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Grading the week's best (and worst) singles: Green Day, M.I.A, and more

EW’s staff sizes up the biggest new music of the week

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Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty Images; Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Every week, EW’s music staff takes a hard listen to the biggest new tracks and offers up our unfiltered opinions. Read on for reviews of new tracks by Green Day, M.I.A., The Growlers, and more.

The Growlers, “I’ll Be Around”

The Growlers have always toed the line between SoCal calm and southern grit, lacing lax, sun-dipped soundscapes with a rough-and-tumble kick. On their latest, “I’ll Be Around,” they set their sights much further, borrowing a little New York cool from The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, who also produced their aptly named upcoming album, City Club. Brooks Nielsen’s graveled howl is arresting as ever, but it’s the instrumentals that ultimately steal the show: clattering drums and funky guitars give way to scuzzy psychedelics. “I’ll Be Around” is their most divergent track in recent memory, but it’s also their most polished. B+ Dana Getz

Green Day, “Revolution Radio”

On “Revolution Radio,” the second taste from Green Day’s upcoming album of the same name, the legendary Berkeley pop-punk trio proves that decades into their career, they remain one of the most incendiary bands in the game. Like lead single “Bang Bang,” “Revolution Radio” moves at a breakneck pace, packed with the high-octane riffs and deceptively catchy melodies that made 2004’s American Idiot a classic. And the political message is there, too: “Legalize the truth,” frontman Billie Joe Armstrong snarls in the song’s chorus. A-Eric Renner Brown

M.I.A. ft. ZAYN, “Freedun”

The most anticipated track on M.I.A.’s AIM was also her most controversial, sparking backlash online after a lyric was inaccurately quoted. But the uproar that trailed its release was tame by M.I.A.’s standards, and the song itself is actually one of her most subdued in years. On it, she dials back her smug, subversive rhymes to match guest star ZAYN’s ultra-melodic croon, recalling the summery, free-floating glide that made “Paper Planes” a late aught smash. It’s refreshing to see the Sri Lanken rapper can still shine even without her outlandish shtick. A- –Dana Getz

Sylvan Esso, “Radio”

Two years after unleashing their delightfully offbeat self-titled debut, Sylvan Esso resurfaced for the second time with “Radio,” a technicolor dancefloor bop that’s equal parts sweet and sardonic. Singer Amealia Meath buries industry digs beneath a jittery electro pop beat, veiling her disdain for music’s machine-like demand with the duo’s most addictive hook to date. It’s not an overly inventive track, but it’s certainly their most commercial, and that’s sort of the point. B+ –DG

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