Single Combat: Winners And Losers Of Music, Oct 2015

What's new on the radio, polluting the airwaves and/or camping out in your cranium? Let's have a look and listen to some of the hottest singles in the country from October. Some we love. But most we hate. It's also a survey of the landscape that is mainstream music right now. Here are some of the new singles you probably can't escape, along with some recommendations about when best to torture your earholes.

Selena Gomez, "Same Old Love"

What It Sounds Like: A soul-less, mid-tempo, dance pop song with thin vocals over finger snaps, complete with a whiny lyrical hook about "being sick of that same old love." Gomez doesn't have a powerhouse voice, so her vocals are somewhat processed; she also gets an assist from guest vocalist Charli XCX, the pop music secret weapon who co-wrote the song and sang the hook on last summer's Iggy Azalea smash "Fancy." That's right: we can blame Miss XCX for two groan-inducing songs. That said, it's Gomez's party and she'll cry if she wants to. She is donezo with a wayward lover and singing about a subject that anyone can relate to. So it's basically a carbon copy of the goodbye conversation you had with your last ex when you broke up.

When To Listen To It: When you have to take your sister and her friends to the mall. By virtue of the fact that you have your driver's license and they don't, you will undoubtedly get stuck listening to this song. Musically, Gomez has a large female fanbase. You'll inadvertently be teaching your little sister about tolerance and patience, since you will allow her to listen to this around you without demanding that she turn it off because it's making your ears bleed. It's okay to get in touch with your feminine, crappy music-loving side to indulge a little lady with a life lesson every now and again.

Demi Lovato, "Cool For The Summer"

What It Sounds Like: Processed synth pop that sounds like millions of dollars were spent... trying to make it sound like millions of dollars weren't spent on it. It's cheesy, with about as much substance and nutritional value as a Pop Tart, since Lovato coos like a sultry sex kitten in a breathy-talky voice akin to that of Britney Spears. She does so over funky percussion that was created by software, as opposed to an actual drum kit. It's a shame. In comparison, Britney Spears can't sing, so she has to rely on that type of vocalization. Meanwhile, Lovato does have a strong, beautiful singing voice. "Cool for the Summer" is a thinly disguised replica of Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl," since it tackles the same subject matter of girls being curious about swapping spit with each other.

When To Listen To It: When you work out with a personal trainer and you get to the point where your body cannot take another crunch, have your trainer put this song on with the promise that the workout will be over when the last note fades out. Getting through this wretched song will motivate you to get through that "no pain, no gain" workout.

Nick Jonas, "Levels"

What It Sounds Like: A G-rated, clean cut, party-ready club banger with '80s disco beats and Michael Jackson-inspired falsetto. We'll admit that "Levels" is a total guilty pleasure. It's croony pop, but it's got a hook that will stay in your head for days. Jonas doesn't have the range of a Justin Timberlake or a Michael Buble, but he certainly sings with confidence.

When To Listen To It: Crank it when you're getting ready to hit the club for a night out with the boys. Seriously! Think John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, with the blowdryer! You may not be as slick, as rich, and or as famous as Nick Jonas. You may not be able to pull in the A-list ladies like he can. Olivia Culpo, Kendall Jenner, and Kate Hudson are the names that litter this dude's dating impressive resume. But if you listen to his music, you can siphon a little of his confidence and end up with a pocket full of napkins with phone numbers on 'em.

Pop Evil, "Footsteps"

What It Sounds Like: Muscular, meat 'n potatoes hard rock that's neither too tough nor too heavy. It's crisp and loud, but the song also has a knack for melody. It's the slower, more deliberate parts that serve to spotlight just how rowdy Pop Evil can get. If you like driving trucks, doing donuts, or live in a flyover state, then "Footsteps" is all you.

When To Listen To It: When you're breaking a sweat and pumping iron, you need a soundtrack that falls in line with the activity. This is it. It's for any and all workout endeavors. Whether you're on a treadmill, going a few rounds with a speed bag, lifting weights in a gym for which you've paid handsomely to be a member, or making like Lester Burnham in American Beauty and wailing on your pecs on your garage, you need a loud, ornery music to accompany all that sweat and blood coursing through you.

Five Finger Death Punch, "Jekyll & Hyde"

What It Sounds Like: Like a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant, to borrow a phrase from Uncle Lewis in Christmas Vacation. Five Finger Death Punch's music is all brawn, with little in the way of brains, and that's meant to be a compliment. The song's driving riffs, Ivan Moody's caustic, acidic vocals, and bludgeoning beats will certainly stir your testosterone.

When To Listen To It: When your boss asks you to stay an hour past quitting time on a Friday, don't explode. Don't curse your luck or mutter things about him under your breath. Instead, take a break, listen to this track—really, really loudly—and get the red out that way.