The Songs We Can't Escape

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera

"Keeps Gettin' Better"

Did I miss the memo? Is every diva—be it country, pop, R&B, whatever—presently required by law to have a single in which her various personas are ticked off to the tune of a mammoth, world-smashing hook? Has the universal attention span shrunken to such a nub that these facets of self can't be teased out over several albums in the span of a given career? Just asking. I mean, this is easily Aguilera at her pluckiest, it's a blast, the video-cum-Target-commercial's comic-book fabulous, etc., but there's a strong sense here of a box on a form being checked off.

"Origami Skulls"

This is the duo of Matthew Bower (Sunroof!, Skullflower, etc.) and Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards, Zaimph, etc.) doing what they do best together: knitting a billowing noise tapestry out of processed voice, electronics, and guitars that rarely shifts gears and seems to flap and snap for forever and change. What's nice is that Hototogisu's rail-skidding scour is never entirely impenetrable and always consistently immersive—a curious achievement, given that most of their considerable catalogue could, at peak volume, soundtrack a particularly lysergic haunted house.

"What Else Is There to Do"

Owing to growing Weezy fatigue on my part—and a suspicion that most of you are sick of me writing about this guy—here's an early New Year's resolution to make 5ingles a Weezy-free zone from now until 2010. The less said about Dedication 3, which is mostly Wayne checking his nails while various headed-nowhere understudies flex their muscles, the better.

"She Said Stop"

Give this Cali hustler/spitter a scout badge for Best Alias, some brownie points for ganking a "Tom's Diner" sample, not much else. His new mixtape—a drop in a ginormous bucket full of anonymous subpar chancers' free-for-download efforts that gets deeper every fucking week—doesn't feature the Match Game theme anywhere. Total missed opportunity to reel in the AARP set.

"Cold World"

What did you expect, P? It's late autumn, you're behind bars, and you've grown so unfathomably lazy as a rapper that no one was checking for you to drop another disc this year, let alone whenever the parole board gives you the high sign.