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Fall Out Boy feat. Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, "Catch Me If You Can/Proclamation of Emaciation (demo)" — More exceedingly winky corporate emo about being totally fucking famous, if not what it's like to be riding Ashlee Simpson on the regular.

Nisennenmondai, "Pop Group" — Weirdly, this song's most cathartic moments come when this trio of Japanese ladies seem to recoil — for just an instant at a time — from their driving no-fi clang, as if leaning back in unison.

Pop Levi, "Mai's Space" — This addictive synth-cheese wonder would easily fit on a late-'80s FM playlist between Taco's "Puttin' on the Ritz" and Duran Duran's "The Reflex" (with dinkier production) or on Ween's White Pepper (with more obvious perversion) or on a Weird Al C-sides collection (with less "meaningful" lyricism). Versatile!

Robin Thicke, "Magic" — In addition to being the son of a mid-level TV star and an R&B sensation in his own right, Thicke, it seems, is also a magician who can "make the pain disappear" and "erase the past." If you're buying that, he's also got a Jimmy Hoffa gravesite he'd like to sell you.

Vivian Girls, "No" — My son is closing in on age two, and for the past several weeks, "No" — declarative, insistent — has been his favorite verbal utterance. Thing is, I prefer how Brooklyn's Vivian Girls say it a whole lot better: a whole long link-sausage string of the rejecting word as nonchalant as the accompanying ripped-Converse punk guitar scum.

 
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