By Chuck Arnold Gillian Telling
May 05, 2014 12:00 PM

CHUCK’S PLAYLIST

What I’m Rocking Now!

1. CYNDI LAUPER

“Money Changes Everything”

The opener of her classic debut, She’s So Unusual, still struts and stomps on the new 30th-anniversary reissue.

2. DIERKS BENTLEY

“Drunk on a Plane”

Riser’s new single provides a surefire country buzz, with Bentley playing the jilted groom on this rowdy, alcohol-fueled flight.

3. THE HOLD STEADY

“I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You”

Kicking off Teeth Dreams, these indie dudes cut their choppers into this Replacements-esque rocker.

4. LONDON GRAMMAR

“Flickers”

This slow-burning standout off their debut, If You Wait, puts you in a trip-hop trance.

5. COLDPLAY

“Magic”

Chris Martin may be going through a breakup, but damn, the man can still make you believe in love’s bewitching powers on the haunting first single from Ghost Stories, due May 19.

6. JHENE AIKO

“The Worst”

The bittersweetest of kiss-offs, this nuzzles up to your neck as it cuts you deep, making it the smoothest slow jam on the R&B charts now.

7. SAM SMITH

“Not in That Way”

My Sam Smith obsession continues, and this kills me with a lyric that Morrissey would love. Still counting down to that debut album, In the Lonely Hour, out June 17.

8. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

“Not a Bad Thing”

This time last year it was “Mirrors.” Now JT is back with another perfect theme for spring romance from his 20/20 Experience opus.

9. HALL AND OATES

“Sara Smile”

Since these blue-eyed-soul men got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, I’ve been digging into their oldies, best of all this sad-eyed 1976 ballad.

10. DIANA ROSS

“Love Hangover”

Having recently turned 70, Miss Ross was never better than on this 1976 soul-disco hit that I’ll never get over.

IGGY AZALEA

The New Classic |

RAP

You know you’ve arrived when an SNL host breaks into one of your songs, which is what happened when Anna Kendrick recently bust into Iggy Azalea’s slinky single “Fancy” during a skit. Unfortunately the debut album by the Aussie rapstress (born Amethyst Kelly) doesn’t quite live up to the hype she’s been building. It’s strangely sequenced, leading off with slower cuts that fail to jump-start the party, and can be surprisingly downbeat – even on an empowering track like “Impossible Is Nothing.” But she hits the groove on hot jams like “Goddess” and especially “F**k Love,” on which she spits, “F– love, give me diamonds/ I’m already in love with myself,” sounding like a new kind of material girl.

THE STRYPES

Snapshot |

INDIE ROCK

With their oldest member only 18 – and the youngest, lead singer-harmonicist Ross Farrelly, just 16 – these Irish lads could have been babysat by One Direction. But don’t call the Strypes a boy band. Rocking far beyond their years, Snapshot, now stateside after its U.K. release last September, is one of the best debuts by any indie band since Arctic Monkeys. Tracks like “What the People Don’t See” boast some of AM’s raw, rambunctious energy, but there are also bluesy shades of the White Stripes, the Stones – even Chuck Berry!

BUZZ ARTIST

Follow Chuck on Twitter @cchuckarnoldmuz

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