Another work week has come and gone. Congratulations, we've made it! No matter what's been bogging you down over the last few days, its time to blow off some steam by either kicking back in front of marathon of Friday Night Lights (while ugly crying into your pillow) or going out and fiendishly dancing, before stumbling home in a drunken stupor. Since music makes everything better, we're providing you with an assortment of goodness to back any and all activities over the next two days. Check out our weekly offering of tunes and opinions below, and give us your own suggestions in the comments. Because who knows? If we like them, they might just be getting a shout out here on Popdust soon enough.
1. "Out Of My Head," Lupe Fiasco Featuring Trey Songz
Fresh off performing together at the MTV Movie Awards last weekend, Lupe Fiasco's call out to his lady of choice is smooth and fresh, and made even more undeniable by Trey Songz's sultry chorus. (For the record, Trey makes everything better.) There are no self-deprecating rants or political criticisms, just very forward assertions of feelings. And who could really say no to that?
2. "Lights," Ellie Goulding
She's been big across the pond for much of the last year—William and Kate are fans—and a recent guest spot on SNL and upcoming summer tour are positioned to help Goulding emulate the likes of Adele stateside. That's yet to be seen, but the title track off her debut certainly gets us moving thanks to scintillating synths. The electronic-infused jam is subtle enough to provide cool backing to those endless intellectual conversations you find yourself having every Saturday night. Or, the perfect way to start a dance party. (Check out the Dubstep and Bassnectar remixes, too.)
3. "Pumped Up Kicks," Foster The People
Some songs just sound like summer. With the temperature climbing, the single off the groups first album Torches is climbing the charts as well, thanks to a handful of buzz from last year's SXSW and a heavy push from MTV. We're still high on the song ourselves, thanks to a breathy chorus, joyous whistling and even a sun kissed video that makes us really want to give frisbee a try again.
4. "Can't Knocked The Hustle," Jay-Z Featuring Mary J. Blige (MTV Unplugged)
Lil Wayne might be taking the Unplugged stage on Sunday, marking the first new show for a rapper in 10 years, but Jay-Z's installment remains a classic. Backed by The Roots, Mary J. Blige succeeds in taking the Reasonable Doubt track to church, and when the song mashes up with her own "Family Affair," her vocals reach new heights.
5. "I Do It," Big Sean
Recently put through the rigorous test of Popdust's own Magic Box Interview, rapper Big Sean has enough swagger to potentially back up Kanye West's claim that he's hip hop's next Beyoncé. "I was the man when I started / I'll be a man when I die," he raps, his flow backed by a pulsating, drum-assisted beat. The chorus is simple enough, but after all the bragging squeezed into each verse ("My dick is hard as titanium") we need a slow bounce to recover and regroup.
For songs six through ten, including indie slow jams and one legendary showtune, click NEXT.
6. "So Far Around The Bend," The National
Slowing things down just in time for a mid-afternoon nap. Lead singer Matt Berninger's deep baritone can be described as calming, unintelligible, or at times both. On this track, recorded as part of 2009's Dark Was The Night benefit show, he uses sweet and subtle imagery to find his lady ("You've been humming and I think it's forever /
Praying for pavement to get back together") by hitting on her weakness—and ours—for rumored rock reunions. We're partial to chorus "And there's no leaving New York," which surprisingly has not been adopted by New York City's tourism board. Yet.
7. Local Natives, "Who Knows Who Cares"
It's hard to chose a favorite off California group's 2009 Gorilla Manor, an all encompassing album that deserves multiple repeats, but "Who Knows Who Cares" is perhaps the best for a looming summer sunset. Fueled by the complimentary harmony compromised of Taylor Rice and Kelsey Ayer's conflicting voices, swelling piano and strings, it's as haunting as it is soothing. While the title suggests a song about indifference, it's hard not to care when all these elements bring together such a beautiful result.
8. "Fight For This Love," Cheryl Cole
Cole's stateside debut may be officially delayed, thanks to a bum deal from Simon Cowell and the folks at X Factor, but that doesn't mean we can't continue to listen to her music in support. Her debut single "Fight For This Love" is a straight up jam, with a twinkling piano melody carried throughout cheery—if at times cheesey—lyrics. By the time we get to the chorus ("Quitting's out of the question / When it gets tough, gotta fight some more") consider us officially reinvigorated, willing to face our demons head on. Listen to your own words, Cheryl!
9. "Rockin That Thang (Remix)," The-Dream featuring Fabolous, Ludacris, Juelz Santana and Rick Ross
How do you make an already great track better? With help from three of your MC friends who can manage to spit lyrics the likes of "Can I call you Nana cause you got that rocking chair?" without laughing. The-Dream has game of his own, using his sweet sounding choruses as lady bait on the original. But because every girl goes through a bad boy phase at one point or another, the verses from Fab, Luda, Juelz Santana and Rick Ross give it some extra oomph, as the boys don't skimp on stating their intentions ("The bedrooms we lose calories in it / And start families in it"). Yet even Luda is a softy ("So let me dive in your heart and swim around in your soul"), making this dirty yet sweet dichotomy all the more irresistable.
10. "And I Am Telling You (I'm Not Going)," Jennifer Holliday
There is plenty of pop-theater crossover in music today, thanks to big screen musical adaptations and the ever extending reach of Ryan Murphy's Glee. To celebrate Sunday night's annual Tony Awards, revisit one of the greatest musical theater numbers—if not the greatest female ballad—ever. Before Beyoncé was a Dreamgirl, and before J-Hud won an Oscar as Efie White, Ms. Jennifer Holliday schooled young girls on how to evoke real heartache on a nightly basis with her quintessential showstopper. Say what you will about musicals, but the insurmountable deliverance of both pain and power requires at least one public performance in each person's lifetime. If you don't break a sweat or go hoarse afterwards, you're doing it wrong.
Like our mix? Think you could do better? Be sure to let us know your own picks in the comments.