If you've ever wondered what George Michael backed by Timbaland would sound like, look no further than New Sacred Cow, the debut release by Ethiopian-born artist Kenna.

If you've ever wondered what George Michael backed by Timbaland would sound like, look no further than New Sacred Cow, the debut release by Ethiopian-born artist Kenna. Released on Fred Durst's Flawless imprint, the album bridges the gaps between synth pop, hip-hop, and new wave, with agile production from the Neptunes' Chad Hugo. Dispensing with the ironic posturing other '80s-leaning acts employ, New Sacred Cow invokes artists like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran only to shake them off at the next turn. From the soaring string ballad "War in Me" to the funky synthesizer workout of "Freetime" to the chopped-up hip-hop of "Man Fading," the singer laces each track with breathy choruses, neon-lit imagery, and plenty of conviction. Though you may not hear it on the radio (format-obsessed programmers have their work cut out for them), New Sacred Cow is the type of guilty pleasure you listen to on headphones and sing in the shower.—JDF

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