Hilary Duff


Oh, to be a young, rich woman in Hollywood, with her most debauched, debased days still lying ahead of her like a blood-red awards-show carpet. These cheesy/creepy synth-pop come-ons triple as soundtracks to (a) marrying one's manager, (b) strip-club pole dances, and (c) dad's lingering perusals of his daughters' teen mags.


"Big Girls Don't Cry"

This über-polarizing Black Eyed Pea and her humps, her humps, her lovely lady lumps weasel ever-deeper into our nation's collective unconscious with some breathy-LOUD-breathy balladry. I liked that other Fergie single a lot better—you know, the thematic rip of J.Lo's "Jenny from the Block" and Gwen's "Luxurious"—but this one's blazing chorus hits me right there.

Lil Wayne

"I Feel Like Dying"

How ironic is it that one of Weezy's most lucid 2007 mixtape tracks is about being so hopelessly blotto that he prays for an audience with the Grim Reaper? Chemically crippled and croaking, the self-proclaimed "Greatest Rapper Alive" goes all psychedelic on us over a melancholy Henry Ate sample: "I can mingle with the stars, and throw a party on Mars/I am a prisoner, trapped behind Xanax bars."


"Paper Planes"

Best-case: Human rights-minded hipsters are reminded of how fun a single "Rump Shaker" was, and illegal immigrants hit Maya up for fake visas on her MySpace. Worst-case: The line "Hit me on the Bunner prepaid wireless" is appropriated as an undergrad hipster catchphrase with no basis in fact. For now: Can we agree that the conflation of cash register and gunshot sounds here is maybe the most astute commentary on contemporary rap?


"My Girl Got a Girlfriend"

R&B's (possibly) ascendant new star sure knows how to turn lemons into Minute Maid Lemonade, huh? "My girl gotta girlfriend/I just found out but it's aight, long as I can be wit her, too," he explains silkily, sagely reasoning that "Havin' two chicks/Is better than no chicks." That randy Ray-L—he's a gentleman and an optimist!