1. Nicki Minaj, 'The Pinkprint': Track-by-Track Review

    December 15, 2014 2:20 PM EST Most artists spend their lives crafting their most personal album. For Nicki Minaj , it's not until her third studio album, The Pinkprint , where she extends her autobiography beyond slivers of detail and zooms in on her post-fame dealings wi ...

  2. The Clash's 'London Calling' at 35: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    December 13, 2014 2:30 PM EST Any punk band worth its leather and studs can do dystopian, apocalyptic angst. The world is always ending, and after garbage men and plumbers, angry young guitar players have some of the best job security around. The trick is to rage in your own u ...

  3. Album Review: Ghostface Killah Follows Up Wu-Tang Clan's Reunion Album With Solo Concept LP '36 Seasons'

    December 09, 2014 1:00 PM EST After 20 years of rapping, there are few things the Wu-Tang Clan hasn't been able to do -- except get along. In 2007, ahead of the release of its fifth LP, 8 Diagrams , group members Ghostface Killah and Raekwon trashed the album publicly, bl ...

  4. Album Review: Billy Corgan Pushes The Smashing Pumpkins' Parameters With 'Monuments To An Elegy'

    December 09, 2014 12:45 PM EST Billy Corgan is nothing if not ambitious. For the past five years, the '90s foremost alt-progger has devoted his output with The Smashing Pumpkins to the cause of an ongoing album series titled, in typical Pumpkin-ese, Teargarden by Kaleidysc ...

  5. Album Review: Charli XCX’s ‘Sucker’ Crowns Her One of Pop’s Biggest New Stars (and Biggest Personalities)

    December 09, 2014 12:22 PM EST She might have had one of the summer's biggest hits with "Boom Clap," but Charli XCX is still best-known for her assists on other artists' songs, most notably Iggy Azalea 's "Fancy" and Icona Pop 's "I ...

  6. Album Review: Rick Ross Puts Quantity Over Quality With 'Hood Billionaire,' His Second LP of 2014

    November 25, 2014 11:46 AM EST Rick Ross is at an impasse. The Miami rapper, 38, is still one of hip-hop's most commercially successful acts, with five No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 . But on Hood Billionaire , Ross' second LP this year, he's clinging to an in ...

  7. Album Review: David Guetta's All-Star 'Listen' Makes a Beeline for the Pop Charts

    November 24, 2014 3:09 PM EST When David Guetta hit the studio to record Listen , his first album in three years, the trailblazing French EDM producer worked backwards. Instead of starting with the beats -- his standard approach over his three-decade DJ career -- he began with ...

  8. Pearl Jam’s ‘Vitalogy’ at 20: Classic Track-By-Track Album Review

    November 22, 2014 11:52 AM EST 29.625 k 124 10 0 It was an undeniably tumultuous year for Pearl Jam in 1994. A time of great flux during which the spotlight of fame glared ever more strongly on the Seattle band as it faced the suicide of Nirvana ’s Kurt Cobain , opted to battle Ticketm ...

  9. Album Review: TV On The Radio's 'Seeds' Makes a Giant Leap Toward the Mainstream

    November 18, 2014 2:43 PM EST More than a decade after emerging from Brooklyn as a leader of the local indie renaissance, TV on the Radio could invite the kinds of criticisms often hurled at its hometown -- that it was better when it was dirtier, edgier and a little dangerous. ...

  10. Album Review: Nickelback’s ‘No Fixed Address’ Partially Shelves the Group’s Platinum Formula to Spread Their Stylistic Wings

    November 18, 2014 1:51 PM EST Few modern-era rock bands have endured more of a public flogging than Nickelback . (The latest? A crowdfunding campaign to keep the band from performing in London.) Yet, despite a cool factor that makes Limp Bizkit look like Led Zeppelin in compar ...

  11. Album Review: Lorde-Curated ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ Soundtrack Is a Stellar Sonic Balancing Act

    November 18, 2014 12:22 PM EST The brain trust behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (in theaters Nov. 21 through Lionsgate) knew exactly what they were doing when they recruited New Zealand pop whiz Lorde to oversee the film's soundtrack: She's the closest music ...

  12. Album Review: One Direction Aren't Ready to Let Go of Their Bubble-Gum Days on 'Four'

    November 17, 2014 12:45 PM EST Since they bounded onto the pop scene with their double-platinum debut, Up All Night , in 2012 (2011 in the United Kingdom), the members of One Direction have barely stopped to catch their breath, as if they have been watching the clock ticking on ...

  13. TLC's 'CrazySexyCool' at 20: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    November 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Technically, they should’ve called it CoolCrazySexy. After all, each word in the title of this Atlanta R&B trio’s sophomore album corresponds to one of the group’s members, just like the letters T, L, and C. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins was undeniab ...

  14. Album Review: T Bone Burnett Gathers All-Star Bob Dylan Tribute With 'Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes'

    November 12, 2014 3:09 PM EST "They were just songs we had done for the publishing company," Bob Dylan once said of the music he recorded with The Band (some of it in his living room, some of it in their basement) over six months in 1967. Whatever else those sessions ...

  15. Album Review: Garth Brooks' 'Man Against Machine' Marks a Solid Return for the Country Star

    November 12, 2014 2:49 PM EST When Garth Brooks was asked at a July press conference what his first studio album in 13 years would sound like, he replied, "Garth music" -- and damned if he wasn't on the money. Man Against Machine is no reinvention, but rather a ...

  16. Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ at 30: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    November 12, 2014 10:00 AM EST On her self-titled 1983 debut , Madonna sang perky little tunes about going on vacation (“Holiday”) and falling in and out of love (“Lucky Star” and “Borderline”). These were ideas grandma and grandpa could get behind, and yet the 20-something Mic ...

  17. Album Review: Norwegian Duo Royksopp Leave on a High Note With Final Release 'The Inevitable End'

    November 11, 2014 2:19 PM EST Royksopp 's Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland have always been a step ahead of their peers. The Norwegian electronic duo's first record, 2001's Melody A.M. , radiated a confidence most debuts lack. On sterling mid-period releases ...

  18. Album Review: Pink Floyd's 'The Endless River' Approaches New Age Territory

    November 11, 2014 1:00 PM EST The title of Pink Floyd 's 15th -- and, if singer-guitarist David Gilmour is to be believed, final -- studio album, The Endless River , is taken from a line in "High Hopes," the closing song on the band's last full-length effor ...

  19. Big K.R.I.T. Delivers Best Work With 'Cadillactica': Track-by-Track Review

    November 10, 2014 1:44 PM EST Before Big K.R.I.T. releases an album, he puts his music through the car test. That is, once his project is complete, the 28-year old rapper/producer cues up his recorded compilation of songs and takes a four-hour drive from his Atlanta home and ...

  20. Album Review: Calvin Harris' 'Motion' Plays It Safe With Radio-Ready Cuts and It-Girl Guest Stars

    November 04, 2014 3:22 PM EST Somewhere along the line, "EDM" became a dirty word. What began as an umbrella term for the new wave of electronic dance music now carries the weight of the genre's oft-criticized commercialization. If a dance track features a pop v ...

  21. Album Review: Neil Young’s Vulnerable ‘Storytone’ Sings About Love -- and Saving the Environment

    November 04, 2014 11:59 AM EST Few singers play vulnerability better than Neil Young . It's the most affecting trait of this collection of a dozen songs, presented in two separate versions: one set gussied up in formal wear, and the other kicking back in shorts and T-shirt ...

  22. Pepe Aguilar, 'MTV Unplugged': Track by Track

    October 24, 2014 6:52 PM EDT The Ranchero Star Goes pop/rock with guests Miguel Bose, Reyli, Saul Hernandez, Meme del Real and more Ranchera star Pepe Aguilar is a rocker at heart. Back in his teens, he even fronted a rock back in Mexico before turning his full attention to r ...

  23. Nine Inch Nails' 'Pretty Hate Machine' at 25: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    October 20, 2014 10:00 AM EDT As the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations recently reminded us, Nine Inch Nails debuted in 1989, dropping Pretty Hate Machine on Oct. 20, just days before Halloween and right at the tail end of a decade they’re not always associated with. ...

  24. Aretha Franklin, 'Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics': Track-by-Track Album Review

    October 15, 2014 10:40 AM EDT Aretha Franklin and Clive Davis' relationship began in 1980, when the Queen of Soul signed with the mogul's Arista Records. "And 20 years later, I made the right decision," Franklin tells Billboard of agreeing to that union. Sh ...

  25. Album Review: Pistol Annies' Angaleena Presley's 'American Middle Class' a Strong, Focused Debut

    October 14, 2014 7:43 PM EDT Angaleena Presley 's strong solo debut album, American Middle Class , is sure to be lumped in with work from country's other prominent female singers from the last few years. This association is partially because Presley first gained att ...

  26. Album Review: Florida Georgia Line Stay a Step Ahead of the Bros on ‘Anything Goes'

    October 14, 2014 6:17 PM EDT It's appropriate that Florida Georgia Line took its name from both sides of a boundary, because the duo (Georgia-born Tyler Hubbard, 27, and Florida native Brian Kelley, 29) used its multiformat smash "Cruise," and the party-themed ...

  27. Jason Aldean's 'Old Boots, New Dirt': Track-by-Track Review

    October 07, 2014 4:12 PM EDT Jason Aldean 's Old Boots, New Dirt, the singer's sixth studio album (out Tuesday on Broken Bow Records) is a mixture of the party songs he has become known for -- but also shows a little bit more of an emotional and sensual side than li ...

  28. Album Review: Mary Lambert Only Scratches the Emotional Surface on ‘Heart On My Sleeve’

    October 07, 2014 12:38 PM EDT "My heart's too big for you to understand me," concludes Mary Lambert on "Monochromatic," one of many self-reflective moments on her debut, Heart on My Sleeve . The Seattle native's earnest songwriting exudes a warm ...

  29. U2's 'The Unforgettable Fire' at 30: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    October 01, 2014 11:00 AM EDT By its third album, 1983’s War , U2 had mined its influences and forged the building blocks of its unique sound. These included Bono’s obliquely heroic lyrics, the Edge’s polished-shrapnel guitar riffs, and the charging rhythms of bassist Adam Cla ...

  30. Album Review: Former My Chemical Frontman Gerard Way Graduates to Glossy Britpop on ‘Hesitant Alien’

    September 30, 2014 4:53 PM EDT Those looking for a "Helena," or a return to the opera-rock of My Chemical Romance 's 2006 winner The Black Parade , on former MCR lead singer Gerard Way 's solo debut, Hesitant Alien , should keep the receipt. On the LP, which ...

  31. Blake Shelton, 'Bringing Back The Sunshine': Track-by-Track Review

    September 30, 2014 4:40 PM EDT On Bringing Back The Sunshine , the eighth studio disc from Blake Shelton , there are plenty of songs that will go hand in hand with weekend parties and celebrations, but if you look a little deeper into the album, you will see another side of the ...

  32. Album Review: Lady Antebellum Moves Away From Its Comfort Zone on ‘747’

    September 30, 2014 2:09 PM EDT Lady A secured its crossover star status with country- and AC-approved hits "Need You Now" and "Just a Kiss," but little in the group's repertoire has elevated it beyond midtempo maestros -- until now. Lady Antebellum Talk ...

  33. Album Review: Prince's First Two Albums In Four Years Are a Mixed Bag

    September 30, 2014 9:20 AM EDT During the first phase of his career, while under contract with Warner Bros., Prince released 18 albums in as many years. Four are absolute masterpieces; two or three others are damn close. Over the next 18 years, after emancipating himself from t ...

  34. Dave Matthews Band’s ‘Under the Table and Dreaming’ at 20: Classic Track-by-Track Review

    September 27, 2014 2:10 PM EDT For many, the idea of a “classic” Dave Matthews Band album is laughable, if not perverse. That goes for fans and non-fans alike. On one side, you’ve got hardcore Daveheads, who generally prefer stretched-out, heavily improvised live versions of so ...

  35. The Beatles' Abbey Road Turns 45: Classic Track-By-Track Review

    September 26, 2014 2:45 PM EDT On Sept. 26, 1969, 45 years ago today, the Beatles ' Abbey Road entered the world and closed the recording career of rock's most celebrated band. The existence of Abbey Road is practically a miracle -- when the Beatles emerged from the ...

  36. Lee Ann Womack, 'The Way I'm Livin': Track-by-Track Review

    September 23, 2014 6:06 PM EDT For Lee Ann Womack fans, the six-year wait comes to an end Tuesday with  The Way I'm Livin' -- the singer's first album since 2008's Call Me Crazy . Was it worth the wait or has Womack stayed away from music-making too long? T ...

  37. Album Review: Weezer’s ‘Everything Will Be Alright in the End’ Attempts Return to Peak Power-Pop Condition

    September 23, 2014 3:03 PM EDT Everything Will Be Alright in the End  may be  Weezer 's best album since 2002's Maladroit , but its competition within the band's catalog isn't exactly steep. Weezer Talks New Music at iHeartRadio Fest: 'We Wanted To Make ...

  38. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's 'Cheek to Cheek': Track-by-Track Album Review

    September 22, 2014 4:34 PM EDT After years of running from normalcy as fast as her stiletto-clad feet would carry her, Lady Gaga is pulling a Rod Stewart and digging into the Great American Songbook. It just might save her career. This most mainstream of musical moves follows a ...

  39. Jennifer Hudson, 'JHUD': Track-by-Track Review

    September 22, 2014 11:00 AM EDT It's a difficult time for female R&B singers -- right now, Tinashe , Beyoncé and Jhené Aiko are the only three in the top 25 on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts -- and veterans face an especially tough market. Ashanti released an album earlier ...

  40. Janet Jackson's 'Rhythm Nation 1814' Revisited By Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis: Track-by-Track Review

    September 18, 2014 1:50 PM EDT 10.885 k 134 0 0 If Janet Jackson 's third album, 1986's Control , was a declaration of independence, the follow-up, Rhythm Nation 1814 , was a constitution -- a blueprint for the kind of country that this confident, sexy and newly independent 2 ...

  41. Tim McGraw, ‘Sundown Heaven Town’: Track-by-Track Album Review

    September 16, 2014 1:14 PM EDT 0 0 0 Tim McGraw has scored more than 50 top 10 hits on Billboard's Country Airplay chart during the last 20 years. On Sept. 16, the singer rolls out Sundown Heaven Town , his 13th studio album. On the disc,  co-produced by McGraw and longtime collab ...

  42. Chris Brown, 'X': Track-by-Track Review

    September 15, 2014 12:25 PM EDT 2.225 k 135 38 0 Who needs haters when you're your own worst enemy? Chris Brown has been a self-saboteur since his infamous 2009 assault of Rihanna -- a talent whose skill for hit singles and agile performances is only matched by his knack for cannon ...

  43. Arcade Fire's 'Funeral' Turns 10: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    September 12, 2014 1:11 PM EDT Arcade Fire's sprawling set-up is like a small community onstage, but at its core, the band is the songwriting duo of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne . Both lost a grandparent during the recording of their debut album, an ...

  44. The Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Ready to Die' at 20: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    September 12, 2014 12:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 Excuse Christopher Wallace -- aka the Notorious B.I.G. and aka Biggie Smalls -- for not sounding more enthused. While recording his debut album, Ready to Die -- released 20 years ago this week, on September 13, 1994 -- the 22-year old former drug de ...

  45. Interpol's 'El Pintor': Track-by-Track Album Review

    September 09, 2014 12:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 If you’re Interpol , you must be hearing the words “return to form” a great deal these days. You’ve played the major label game, and retreated back to your original indie home, Matador Records. You lost your iconic bass player, and have struggled to ...

  46. Jhene Aiko, 'Souled Out': Track-by-Track Review

    September 08, 2014 10:45 AM EDT Jhené Aiko 's songs are intimate conversations, which have flourished since the release of her 2011 mixtape Sailing Soul(s ). Her vocals are lithe enough to seduce, while her sharp lyricism and wordplay are tools to knife through a man's ...

  47. Maroon 5 Tightens Up on 'V': Track-By-Track Review

    September 02, 2014 1:06 PM EDT 0 0 0 The guys of Maroon 5 have the art of making pop records down pat. They've been sneaking into ear canals and embedding seemingly irremovable songs in four minutes flat for more than a decade. And lately, they've been doing it spite of lead ...

  48. Oasis' 'Definitely Maybe' at 20: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    August 29, 2014 12:00 PM EDT If Blur hadn’t made it big, frontman Damon Albarn would’ve been A-OK. He’s a clever guy from a good family, and one way or another, this handsome, multi-talented Londoner was going to leave his mark on the world. The same is not necessarily true fo ...

  49. Ariana Grande Expands on 'My Everything': Track-By-Track Review

    August 25, 2014 2:57 PM EDT Ariana Grande's debut album Yours Truly was released almost exactly a year ago, and over the past 12 months, the former Nickelodeon star has transformed from pop artist you ought to know to an undeniable superstar, with three singles in the ...

  50. Brad Paisley, 'Moonshine in the Trunk': Track-by-Track Review

    August 25, 2014 2:30 PM EDT 0 0 0 Brad Paisley 's previous album, 2013's Wheelhouse , was a finely crafted effort that touched on such weighty topics as racism, domestic violence and heartbreak. It stirred controversy when he duetted with LL Cool J on "Accidental Raci ...

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