Reviews of the latest songs from Jay-Z and Kanye West, Arcade Fire, and more

By EW Staff
Updated July 29, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Jay-Z and Kanye West, ”Otis”
Getting a boost from Otis Redding’s 1966 soul staple ”Try a Little Tenderness,” Jay and ‘Ye rap about the stuff they love: Mercedes, diamonds, models, and most of all, themselves. Kanye’s calling it ”luxury rap,” so we’ll respect his new title, ”the Hermès of verses.” B+Melissa Maerz

Arcade Fire, ”Culture War” and ”Speaking in Tongues”
The two new tracks from the expanded edition of the majestic Canadian rockers’ 2011 Album of the Year Grammy champ The Suburbs both build pretty chrysalises around modern ennui with aplomb. ”Culture” crackles with subtle electricity, but ”Tongues” earns bonus points for guest vocalist David Byrne’s art-damaged wailing. A-Kyle Anderson

Wiz Khalifa Feat. Curren$y and Big Sean, ”Weed Brownies”
Wiz, Sean, and Curren$y get baked over brownies, recalling lady conquests and expensive purchases while cruising on the grooves of a mellow guitar riff and even calmer drums. BBrad Wete

NeedToBreathe, ”Drive All Night”
Taylor Swift’s current opening act are as informed by Kings of Leon’s arena muscle as they are by porch-pickin’ country, and ”Drive” is sharp enough to inspire both lighter waving and moonshine chugging. B+KA

Wu-Tang, ”Legendary Weapons”
Staten Island’s finest, here down to a crew of six from their original nine, are not what they once were. Still, Ghostface drops another killer couplet (”I’m like ‘Billie Jean,’ lightin’ up the floor when I walk”) and proves that even a scattershot Wu release is better than no Wu at all. BKA

Juliana Hatfield, ”Stray Kids”
The onetime alt goddess always championed the underloved with a pixie voice that wouldn’t quit hoping for things to get better. But on this strained guitar-strummer — from a concept album about failure — she just sounds sad. B-MM