NEW YORK (Billboard) - In the four years since Christina Aguilera released her last studio album, “Back to Basics,” pop ingenues like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Ke$ha have built their careers on bold theatrics, neo-feminist personas and throbbing club beats. Aguilera brings all of that to the table on “Not Myself Tonight,” her lead single from the upcoming “Bionic,” but ups the stakes considerably with her trademark, octave-straddling runs and glory notes. Aguilera channels a more Euro-glamorous version of her former “dirrty” alter-ego Xtina on “Tonight,” dashing lyrics about self-reinvention with breathy chants and naughty expletives. Producer Polow Da Don, who co-wrote “Tonight” with “Drop It Low” singer-songwriter Ester Dean, adds dripping synths, pulsing bass lines and tribal house drums that sound appealingly unfinished. Paired with Aguilera’s unmatched vocal range, “Tonight” proves that the current dance-pop craze would be incomplete without her.
SINGLE: SHE GOT IT MADE (Big Gates/Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic Records)
On his latest single, Florida rapper Plies continues to display his insatiable appetite and keen appreciation for women (think “Bust It Baby Pt. 2”), this time looking for a female he can turn into “a spoiled brat.” “I can get your own chauffeur, I can put you on a plane ... Buy stocks, buy you bonds, I can put them in your name,” he raps over an upbeat, piano-based production. The self-professed goon’s generosity knows no bounds, as he goes on to offer his lucky lady a mink, Gucci and Prada, “big cribs, nice whips” and a vacation with “your girls and your momma,” with the option of staying “as long as you wanna.”
SINGLE: CRAZY TOWN (Broken Bow Records)
Jason Aldean spent five weeks atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in 2009 with two consecutive No. 1s from his “Wide Open” album — “She’s Country” and “Big Green Tractor” — and another two this February with “The Truth.” Written by Rodney Clawson and Brett Jones, new single “Crazy Town” again finds Aldean in top lyrical form, as the Georgia country rocker sizes up the Nashville scene in his pleasant baritone. Aldean’s been known to kick off his live shows with this tune, and it’s no wonder — the song’s aggressive guitar riffs and chaotic violins are fit for a lively amphitheater.