Many of the big new single releases in April came from artists who are used to lighting up the dance charts. From Rihanna to Adam Lambert to Giorgio Moroder, here's a look at some of the singers who have recently released new music worth hearing. Songs are rated on a 1-10 scale.
RiRi goes dark on “American Oxygen,” a song that highlights both the good things about this country and the struggles that many immigrants can face trying to find their way. “We sweat for a nickel and a dime, turn it into an empire,” she sings. The song features clean, layered production, but with its down-tempo piano melody, it doesn't sound like much on the radio these days, so it may struggle to attain heavy airplay. Rating: 7
Singer Brendan Urie is now the only original member left in Panic! at the Disco. His new single “Hallelujah” doesn't resemble the style Panic emerged with 10 years ago on A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, but it's a satisfying slice of mid-tempo pop music. Urie's lyrics are as compelling as ever – he opens the first verse with, “My life started the day I got caught under the covers with second-hand lovers.” It's a nice touch adding backing vocalists whose large voices almost resemble a choir. Rating: 8.5
Adam Lambert doesn't sound like himself on “Ghost Town,” a new track that follows the Avicii template of combining folky Americana with dance club beats. The lead single from Lambert's next album The Original High, “Ghost Town” opens as an intimate ballad with sparse instrumentation and heavy reverb. Then, the song veers off as electronic bloops arrive and turn the tune into a dance song. Then, it's back to acoustic guitar and quiet verses before the dance beats return later. It's a somewhat odd arrangement, but Lambert is comfortable in both worlds and pulls it off competently. Rating: 8
Many of the songs newcomer and giant killer Charlie Puth has released so far make him sound like a male version of Meghan Trainor, so it's refreshing to hear him eschew the doo-wop style on “I Won't Tell a Soul,” an old-school ballad that emphasizes Puth's voice. Taking advantage of his appealing falsetto, Puth croons, “Baby tonight, there's so much love in between us / But you say you've gotta go home / Stay here with me / I won't tell a soul.” The simple love ballad will never go out of style. Rating: 7.5
Expectations are high for Giorgio Moroder's first album in 30 years. Like “Right Here Right Now,” Moroder's collaboration with Kylie Minogue, “Deja Vu” deftly melds disco synths and guitars with a modern dance sound built around Sia's gorgeous voice. Leave it to the 74 year old to create another piece of contemporary ear candy. Rating: 8.5