Reviews of the latest songs from Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift Feat. The Civil Wars, and more

By EW Staff
Updated December 30, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST

Taylor Swift Feat. The Civil Wars, ”Safe & Sound”
Harmonizing for the Hunger Games soundtrack, Swift sounds all grown up on this sweet Americana ballad about how her love will save you — at least until Katniss shoots an arrow through your skull. B+Melissa Maerz

Sleigh Bells, ”Born To Lose”
Crossing the great divide between heshers and electro fans, the first single from the Brooklyn duo’s upcoming Reign of Terror combines Guitar Hero riffs with mammoth synth breakdowns and angelic vocals for the best kind of oxymoron: a totally inspired underachiever anthem. —MM

Adam Lambert, ”Better Than I Know Myself”
Lambert’s invocation of Queen-size bombast made him the king of the latter-day Idol alums. He leaves his courtly swagger behind on ”Better,” a deflating study in ornate, well-executed emptiness. C+Kyle Anderson

Lady Gaga, ”Stuck on F—in’ You”
Freestyled on her tour bus, this demo finds Gags straining for the high notes over a boom-clap beat and a strummy strut. If she weren’t an international superstar, she could’ve had a promising career as the tipsy white-girl blues act at any bar in St. Paul. B-MM