1. Eric Benét, "Lost in Time"

    December 03, 2010 3:30 PM EST 0 0 0 Paying homage to the past can be a tricky proposition. Do you risk losing your contemporary footing? Is there still a market for feel-good R&B? Eric Benét skillfully maneuvers the balancing act and delivers a strong set in the process with this ...

  2. Kanye West, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"

    November 30, 2010 1:11 PM EST 0 0 0 Fresh off his media-storm-induced hiatus that followed his now-infamous hijacking of Taylor Swift 's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West crashes back onto the scene to steal the spotlight with possibly the best albu ...

  3. Ke$ha, "Cannibal"

    November 30, 2010 12:43 PM EST 0 0 0 One thing's for sure: Ke$ha knows the score. "Guess it worked out/Got here by runnin' my mouth," she declares on "Crazy Beautiful Life," one of nine tracks on the follow-up to her No. 1-debuting 2010 album, "Animal ...

  4. Underoath, " 0 (Disambiguation)"

    November 30, 2010 12:19 PM EST 0 0 0 The word "Disambiguation"-the title of Underoath 's seventh album-refers to the clarity that occurs after a source of ambiguity is removed. It would be wrong to interpret the title as a jab at departed drummer/co-vocalist Aaron Gilles ...

  5. Norah Jones, ". . . Featuring"

    November 30, 2010 12:09 PM EST 0 0 0 Throughout the course of her four studio albums, Norah Jones has honed in on a remarkably well-defined jazz-folk sound; even last year's relatively dark "The Fall" was instantly identifiable as the work of the woman who gave brunch sp ...

  6. Atomic Tom, "The Moment"

    November 30, 2010 12:06 PM EST 0 0 0 Atomic Tom scored a hit in the viral video world when the band used its iPhones to perform the song "Take Me Out" on a New York subway car. For its full-length debut, "The Moment," the group fuses electro-pop with classic British ...

  7. Rascal Flatts, "Nothing Like This"

    November 30, 2010 12:02 PM EST 0 0 0 Anyone who wondered what affect a label change might have on Rascal Flatts ' particular blend of country and pop: Rest assured, the impact was practically nil. The genre-straddling virtues that have delivered five No. 1 albums and two dozen top ...

  8. Daft Punk, "Tron: Legacy"

    November 29, 2010 5:41 PM EST 0 0 0 A-list superstars in their native electronic-music realm, the robot-masked men of France's Daft Punk have established a foothold among more mainstream listeners thanks to glittery disco-house jams like "Around the World," "One Mo ...

  9. Queensrÿche, "Empire"

    November 19, 2010 5:38 PM EST 0 0 0 A good musician can play a song's notes well, but a true artist also skillfully navigates the breaths in between. Such holds true for Queensrÿche's approach to its 1990 commercial juggernaut, "Empire." The band treated each song& ...

  10. The Floacist, "The Floacist Presents Floetic Soul"

    November 19, 2010 5:28 PM EST 0 0 0 As neo-soul duo Floetry , poet/MC Natalie Stewart and singer Marsha Ambrosius wrote songs for Michael Jackson and Jill Scott . The pair also crafted a distinctive blend of rap/singing artfully laced over soul and hip-hop beats, resulting in hit sing ...

  11. Violens, "Amoral"

    November 19, 2010 5:20 PM EST 0 0 0 One could fashion a drinking game of "spot the influence" for Violens ' debut, "Amoral." And be assured that all participants would wind up pretty blotto by the time the album's 12 tracks finish. But be equally assured ...

  12. Elvis Presley, "Viva Elvis - The Album"

    November 15, 2010 12:04 PM EST 0 0 0 There are certainly some Elvis Presley aficionados who will choke on their peanut butter and banana sandwiches upon hearing this companion album to Cirque du Soleil 's Las Vegas tribute to the King. The 12 tracks on "Viva Elvis-The Album&q ...

  13. N.E.R.D., "Nothing"

    November 15, 2010 11:58 AM EST 0 0 0 While Pharrell Williams ' legacy as one-half of production duo the Neptunes has long been secure, his ventures as the frontman for hip-hop/funk trio N*E*R*D have yielded a challenging, inconsistent output. "Nothing," Williams' fo ...

  14. My Chemical Romance, "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys"

    November 15, 2010 10:39 AM EST 0 0 0 The uniforms, logos and socio-political bombast of My Chemical Romance 's 2006 album, "The Black Parade," have all been safely packed away. The rock quintet is comparatively stripped down and glammed up on its fourth studio album, &qu ...

  15. Weezer, "Death to False Metal"

    November 15, 2010 10:35 AM EST 0 0 0 Weezer 's Kiss -loving frontman Rivers Cuomo has always had delusions of metal grandeur. On the aptly titled "Death to False Metal" compilation, many of the revisited outtakes from Weezer's discography aspire to metaldom heights ...

  16. 7 Walkers, "7 Walkers"

    November 15, 2010 10:27 AM EST 0 0 0 Grateful Dead spinoffs tend to be hit-and-miss affairs. But in 7 Walkers , Dead percussionist Bill Kreutzmann has hit pay dirt. The well-credentialed group-fronted by Louisiana singer/guitarist Papa Mali and now including Meters bassist George Porte ...

  17. Black Dub, "Black Dub"

    November 15, 2010 10:18 AM EST 0 0 0 Daniel Lanois has already had a pretty remarkable year, with high-profile production gigs on albums by Brandon Flowers of the Killers and Neil Young , who titled his latest, "Le Noise," in honor of his partner's crucial creative contr ...

  18. Elvis Costello, "National Ransom"

    November 15, 2010 10:12 AM EST 0 0 0 If Elvis Costello 's predilection for album-to-album change has been dizzying during the past 30-plus years, his latest release, "National Ransom," truncates that whirlwind across 16 tracks. Returning to "King of America" an ...

  19. Matt & Kim, "Sidewalks"

    November 05, 2010 5:19 PM EDT 0 0 0 Brooklyn indie-pop duo Matt & Kim have always been a dance party type of band. But the beat on the pair's latest album, "Sidewalks," suggests that keyboardist/vocalist Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino have been spending more ...

  20. Fania All Stars, "Ponte Duro: The Fania All Stars Story"

    November 05, 2010 5:03 PM EDT 0 0 0 Reissues from the storied Latin label Fania have been a blessing of the new music era. Fans can rejoice again at the release of the four-disc boxed set "Ponte Duro: The Fania All Stars Story." The release guarantees a revelation for anyone ...

  21. Good Charlotte, "Cardiology"

    November 05, 2010 4:52 PM EDT 0 0 0 Early on "Cardiology," Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden declares that "we'll stay young forever." A decade and five albums into its career, the rock band certainly sounds as youthful as ever. But age has brought some more m ...

  22. Susan Boyle, "The Gift"

    November 05, 2010 4:46 PM EDT 0 0 0 "The Gift," the second release from famed "Britain's Got Talent" contestant Susan Boyl e, is a bit of a tweener: mostly a holiday album and partly a follow-up to last year's massively successful "I Dreamed a Dream. ...

  23. Warpaint, "The Fool"

    October 29, 2010 2:47 PM EDT 0 0 0 Willowy Los Angeles art-rock group Warpaint summons a remarkably heady atmosphere on its debut album, "The Fool," which follows a buzzed-about EP released last year on Los Angeles-based indie Manimal Vinyl. On the song "Bees," gu ...

  24. Liz Phair, "Funstyle"

    October 29, 2010 2:45 PM EDT 0 0 0 Alternative rocker Liz Phair surprised fans when she posted tracks from her newest album, "Funstyle," on her website in July. The eclectic set is the singer's first release in five years and will be packaged with a set of demos and ra ...

  25. Dave Koz, "Hello Tomorrow"

    October 22, 2010 11:41 AM EDT 0 0 0 Saxophonist Dave Koz brings the funk on "Hello Tomorrow," certainly more so than the smooth jazz poster boy has on previous efforts since the 1990s. Some of that credit goes to Koz' new production team of Marcus Miller and John Burk, ...

  26. Lil Wayne, "I Am Not a Human Being"

    October 22, 2010 11:38 AM EDT 0 0 0 Lil Wayne's latest album, "I Am Not a Human Being," is not as experimental as the rapper's previous rock-tinged "Rebirth" set that arrived earlier this year, and most fans will likely appreciate this. But it doesn' ...

  27. Joshua Radin, "The Rock and the Tide

    October 22, 2010 11:33 AM EDT 0 0 0 Joshua Radin goes for a certain irony on his third album, "The Rock and the Tide," ending the set with a reprise of "Brand New Day," the cheeriest track from 2008's "Simple Times." His declaration that "I' ...

  28. Shakira, "Sale el Sol"

    October 22, 2010 11:29 AM EDT 0 0 0 Shakira's album material seems to strike a much purer chord in Spanish. Her latest project, "Sale el Sol," is no exception. It's a mix of uptempo dance tracks based on traditional Latin rhythms like merengue, hard-kicking rock tr ...

  29. The Band Perry, "The Band Perry"

    October 22, 2010 11:24 AM EDT 0 0 0 Alabama-bred sibling trio the Band Perry has already built anticipation for its full-length debut, primarily with the top 20 country singles "Hip to My Heart" and the gold "If I Die Young." Expectations can backfire, but in this ...

  30. Brian Eno, "Small Craft on a Milk Sea"

    October 22, 2010 11:17 AM EDT 0 0 0 Drawing on his art-rock work with David Byrne as well as his pioneering ambient output, master producer Brian Eno has released the sonic component of a three-act play with "Small Craft on a Milk Sea," his debut album on Warp Records. Recor ...

  31. Marco Antonio Solís, "En Total Plenitud"

    October 22, 2010 11:11 AM EDT 0 0 0 Marco Antonio Solís didn't title his new album, "En Total Plenitud" ("Fully Realized"), after a track, but after a sentiment. Although the 12-song set primarily comprises romantic ballads, most of them potential singles, the ...

  32. Guster, "Easy Wonderful"

    October 15, 2010 6:14 PM EDT 0 0 0 Guster fans expecting a more mellow sound from the band are in for a rude awakening. The group's latest release, "Easy Wonderful," is the quartet's most upbeat album to date. Arriving four years after "Ganging Up on the Sun, ...

  33. Faith Evans, "Something About Faith"

    October 15, 2010 6:10 PM EDT 0 0 0 In the '90s, Faith Evans was on the verge of becoming one of the dominating R&B powerhouses of her generation. But other than a recent DUI arrest, the Notorious B.I.G. 's widow has been removed from the public eye for the past five yea ...

  34. Belle & Sebastian, "Write About Love"

    October 15, 2010 6:03 PM EDT 0 0 0 On its eighth full-length release, Glasgow, Scotland, indie pop group Belle & Sebastian ditch their sad-vibes-hidden-by-happy-melodies schtick in favor of legitimately upbeat songs. "Write About Love," Belle & Sebastian's foll ...

  35. The Secret Sisters, "The Secret Sisters"

    October 15, 2010 5:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 The Secret Sisters are certainly out in the open now, thanks to a vinyl single with Jack White and a debut album done under the patronage of executive producer T Bone Burnett . The two auteurs' interest in the Alabama duo is hardly surprising, ...

  36. Far*East Movement, "Free Wired"

    October 15, 2010 5:36 PM EDT 0 0 0 If Justin Timberlake recorded a "FutureSex/LoveSounds 2.0," it could very well have sounded like Los Angeles Asian-American group Far*East Movement 's debut album, "Free Wired." The set explodes with strong hooks, synths and ...

  37. Die Antwoord, "$O$"

    October 15, 2010 5:26 PM EDT 0 0 0 Since its 2009 formation, Die Antwoord has been something to rave about, quite literally. The South African trio, whose name means "The Answer" in Afrikaans, spins its hip-hop in a decidedly dance-club direction. The group uses electronic ...

  38. Buddy Guy, "Living Proof"

    October 15, 2010 4:22 PM EDT 0 0 0 Buddy Guy proudly announces himself as "74 Years Young" at the outset of his latest album, "Living Proof." But the guitar legend still plays with the energy of a teenager-albeit a highly talented one-just starting out. And when h ...

  39. Keith Urban, "Put You In A Song"

    October 08, 2010 5:59 PM EDT 0 0 0 "Put You in a Song," the first single from Keith Urban 's forthcoming album "Get Closer," features the most infectious aspects of his signature style. A vibrant melody is matched with driving guitars, a clever set of lyrics ...

  40. Fran Healy, "Wreckorder"

    October 08, 2010 5:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 Travis singer Fran Healy recruited a pair of high-profile pals for help on his first solo disc, "Wreckorder." On the Beatles -esque track "As It Comes," that's none other than Paul McCartney playing bass, while Neko Case sho ...

  41. Toby Keith, "Bullets In The Gun"

    October 08, 2010 5:47 PM EDT 0 0 0 Toby Keith has been writing and playing country music long enough to know every one of its conventions-and how to twist them around. "Bullets in the Gun" is his 14th studio set overall and fifth for his own Show Dog label. It's full o ...

  42. Tricky, "Mixed Race"

    October 08, 2010 5:41 PM EDT 0 0 0 Tricky , the Bristol-born godfather of trip-hop, filters his influences unlike any other artist. He's not reverent or iconoclastic; neither seamy nor seamless. But while his music, especially in the post-trip-hop period, openly nods to an army ...

  43. Donavon Frankenreiter, "Glow"

    October 08, 2010 5:34 PM EDT 0 0 0 Donavon Frankenreiter released his self-titled 2004 debut through his surf buddy Jack Johnson 's label Brushfire. And three studio albums later he's still swimming in the same balmy beach-folk waters. "I wanna see your daylight shinin ...

  44. Kings of Leon, "Come Around Sundown"

    October 08, 2010 5:31 PM EDT 0 0 0 In an interview during their summer tour, Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill said that a lot of fans-lured to their concerts by recent propulsive stadium anthems like "Sex on Fire" and record of the year Grammy Award winner "Use S ...

  45. Michael W. Smith, "Wonder"

    October 08, 2010 5:27 PM EDT 0 0 0 "Wonder" might be Michael W. Smith 's 22nd album, but the veteran singer/ songwriter has never sounded more compelling or impassioned. Teaming once again with producer Bryan Lenox, who helmed Smith's albums "Freedom" an ...

  46. Hank Williams, "The Complete Mother's Best Recordings . . . Plus!"

    October 08, 2010 5:13 PM EDT 0 0 0 In Merle Haggard 's song "The Way It Was in '51," the singer/ songwriter recalls, "66 was still a narrow, two-lane highway/ Harry Truman was the man who ran the show/The bad Korean War was just beginning/ Hank and Lefty crow ...

  47. Deerhunter, "Halcyon Digest"

    October 01, 2010 4:20 PM EDT 0 0 0 It's no coincidence that "Halcyon Digest," the fourth album from Atlanta indie-rock act Deerhunter , was partly produced by Ben Allen, who also had a hand in Animal Collective's 2009 album, "Merriweather Post Pavilion." ...

  48. Gin Blossoms, "No Chocolate Cake"

    October 01, 2010 4:13 PM EDT 0 0 0 The Gin Blossoms continue to concoct melodic hooks framed by a mix of jangly alternative pop-rock on the band's newest album, "No Chocolate Cake." While its 1992 breakthrough, "New Miserable Experience," was powered by the p ...

  49. Sufjan Stevens, "The Age of Adz"

    October 01, 2010 4:11 PM EDT 0 0 0 Listeners who fell in love with Sufjan Stevens for his rustic Americana sound, Christian undertones or ambitious "50 states" project are in for a rude awakening with his latest album, "The Age of Adz." Stevens followed 2005' ...

  50. Gucci Mane, "The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted"

    October 01, 2010 4:03 PM EDT 0 0 0 Less than a year after releasing his major-label debut, and just a handful of months since being freed from jail, Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane is back with new album "The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted." The set-which features guest appea ...

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