There’s a reason they’re called the dog days. Right about August, the music business smells about as fresh as a Dumpster at high noon. So instead of our usual review, here’s an expanded edition of our Download This column, made up of non- (but should-have-been) singles from the last few months to help get us over the hump. All are downloadable on iTunes, Rhapsody, and Napster — except for a special EW exclusive from V2 Records. Check out our fabulous 15. — Ryan Dombal, Michael Endelman, Raymond Fiore, Leah Greenblatt, and Chris Willman
> She may have ruled Billboard‘s singles chart for much of the summer with ”We Belong Together,” but MARIAH CAREY’s breezy-beautiful soul jam ”Stay the Night” best showcases the extent of her Emancipation.
> The electro-cool GORILLAZ snag cute kiddies to chant, ”The poor people are burning in the sun. . ./I need a gun/’Cos all I do is dance.” ”Dirty Harry” is feel-good music with an eerie aura.
> With its horn-laced Motown strut, R&B newbie TREY SONGZ’s ”Comin’ for You” cuts through the clutter of booty-obsessed hits with startling innocence.
> ”Can’t Stop” is a funky hurricane; dancers will be flailing to keep up with producer Rich Harrison’s spine-snapping syncopations. MISSY ELLIOTT adds some of her horniest one-liners. Someone needs to get a room!
> THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS crank out a scream-along anthem for the Myspace set with ”Move Along,” which boasts an indelible hook. The Oklahoma quartet continues to make emo safe for stadiums everywhere.
> Country upstart MIRANDA LAMBERT threatens to torch an ex’s playhouse on her stomping ”Kerosene.” Metaphorical? Maybe, but he may want to invest in flame-retardant britches.
> ”Horsemen” is a hazy, almost operatic slab of psych-rock awesomeness from A BAND OF BEES, the U.K.’s latest student-becomes-the-master retro fiends.
> Canadian chanteuse FEIST’s Bee Gees cover ”Inside and Out” is a glitter-dusted dream, tripping the synth fantastic for four blissful minutes.
> Not a Stones cover, this ”Bitch” is the upcoming single from dance-rock group RINÔÇÉRÔSE that distills the Glimmer Twins’ swagger into a disco-rock fantasia. Available at V2records.com.
> ANNIE’s non-single ”Me Plus One” still kills it — Blondie’s ”Rapture” meets Kylie’s, well, anything, in her helium-giddy Norwegian sparkle-pop.
> The FOO FIGHTERS give the fat middle finger to radio with their thunderous album opener ”In Your Honor” — the drums don’t kick in till the 1:40 mark. But if anything makes us play air drums in our undies, it’s this.
> The howling refrain of THE WHITE STRIPES’ ”My Doorbell” and Jack’s infectious piano pouncing punctuate this thumper’s vintage-rock appeal. The McCartneyesque vibe would make Sir Paul proud (or maybe jealous).
> It’s easy to be ”Faithful” to Chicago MC COMMON as he eschews conscious rap’s tedious didacticism for a more lived-in wisdom on this breakdown of monogamy’s pitfalls. Bilal and John Legend add skyscraping gospel flourishes. Preach.
> Leisurely dripping through the speakers, the luscious, Keith Sweat-sampling ”Purple Rain” finds BEANIE SIGEL and Texan Bun B praising the illicit charms of cough-medicine-laced ”sizzurp.” The perfect slo-mo score to your next, um, Pictionary party!
> In SPOON leader Britt Daniel’s hoarse croon, even the grimly elegiac ”I Summon You” sounds like a pretty, bare-bones prayer. And you can dance to it, too. (Not available on Napster.