The Devil You Know
Rickie Lee Jones; streaming here.
Perhaps what is puzzling you is the nature of her game. The curious Rickie Lee Jones, who is just as likely as cockroaches and Keith Richards to survive a nuclear war, goes deep-moan blue for a live acoustic take on one of the 10 tunes she chose for her new covers disc, The Devil You Know, produced by Ben Harper.
“It's kind of an evocation, and I do it by myself,” Jones told NPR. “It's a powerful, frightening, fun romp through the upper echelon of hell.” For her interpretation of the Rolling Stones classic chiller, the troubadour strips it down to a slurry drone reminiscent of the song’s genesis, as filmed by Jean-Luc Godard in 1967. Dark, stark and eerie, call Jones “Lucifer,” or anything else she wishes.
Where Things Go Wrong
Jason Collett, from Reckon (Arts & Crafts); streaming here.
Shimmering, hazy and downbeat, this one isn’t cheery. It feels a little like Sea Change from Beck or something hashish-y by Kurt Vile, with someone – perhaps the Toronto singer-songwriter himself – relegated to love’s go-stand-in-the-corner status.
Girl on Fire
Alicia Keys with Nicki Minaj, from the forthcoming Girl on Fire (RCA); streaming here.
The “girl” may be on fire, but Keys herself is flame-free as he tries in vain to set off smoke alarms with a yelling empowerment ballad, set to a big crashing beat. Rapper Minaj does her thing, but overall the Fahrenheit here is faux.
Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns
A.C. Newman, from the forthcoming Shut Down the Streets (Matador); streaming here.
Is he singing about a book of time-tested wrestling moves? Probably not. The song-crafting New Pornographer leader teams up with the harmonic Neko Case for more patented pop-bounce and sweet shuffle.
Calvin Harris, with Florence Welch; streaming here.
On the latest single from the Scottish DJ, an androgynous Florence Welch lets her hair down as a wailing, shirt-stripping lounge singer while a man receives a terrific beat-down outside in the alley. It’s all very thrilling, what with its blood-pumping energy and sordid vibe. Really.