50 Cent

"Follow My Lead"

Those oiled muscles, that Vitamin Water-fueled bankroll, and this sonic aloe vera (courtesy of producer Tha Bizness) are far more enticing to prospective Fitty conquests than anything the man actually has to say here, though for some, "Ride by the beach, I call you a b!tch then hang up/Probably call you right back and sh!t" might fly as an aphrodisiac. When the beats outshine the boaster, and the boaster's really serenading his business partners, look out!

R. Kelly

"I'm a Flirt"

Neither courtroom dramatics nor R&B purist scorn will stay Kells from cutting another few [email protected]!t-bonkers babymakin' silken-bangers per annum. This one's about the alleged watersportsman/pederast's almost pathological tendency to scam on your chica without even meaning to. Why this wasn't inflated into an implausibly insane epic, squiring mom to the rec center social—"I'm a flirt"/Waiting with your daughter at the gynecologist's office?/ "I'm a flirt"/Taking a statement from a battered housewife?/"I'm a flirt!"—remains a mystery.

Shop Boyz

"Party Like a Rock Star"

Pros: Lackadaisical Southern rap and suavely competent electric guitars t-t-totally do complement each other; the lyric "On the yacht with Marilyn Manson/Gettin' a tan, man." Cons: It's impossible to distinguish between the weak respective flows of Bingo, Sheed, Fat, and Meany, let alone figure out what they're actually saying on the first five listens (probably intentional—clever marketing strategy). No hurry on the solo albums, guys.


"You Got Yr Cherry Bomb"

The glue linking cryptic indie minx/Spoon frontman Britt Daniel to now-defunct up-with-clublanders Deee-Lite? The importance of not going to bed peeved at yr significant other, as spelled out on 1992 safe-sex dance track "Rubber Lover." Daniel wins, of course, via determined obliqueness and a serious hard-on for Motown gold.

Amy Winehouse


Smirk at this on the radio now, hungrily snap up the CD later. Proof positive that being a scary drunk can help make some talented people fairly famous; it helps that Winehouse remembers what fantastic hitmakers and performers the Supremes, Martha & the Vandellas, and Smokey Robinson were (and remain). Her love for their sound allows her to bridge generational barriers and make fans of all ages—and, incidentally, pay off all that credit-card debt run up in bars.

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