going home and watching the show!
Trouble Will Find Me
"I stay down with my demons," drones Matt Berninger in his brooding baritone (echoes of Joy Division's Ian Curtis) that, after 2010's High Violet, once again leads these indie rockers to melancholy heaven.
Thirty Seconds to Mars
Love Lust Faith + Dreams
The fourth studio album from Jared Leto's band isn't quite the epic that it wants to be. But they make up for some prog-rock bombast with stellar anthems like "Up in the Air," the soaring, U2-like single.
Love Is Everything
Strait may be retiring from the road, but thankfully he'll still be making records like this: another country-strong addition to his catalog. Highlights include the clever bar-stool contemplation of "Sittin' on the Fence."
Excuse My French
This buzz rapper, who grew up in Morocco, makes a strangely slow start on his debut album. But things pick up with cool collaborations like the hit "Pop That" featuring Rick Ross, Drake and Lil Wayne.
MY DESERT-ISLAND DISC
CHARLES: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.
DAVE: The Allman Brothers Band's greatest hits. They sound like being at home.
HILLARY: Carole King's Tapestry. My mom and I bonded over that record when I was little.
SONG I WISH I'D WRITTEN
CHARLES: Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." It hurts every time I hear it.
FAVE WORKOUT MUSIC
DAVE: Mumford & Sons' Babel. Some of it is fast and frantic, so it gives you that edge.
MY GUILTY-PLEASURE SONG
CHARLES: Miley Cyrus
's "Party in the U.S.A." If you tell me that you're not secretly loving it when they put that on in a club, you're a liar!
MY PERSONAL THEME SONG
HILLARY: Steve Winwood's "Roll with It." Honestly, that does define my life. It's funny; it's the first song I remember learning as a kid.
DAVE: The Raconteurs' "Consoler of the Lonely." It's one of those rock-out moments before you hit the stage. We always play it.
BIGGEST SURPRISE ON MY iPOD
DAVE: Jay-Z's The Blueprint.
CHARLES: I'm obsessed with Rufus Wainwright! I've been a fan since college.
HILLARY: Trey Songz. I'm a huge R&B fan.
SONG I'LL ROCK DURING LABOR
HILLARY (who is expecting her first child, a girl, in July): Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy." Like, "I wouldn't be going through this if I were a boy!"