1. Ryn Weaver Makes Smart Move With Alt-Pop Debut ‘The Fool’: Album Review

    June 26, 2015 6:12 PM EDT 0 0 0 On debut LP The Fool , pop anomaly Ryn Weaver , 22, strikes a difficult, delicate balance between personal and universal. Her rebellious lyrics draw from both her real-life struggles as a woman and an artist and celestial themes that transcend them. ...

  2. The Rolling Stones' Iconic 'Sticky Fingers' Reissue and 'From The Vault: The Marquee Club Live in 1971' DVD Give a Vintage Front-Row View: Review

    June 25, 2015 1:57 PM EDT 0 0 0 The Rolling Stones are possibly the most fiscally fit rock band in history, so it's wildly out-of-character that they've been so lax about digging into their voluminous vaults. While everyone else was cleaning out their closets during the ...

  3. James Taylor is Still Soul-Searching on 'Before This World': Album Review

    June 23, 2015 5:29 PM EDT Like all New Englanders, James Taylor loves road trips. "My favorite thing is to miss my home when I'm gone," sings the 67-year-old Massachusetts native on the bluesy "Stretch of Highway," a cut from Before This World , h ...

  4. Miguel Chooses His Path (Sort Of) on 'Wildheart': Album Review

    June 23, 2015 10:00 AM EDT 0 0 0 Ever since his 2012 breakthrough hit single "Adorn," Miguel Pimentel has faced a contradiction: There's the 21st-century loverman vibe much of his public wants him to incarnate -- a new-generation R. Kelly, without the repellent bagga ...

  5. Vince Staples Paints a Vivid Picture on His Full-Length Debut 'Summertime '06': Album Review

    June 22, 2015 3:35 PM EDT 0 0 0 Most people look back at the summers of their youth as a dreamy mix of beach trips, bike rides and puppy-love crushes. But rapper Vince Staples , on his debut full-length Summertime '06 , has different memories: running from police, dead bodies ...

  6. Nate Ruess’ Solo Debut ‘Grand Romantic’ Is Better and Brighter Than Its Singles: Album Review

    June 22, 2015 2:03 PM EDT 0 0 0 Nate Ruess  has been a busy frontman for nearly 15 years -- the first half spent with pop-punk trio The Format , and the rest with Fun. , whose surprise Grammy-winning breakthrough in 2012 turned him into a star. The latter's big-belted, blue-c ...

  7. Dance Music Godfather Giorgio Moroder Returns After Three Decades With All-Star 'Deja-Vu': Album Review

    June 22, 2015 12:46 PM EDT 0 0 0 When dance music inevitably builds a hall of fame (probably somewhere on the Vegas Strip), Giorgio Moroder could ­justifiably be the first inductee. As one of the founding fathers of disco, Moroder was among the first musicians to introduce ­synthes ...

  8. 2PM Are Subtle, Seductive Gentleman on 'No.5': Track-by-Track Album Review

    June 18, 2015 8:05 PM EDT 0 0 0 Last year, 2PM  showed off their party-boy sides with their funky  Go Crazy!  album that incorporated new and unexpected sounds to their proven R&B formula. Less than a year later, the sextet are back with No.5  that represents their fifth, full ...

  9. Epik High Defy Conventions, Electrify Audiences in New York: Live Review

    June 16, 2015 6:40 PM EDT 0 0 0 By the standards of most K-pop concerts, Epik High shouldn't be playing to an earsplitting, sold-out crowd. The trio's last album was made up of emo hip-hop cuts, they don't perform choreography, there's no flashy stage setup, tw ...

  10. Scottish Producer Hudson Mohawke Goes From EDM to Rap and Back on 'Lantern': Album Review

    June 16, 2015 2:49 PM EDT 0 0 0 Back when Hudson Mohawke was crafting bombastic synth-scapes in his mom's Glasgow ­basement in the 2000s, the idea of him collaborating with Lil Wayne and Pusha T was but a left-field electro nerd's distant fantasy. Years later, the produc ...

  11. Kacey Musgraves' 'Pageant Material' Is Sharper and More Nashville-Friendly: Album Review

    June 16, 2015 11:11 AM EDT 0 0 0 The Southern adage "Don't get above your raisin'," memorialized as a song title by Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs in 1951, has long been a guideline for ­country artists. It even dictates their choices in pronouns: always the hu ...

  12. Don Omar's 'The Last Don II': Track-by-Track Review

    June 15, 2015 9:36 PM EDT 0 0 0 Album revisits reggaeton star's 2003 debut. Back in 2003, Don Omar , a rising reggaetón act from Puerto Rico, released his solo debut album. The Last Don -- featuring the likes of Daddy Yankee and Hector “El Father,” came in the wake of hugely ...

  13. Of Monsters and Men Sink Their Teeth Into 'Beneath the Skin': Album Review

    June 15, 2015 3:00 PM EDT 0 0 0 Should some intrepid director make a movie out of My Head Is an Animal , the 2011 debut from Icelandic arena-folk ­adventurers Of Monsters and Men , he or she will need lots of wildlife wranglers and CGI but only a handful of actual actors. A surpri ...

  14. Muse Aims High But Hits Somewhere in the Middle With ‘Drones’: Album Review

    June 12, 2015 4:29 PM EDT 0 0 0 Muse treads between sublime and ridiculous more than any rock band in recent memory, with jaw-dropping pretention that makes it hard to tell if they're just having a laugh. Drones is, of course, a concept album, about, ­according to the liner n ...

  15. Tamia Makes Stability Seductive on 'Love Life': Album Review

    June 12, 2015 2:56 PM EDT 0 0 0 Few singers make marriage sound as sexy as Tamia does on her sixth album, Love Life . Monogamy anthems are a staple for the singer, 40, who has been married to former NBA star Grant Hill for 16 years. On Love Life , she elegantly touches on the vexi ...

  16. Mariah Carey's Self-Titled Debut at 25: Classic Track-by-Track Review

    June 12, 2015 2:30 PM EDT 7.525 k 897 4 Revisiting the 11-track collection that jumpstarted one of the most successful stories in pop music history. After the flash, glitz and glamor that governed '80s pop music, the woman who would become the next decade’s biggest act seemed ...

  17. Chi-Town Rapper Lil Durk Balances Grit and Gloss on Major-Label Debut: Album Review

    June 09, 2015 11:44 AM EDT 0 0 0 Since the steely Chicago rap subgenre known as drill exploded in 2012, Lil Durk , 22, has arguably become the scene's most consistent voice. He earned cult status with his Auto-Tuned, half-sung flows, but the melodies never distracted from the ...

  18. Jamie XX Taps Dance Music’s Past for Wildly Imaginative Debut ‘In Colour’: Album Review

    June 08, 2015 5:19 PM EDT Jamie xx is 26 years old, which means he was barely out of diapers during the heyday of '90s U.K. rave culture, which provides the heart, soul and inspiration for his jaw-dropping solo debut, In Colour . The xx member (real name: Jamie Smith) ...

  19. Jason Derulo Struggles to Find Himself on His All-Star ‘Everything Is 4’: Album Review

    June 08, 2015 12:25 PM EDT Jason Derulo 's 2014 smash "Talk Dirty" was more than a comeback hit for the pop veteran: It was a much-needed game-changer. After years of producing slick, inoffensive dance singles like "Whatcha Say" and "The Other ...

  20. Diplo’s Major Lazer Finds Its Footing In the World of Pop With 'Peace Is the Mission': Album Review

    June 05, 2015 12:45 PM EDT 0 0 0 Long a quirky, inconsistent side project of dance's busiest all-over-the-place producer, Diplo 's reggae-inspired Major Lazer outfit comes into sharper focus on its third album. Known for his muscular beats, the Mad Decent boss recently to ...

  21. Chiquis Rivera Pays Tribute to Mom Jenni Rivera and Makes Her Own Mark With Debut Album 'Ahora': Track-by-Track Review

    June 02, 2015 1:03 PM EDT 0 0 0 The late, great banda singer Jenni Rivera once said “haters are just confused fans.” So it makes sense that although Jenni’s eldest daughter Chiquis seems to have an equal ratio of the latter to gung-ho cheerleaders, this in no way has deterred her ...

  22. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment Aim To Melt Your Cynicism On 'Surf'

    May 30, 2015 3:28 PM EDT 0 0 0 The origins of Surf , Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment's new release, are hard to explain. A lot of the attention the album's received stems from the involvement of Chance the Rapper , a virtuosic MC from Chicago, though this isn ...

  23. A$AP Rocky’s 'At.Long.Last.A$AP' Is the Perfect Experiment: Album Review

    May 29, 2015 11:39 AM EDT 0 0 0 Two years after Beyonce 's self-titled coup, the term "surprise album" has become a misnomer, especially in hip-hop. In the first three months of 2015, Drake , Kendrick Lamar and Earl Sweatshirt all dropped records with little to no w ...

  24. Boosie Badazz Presents His Post-Prison Second Chapter on ‘Touch Down 2 Cause Hell’: Album Review

    May 26, 2015 1:30 PM EDT Baton Rouge, LA., hometown hero Boosie Badazz (formerly Lil Boosie ) has always rapped with palpable urgency. His voice, ­arguably his most distinctive feature, is a piercing drawl that demands attention and drips with pathos. But after finishing ...

  25. Florence & The Machine Displays Different Kind of Vulnerability on ‘How Big How Blue How Beautiful’: Album Review

    May 26, 2015 11:30 AM EDT 1.867 k 71 0 Since Florence Welch made her debut in 2009, she has created music that turns heads and widens eyes. There's no doubt she's a ­flamboyantly imaginative writer and a captivating vocalist and performer. Yet her first two albums, with ...

  26. SHINee Embrace Old & New Sounds on 'Odd': Track-by-Track Review

    May 21, 2015 6:15 PM EDT 0 0 0 Despite initially debuting with a R&B sound , SHINee is arguably most exciting when experimenting -- like when they mashed two album tracks together to promote the "hybrid remix" single "Sherlock" in 2012 or added a pop senti ...

  27. Shamir Serves Up Sass and Style on Disco-Inspired Debut ‘Ratchet’: Album Review

    May 19, 2015 3:47 PM EDT 0 0 0 It's not just Shamir Bailey's curiosity that makes him special. This is 2015: Shame on any young artist who doesn't love Taylor Swift , Michael Jackson and '80s noise rockers Scratch Acid -- all of whom this 20-year-old Las Vegas ...

  28. Pop Duo Twenty One Pilots Makes a Hot Mess (in a Good Way) on ‘Blurryface’: Album Review

    May 19, 2015 3:40 PM EDT 0 0 0 The great thing about being a pop duo that treats genres like a toddler treats Legos is that even your ­mistakes are fascinating. Such is the case with Twenty One Pilots ' Blurryface , the fourth album by Ohioan road ­warriors Tyler Joseph and ...

  29. Jamie Foxx’s ‘Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses’ Is a Disjointed Outing: Album Review

    May 18, 2015 3:57 PM EDT 0 0 0 Jamie Foxx returns to music with his fifth album, Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses , and little left to prove. He's a double-threat with an Oscar, two Grammy Awards and hits like "Blame It" with T-Pain and Kanye West 's " ...

  30. Rico Love Steps Out On His Own With 'Turn The Lights On': Album Review

    May 18, 2015 11:35 AM EDT 0 0 0 In an interview in January , singer-songwriter/producer/rapper Rico Love identified a turning point in his career: a trio of ballads he wrote several years ago for Melanie Fiona ("4 AM"), Mary J. Blige ("Mr. Wrong"), and Trey Son ...

  31. BoA Makes a Stylish Return to Her K-Pop Throne on 'Kiss My Lips': Track-by-Track Review

    May 15, 2015 6:46 PM EDT 0 0 0 With nearly 15 years in the entertainment industry, BoA has little to prove in Korea, where she's widely regarded as a pioneer in K-pop's modern-day international platform. After delving into multiple genres throughout several territories ...

  32. Country Songwriter Chris Stapleton Copes With Loss on Triumphant Solo Debut: Album Review

    May 12, 2015 5:28 PM EDT Chris Stapleton's backstory is something out of a country myth. His dad was a coal miner; the Nashville singer-songwriter, 37, who has written for everyone from Adele to Tim McGraw , was moved to record his solo debut, Traveller , after his d ...

  33. Best Coast Outdoes Itself on Surprisingly Sharp ‘California Nights’: Album Review

    May 12, 2015 2:39 PM EDT Long past the height of their hipster popularity, Los Angeles surf-rockers Best Coast have unexpectedly served up their best album. Since the band first emerged in 2009 as a girl group-meets- Jesus and Mary Chain duo, its sound has undergone sever ...

  34. Snoop Dogg’s Pharrell-Produced ‘Bush’ Is a Half-Baked Effort: Album Review

    May 12, 2015 1:10 PM EDT 0 0 0 As an idea, Snoop Dogg 's 13th solo album, Bush , sounds great. It's his return to character after the detour of 2013's reggae hybrid, Reincarnated (recorded as Snoop Lion), and his first with a single (and ­singular) producer since h ...

  35. The Beatles' 'Let It Be' at 45: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    May 08, 2015 3:35 PM EDT 0 0 0 Over the course of 16 months beginning in early 1969, an ambitious project that was titled  Get Back  and intended to document the back-to-basics rebirth of the Beatles devolved into  Let It Be , a heavily fussed-over hodgepodge of live and studio c ...

  36. Ciara Misses an Opportunity on 'Jackie': Album Review

    May 06, 2015 12:40 PM EDT 0 0 0 Coping with an all-too public breakup often yields raw, humanizing creative boosts for music stars -- Marvin Gaye 's withering Here, My Dear is the classic -example. For R&B singer Ciara , whose sexy turn-up jams have always been more style ...

  37. Tyler Farr Goes From Bro to Brooding on Sophomore Album ‘Suffer in Peace’: Album Review

    May 05, 2015 6:06 PM EDT In country songwriting, fighting words are often leavened with robust wit. It couldn't have been lost on Tyler Farr that his first big hit, 2013's cheater-­confronting "Redneck Crazy," came off more menacing than amusing. But h ...

  38. Mana Takes a Genre-Bending Left Turn With ‘Cama Incendiada’: Album Review

    May 04, 2015 4:00 PM EDT 0 0 0 On Maná 's last studio LP, 2011's Drama y Luz , the chart-topping Mexican band embraced gothic tales and angst. But Cama Incendiada (Burning Bed), despite its title -- and singer Fher Olvera's separation from Telemundo star Monica Nog ...

  39. Album Review: Mumford & Sons Rock Out But Keep Their Sentiment Intact on ‘Wilder Mind’

    May 01, 2015 4:27 PM EDT 0 0 0 Rock'n'roll transformations are as old as rock'n'roll. The Beatles made some of their best music post-moptops; Dylan incited helter skelter at the Newport Folk Festival. U2 had Zooropa, and Green Day did Broadway. Evolving -- it& ...

  40. Kehlani Releases the Year's First Great R&B Album With 'You Should Be Here'

    April 29, 2015 11:30 AM EDT 0 0 0 Rap was full of seemingly out-of-nowhere success stories last year, but the same was not true for R&B. As more types of music pilfer the genre's signature delivery -- and its singers -- for their own ends, it's tougher for R&B arti ...

  41. Album Review: Blur Comes to a Personal and Professional Crossroads on ‘The Magic Whip’

    April 28, 2015 2:44 PM EDT 0 0 0 In order to finish The Magic Whip , its first album in a dozen years, Blur had to revisit the past. This wasn't the ­distant past of 1994's Parklife or 1995's The Great Escape , cheeky Britpop triumphs that branded the London foursome ...

  42. Album Review: Reba McEntire Forgoes Radio Fare for Mature Ballads on ‘Love Somebody’

    April 27, 2015 10:44 AM EDT There's really no template for Reba McEntire  to follow at this point. She's a star of a certain age -- 60, if you can believe it -- who's in the Country Music Hall of Fame but still has the drive to make radio-relevant music at a ...

  43. Album Review: Young Thug Exists In His Own Weird World On 'Barter 6'

    April 17, 2015 11:25 AM EDT 0 0 0 Most artists end up being defined by their limitations. At a certain point, songwriting will be hemmed in by imagination or ability. For rappers, voice often dictates range, and no one has more peculiar ways of using their voice than Atlanta's ...

  44. EP Review: The-Dream Shows a New Dimension on 'Crown'

    April 14, 2015 3:04 PM EDT 0 0 0 Terius Nash, the R&B singer, songwriter and producer who performs as The-Dream , specializes in creating tracks that are triumphant and crushingly melodic. Listen to " Fast Car " (2007) or " F.I.L.A. " (2010): These glistenin ...

  45. Album Review: Alabama Shakes Continue Their Southern Rock Renaissance on 'Sound & Color'

    April 14, 2015 12:05 PM EDT 0 0 0 Consider the Alabama Shakes the torchbearers for the new retro rock. The sound's first wave, sparked in the early 2000s by bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes (plus a ­thousand other groups with "The" in their names), was vie ...

  46. EXO's 'Exodus' Charges Into a New Era of Boy Bands: Track-by-Track Review

    April 03, 2015 9:47 PM EDT 0 0 0 More or less, you know what to expect from your favorite boy band: Backstreet Boys give us straight-forward bubblegum; One Direction  embraces '80s-tinged, rock-pop hooks; and you can count on incredible choreography no matter what genre TVXQ! ...

  47. Album Review: 'The Album About Nothing' Is Wale's Most Personal and Best Work

    April 02, 2015 2:13 PM EDT 0 0 0 Wale made his breakthrough with the Seinfeld -inspired The Mixtape About Nothing seven years ago. Since, the D.C. rapper has changed record labels, rebounding from the commercial failure of his 2009 debut, Attention Deficit , by topping the Billboar ...

  48. Havana's Daymé Arocena Bridges Gap Between Cuban & American Music

    April 02, 2015 11:15 AM EDT 0 0 0 Daymé Arocena’s vocal repertoire encompasses scatting, Afro-Cuban chanting, scratchy-throated whispers, and a deep, gusty laugh. On her cover of the classic “Cry Me A River” (not the Justin Timberlake track), the 22-year-old from Havana sings to a r ...

  49. Album Review: Ludacris' 'Ludaversal' Is His Moodiest Yet

    March 31, 2015 12:25 PM EDT For years, Ludacris has stood at the convergence of two implacably divided camps: hip-hop fundamentalists and casual, neophyte listeners. His flow is ideally suited to rowdy club pleasers, but he's a man of formidable substance, calling the ...

  50. T-Pain's Frustrations Show on His New Mixtape 'The Iron Way'

    March 30, 2015 1:21 PM EDT 0 0 0 Pop music and technology have always had an uneasy relationship, with arbitrary lines defining how much technology an artist is allowed to use before his or her music stops being "real." Nobody knows more about this problem right now than ...

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