Reviews of the latest releases from Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and more

By EW Staff
Updated October 05, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

Rihanna, ”Diamonds”

RiRi sings about ”a vision of ecstasy” and ”moonshine and molly” on her latest single, but this is no druggy disco-wreque anthem à la last year’s smash ”We Found Love.” Instead, she sets a hypnotically moody tone with sneaky midtempo beats, crystalline synths, and hopeful lines like ”Feel the warmth/We’ll never die.” B+Ray Rahman

Taylor Swift, ”Begin Again”

With its sparse, strumming arrangement and sweetly spoken lyrics, Swift’s ode to new romance feels like a mea culpa to country fans for the outright poppiness of her massive ”We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” It should keep longtime listeners very happy — and/or weeping into their Pottery Barn pillows. A-Grady Smith

Wiz Khalifa feat. The Weeknd, ”Remember You”

Is everyone’s favorite guest rapper now guesting on his own tracks? Even though this one comes from Wiz’s upcoming O.N.I.F.C., it really belongs to avant-R&B phenom the Weeknd, whose c’mere-baby pleading anchors the groupie-seducer slow jam. That leaves Wiz to do the job he does best: ”Stacking all of this paper, dawg.” BMelissa Maerz

Soundgarden, ”Been Away Too Long”

The lead single from the band’s first new album in 16 years picks up almost exactly where the Seattle headbangers left off: splicing their heavy Mesozoic DNA with ill-advised psychedelic enzymes. The remaining thump and thrash is (just) enough to keep this rockosaurus from extinction. C+Kyle Anderson

Little Big Town, ”Tornado”

The title track of the country quartet’s new album has all the whistling tension of a high-noon showdown, and singer Karen Fairchild’s woman-scorned vocal just might blow you (or at least her no-good man) away. ”You ain’t got much longer till the rage rips off the roof,” she warns. A-Grady Smith

Pitbull feat. TJR, ”Don’t Stop the Party”

Summer’s over and school has begun, but don’t tell that to Pitbull, the guy who stays at the club long after everyone’s gone home. His latest features that trademark intensity but only half the fun and charisma of some of his best stuff. Try not to hit any morning joggers on your drive back to the bachelor pad, Pit! CRay Rahman

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