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Singles: Jan. 13, 2012

Reviews of new singles from B.O,B Feat. Andre 3000, Foster the People, Kellie Pickler, and more

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B.O.B Feat. Andre 3000, ”Play the Guitar’
The Artist Occasionally Known as Bobby Ray coasts on a sun-splashed groove and drops a hot ax lick, though the real heat belongs to his guest, the long-AWOL OutKast star, who makes a breathless rhyme about his Wikipedia page sound positively electrifying. B+Kyle Anderson

Foster the People, ”Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)”
FTP are like musical Mogwai: relentlessly fuzzy and cute on the outside, with a secretly dark gremlin heart. (Don’t feed them after midnight!) Sunny sing-along ”Don’t Stop,” their third single, centers on a kid less explicitly homicidal than the one in ”Pumped Up Kicks” — and cuddly enough, apparently, to sell cars (it’s in a heavily run Nissan ad). A-Leah Greenblatt

Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith, ”Happy New Year”
This aggressively smooth reunion of the ”Never Say Never” pair dispels rumors of Mayan doom and promises that 2012 will be full of not only love but also tween-pop slow jams pallid enough to make listeners long for the swift arrival of 2013. C-Ray Rahman

Scissor Sisters Feat. Krystal Pepsy, ”Shady Love”
Who knew Jake Shears could rap? The glam genie holds his own on this bouncy electro-disco track, with help from super-buzzed-about female MC Azealia Banks (a.k.a. Pepsy), paying tribute to a girl who ”gon’ vote for Obama and… dance to Madonna.” It’s hip-hop for the go-go dancer set. BMelissa Maerz

Paul McCartney, ”My Valentine”
McCartney probably went over this simple after-hours ballad — reportedly penned for new bride Nancy Shevell — and thought, ”This is kind of a B–. How can I kick it up a notch? I know! Have Eric Clapton add some achingly lyrical acoustic flourishes!” Mission accomplished. BKyle Anderson

Kellie Pickler, ”100 Proof”
Is American Idol‘s resident goofball ready to drop her lovable-ditz routine? On this pretty, slide-guitar-heavy ballad, Pickler has never sounded more assured, or intoxicatingly smitten. She and her man may be watching another couple fall apart at the bar, but they know they’ll be going home happy together, ”drunk on the beautiful truth.” B+Grady Smith