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Singles: Sept. 9, 2011

Reviews of new songs from Florence + The Machine, Tom Waits, and more

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Florence + The Machine, ”What the Water Gave Me”
As witchy women go, Flo’s the closest thing this generation has to Stevie Nicks. Her new single is gypsy pop’s finest, with throbbing bass lines, a cappella chanting, and eerie strings. When was the last time a harp sounded so rock & roll? B+Melissa Maerz

Robin Thicke, ”I’m an Animal”
Thicke goes full-on Superfly on his strutting, funky-horned latest. He puts some solid Soul Train boogie into it, but a song like this calls for pipes as truly dyn-o-mite as the late Curtis Mayfield’s. BLeah Greenblatt

J. Cole Feat. Trey Songz, ”Can’t Get Enough”
Over a smooth Spanish guitar sample and chanted ahhhs, the Jay-Z protégé talks slick — saying his girl’s so hot that she could make Wesley Snipes pay his taxes on time. His wingman Trey’s swaggering hook is just as charming. B+Brad Wete

Tom Waits, ”Bad As Me”
Like most of his best songs, the gravel-gargling troubadour’s first new single in five years immediately evokes an alternate universe full of dusty backroom bars, dangerous dames, weathered bluesmen on the make, and a frisky, skronking sax for good measure. B+Kyle Anderson