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Hot summer singles

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While Katy Perry, Eminem, and B.o.B continue to melt Billboard’s chart Popsicle, a fresh batch of top-spot strivers have begun to scale the Hot 100. Below, we look at new singles from late-summer and fall album releases.

Maroon 5 ”Misery”
”Misery” loves more than company — it is also, apparently, quite fond of blue-eyed funk and pogo-bounce bass lines, courtesy of the elastic L.A. rockers and producer Mutt Lange (Def Leppard, Shania Twain). B

Usher feat. Pitbull ”DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love Again”
Usher’s first single from the upcoming EP Versus — an eight-song ”sequel” to March’s Raymond v Raymond — ditches R&B for Auto-Tuned dance-pop. Not bad, but not especially Usher, either; it might as well be Ke$ha in drag. C+

Sara Bareilles ”King of Anything”
The ”Love Song” chanteuse forges a buoyant, hand-clappy anthem from cantering piano and a playground-style taunt of a chorus. B+

Nicki Minaj ”Your Love”
Rap’s spitfire explores her softer side, sampling Annie Lennox (the airy 1995 ballad ”No More I Love You’s”) on her honey-tongued ode to a good man. Like Jay-Z’s kindred ”Young Forever,” it’s pure, delicious Velveeta. A-

Interpol ”Barricade”
The dark overlords of NYC post-punk return with a gratifyingly grim death spiral of a song, built on a razor-wire guitar line and singer Paul Banks’ wailing double-tracked vocals. B+

Jaron and the Long Road to Love ”Pray for You”
Jaron — of Chiclet-teethed twin dreamboats Evan and Jaron, who scored in ’00 with ”Crazy for This Girl” — goes country lite with a wink, warbling a goofy eff-you to an ex. B

Shontelle ”Impossible”
She may still be Barbados’ second-best-known pop import by a long shot, but this Rihanna cohort’s broken-hearts ballad is the kind of epic chest-thumper that you sing so loud in the shower, it scares the dog. A

Ne-Yo ”Beautiful Monster”
Ne-Yo must know a lot of powerfully seductive ladies; the R&B star’s atmospheric latest recalls his dangerously-in-love ’08 hit ”Closer” in both theme and melody. At least these femmes fatales keep him inspired. B-

Brandon Flowers ”Crossfire”
Like so many other rock frontmen gone solo, the Killers’ Flowers doesn’t sound markedly different on his own. Instead, the Vegas native works up a nice Bono-in-a-bolo-tie bombast on this dusty cinematic paean to a star-crossed romance. B+

Cali Swag District ”Teach Me How to Dougie”
Will there be Grammys on their mantel come 2011? Unlikely, but this SoCal collective’s breakout has the kind of loping, hypnotic appeal — all bass snap and sly directives — that dance-party micro-crazes are made of. A-

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