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Singles: December 13, 2013

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Beyoncé, ”God Made You Beautiful”
Queen B recorded this song for her daughter, Blue Ivy, and indeed, its inspirational vibe is very “Simba being presented to the pride in The Lion King.” But beneath all the pomp and glory is a fairly run-of-the-mill R&B ballad that feels a little too safe for America’s preeminent diva — especially when she’s been releasing new music so sparingly. BRay Rahman

Bruce Springsteen, ”High Hopes”
Bruce obsessives may remember this cover (by the now-defunct band Havalinas) from the 1996 E Street reunion doc Blood Brothers, but it wasn’t formally recorded until his current touring guitarist/fellow rabble-rouser Tom Morello encouraged it. “High Hopes,” from Springsteen’s just-announced album of the same name, due Jan. 14, would sound like any other blue-collar end-of-days stomp if not for the Rage Against the Machine axman’s cluster bombs of feedback — and a charred solo that matches the Boss’ underdog growl. B+Kyle Anderson

Will.I.Am Feat. Miley Cyrus, French Montana, and Wiz Khalifa, ”Feelin’ Myself”
Once upon a time, they called it flossin’: A mellow will.i.am flaunts a candy-painted G-funk beat, along with two of hip-hop’s breeziest MCs — and, of course, Miley, whose dirty nursery raps perfectly complement those of her patron. You don’t need to take it seriously. But you should turn it up. B+Nick Catucci

Ariana Grande, ”Love Is Everything”
Wearing out those Mariah Carey Christmas albums? Maybe it’s time to emancipate Mimi from your holiday play-lists and sub in the (also)honey-voiced Grande. She belts her 20-year-old heart out on this seasonal gem, complete with catchy beat and uplifting choir. A-Ray Rahman

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