Beastie Boys, ”Make Some Noise”
With a moaning organ groove and high-speed tag-team rhymes, the veteran trio knocks out a vintage dose of lyrical TNT. Easily the best Beasties single since 1998’s ”Intergalactic.” A- —Kyle Anderson

Mary J. Blige, ”Someone to Love Me (Naked)”
Her new Sweet Inspirations-sampling single has a bounce just short of reggae and finds Mary in a familiar role, soaked in sorrow. Sadly, a lackluster verse from Diddy and a superfluous one from Lil Wayne leave listeners parched. B- —Brad Wete

Ezra Koenigm, ”Papa Hobo”
The Vampire Weekend frontman’s faithful cover of Paul Simon’s 1972 album cut should collapse under its own obviousness, but his ”Hobo” is so bright and gentle, you can’t get mad. B —Kyle Anderson

Sade, ”Still in Love With You”
The elegant soul star’s take on Thin Lizzy’s 1974 power ballad strips away the metal, taking the acoustic route with a gentle guitar and simple percussion. The result is intimate, sensual, and timeless — so Sade. A- —Brad Wete

Rihanna feat. Britney Spears, ”S&M”
The diva-plus-diva intention deserves kudos, but this ”remix” is nothing more than Rihanna’s killer original laced lightly with Britney’s baby-with-a-head-cold vocals. B&R’s ”S&M”? Not so sexy. C- —Tanner Stransky

Richard Marx, ”When You Loved Me”
Marx always sounded a little too adult contemporary in his prime, but now that he’s 47 (and de-mulleted), this bouncy blast of minivan rock feels not only age-appropriate but also inspired. B —Kyle Anderson

Ryan Leslie, ”Joan of Arc”
The R&B crooner turns MC, telling one of the more interesting tales hip-hop’s had to offer this year. The gist? Don’t send the ex who filed a restraining order against you a birthday gift. B+ —Brade Wete

Arctic Monkeys, ”Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”
The foursome wander even further from their spiky Brit-rock beginnings, conjuring up swirling high-desert heaviosity — like they’ve been assigned to soundtrack the burliest game of Mojave-set musical chairs ever. B —Leah Greenblatt

Aubrey O’Day, ”Automatic”
Did the world really need another helping of spastic robo-disco from the former Danity Kane member, whose album remains eternally in limbo? In a word, no. D+ —Kyle Anderson

Yael Naïm, ”Come Home”
The French-Israeli chanteuse’s ”New Soul” went top 10 in 2008, thanks to a much-run MacBook ad. Her latest, though not Apple-approved, exudes the same sprightly Joni Mitchell-goes-Dixieland charm. B+ —Joe Lynch