1. Switchfoot, "Hello Hurricane"

    December 01, 2009 2:37 PM EST 0 0 0 After establishing a berth at mainstream radio with "Dare You to Move" (from its 2003 album, "The Beautiful Letdown"), earnest San Diego rock band Switchfoot hasn't quite managed to complete its crossover from the Christian- ...

  2. Tori Amos, "Midwinter Graces"

    December 01, 2009 1:45 PM EST 0 0 0 With past references to "the little g," the incriminating questions of "God" and a penchant to debate spiritual issues, Tori Amos hardly seems the type to make a holiday album. But the Methodist minister's daughter rarely ce ...

  3. Vampire Weekend, "Cousins"

    December 01, 2009 1:36 PM EST 0 0 0 Two years after taking the indie-rock world by storm with its much blogged-about self-titled debut, Vampire Weekend returns with "Cousins," the first single from its forthcoming second album, "Contra." Recorded in Mexico City, th ...

  4. Jay Sean featuring Sean Paul & Lil Jon, "Do You Remember"

    November 25, 2009 3:35 PM EST 0 0 0 The saying goes: If it isn't broken, don't fix it. That seems to be the strategy Jay Sean and his team employed by releasing "Do You Remember" as the second single off his "All or Nothing" album. Much like his recent Bi ...

  5. Big Kenny, "The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy"

    November 20, 2009 3:50 PM EST 0 0 0 In many ways, Big Kenny and John Rich -who make up country duo Big & Rich -are the perfect couple. But Big Kenny's new album, "The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy," is a thoughtful, often profound sojourn into musical inde ...

  6. Rihanna, "Rated R"

    November 20, 2009 3:39 PM EST 0 0 0 Rihanna may have been a good girl gone bad on her 2007 album, but on her new one, she's a good girl gone bad-ass. During the electric-guitar-soused "Rock Star," the R&B singer revels in her bad-girl rebellion, crooning, "Got ...

  7. Norah Jones, "The Fall"

    November 20, 2009 3:28 PM EST 0 0 0 Norah Jones ' fourth album, "The Fall," may surprise some of her die-hard fans, or at least disarm them a bit. During the 13-song set, Jones ditches the gentle piano-playing of her previous work and rises to a new level of creative bo ...

  8. Thalía, "Equivocada"

    November 20, 2009 3:28 PM EST 0 0 0 For the first single from her Nov. 17 live album "Thalía en Primera Fila" (Thalía in the Front Row), Mexican pop star Thalía delivers a moving ballad about a once-serious relationship that turned out to be a mistake. "I was always wro ...

  9. Latin Bitman featuring Francisca Valenzuela, "Help Me"

    November 20, 2009 3:23 PM EST 0 0 0 For the lead single from his new album "Colour," Latin Bitman finds a talented co-writer and guest vocalist in fellow Chilean artist Francisca Valenzuela, who moans bleak lyrics that tint the song with an appealing despondency. "I ...

  10. Orianthi, "According to You"

    November 20, 2009 3:18 PM EST 0 0 0 Pop music has seen its share of vocalists attempt to play guitar, but few do so as successfully as Orianthi , who shreds and sings with equal aplomb. The 24-year-old Australian was set to play alongside Michael Jackson on his "This Is It" ...

  11. Robin Thicke, "Sex Therapy"

    November 20, 2009 3:15 PM EST 0 0 0 Robin Thicke delivers his signature smooth talk on "Sex Therapy," the first single from his as-yet-untitled fourth album. Producers Polow Da Don and Hot Sauce set up a languorous backbeat with understated synths and soft drum kicks, while ...

  12. Nirvana, "Bleach" (20th-Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

    November 20, 2009 3:11 PM EST 0 0 0 "This is off our first record, most people don't own it," Kurt Cobain whispered before strumming the opening chords of "About a Girl" during Nirvana 's 1993 "MTV Unplugged" performance. As Cobain had guessed, ...

  13. Various Artists, "A Very Special Christmas Vol. 7"

    November 20, 2009 3:05 PM EST 0 0 0 The younger pop artists featured on "A Very Special Christmas Vol. 7" will certainly appeal to the Disney Channel set, but the album's infectious classics and varying musical styles will also likely draw in their parents, too. Smoky-v ...

  14. Carrie Underwood, "Play On"

    November 20, 2009 3:05 PM EST 0 0 0 There's no doubt that Carrie Underwood 's third album, "Play On," is her best collection yet: Here, the artist seems to finally feel comfortable in her own skin. It's a wide-ranging album-she's in love, out of love, lig ...

  15. Ivan, "Fantasia"

    November 20, 2009 2:58 PM EST 0 0 0 Young crooner Ivan's "Fantasia" is a throwback to '70s and '80s grupero, a Mexican genre that spawned some of Latin music's most enduring acts and classic songs. Grupero straddles pop and regional Mexican, offering hope ...

  16. Ryan Leslie, "Transition"

    November 20, 2009 2:54 PM EST 0 0 0 Nearly nine months after the release of his self-titled album, Ryan Leslie continues to push the envelope musically, penning even more lustful lyrics, delivering sweet melodies and creating captivating productions. On "Something That I Like&quo ...

  17. Say Anything, "Say Anything"

    November 20, 2009 2:46 PM EST 0 0 0 Pop-punk band Say Anything 's new self-titled album reflects the changing life of frontman Max Bemis-he is now married (wife Sherri DuPree guests on the songs "She Won't Follow You" and "Cemetery"), has converted to Chr ...

  18. Dashboard Confessional, "Alter the Ending"

    November 20, 2009 2:40 PM EST 0 0 0 Dashboard Confessional frontman Chris Carrabba could likely take his pick of any female fan in the audience. But somehow the singer/songwriter always manages to get his heart broken by the opposite sex. The band's sixth studio album, "Alte ...

  19. Daddy Yankee, "Grito Mundial"

    November 18, 2009 4:35 PM EST 0 0 0 With the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa around the corner, Daddy Yankee aims to score the kind of goal Ricky Martin did with his 1998 hit, "The Cup of Life." Yankee's "Grito Mundial" -in Spanish, the title can mean &quo ...

  20. David Archuleta, "Christmas From the Heart"

    November 17, 2009 12:48 PM EST 0 0 0 Former "American Idol" contestant David Archuleta 's new holiday album, "Christmas From the Heart," puts the singer's mellifluous voice front and center and wins over the listener with his original renditions of classic ...

  21. Chris Young, "The Man I Want to Be"

    November 13, 2009 4:30 PM EST 0 0 0 Chris Young 's previous single, the sultry "Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)," earned the Murfreesboro, Tenn., native his first No. 1 country hit, and his follow-up also has the potential to reach the summit. Penned by Bre ...

  22. Pink, "Funhouse"

    November 13, 2009 4:16 PM EST 0 0 0 On Pink 's biggest pop hits, art has almost always imitated life. It's no different on the title track and fourth single from her "Funhouse" album, which readdresses the singer's rocky relationship with husband Corey Hart-an ...

  23. Bob Dylan, "Christmas in the Heart"

    November 13, 2009 4:14 PM EST 0 0 0 Bob Dylan is so far into the creative renaissance that began with his 1997 album, "Time out of Mind," that even fans could forget his knack for taking unexpected left turns. But even by Dylan's standards, his new album "Christmas ...

  24. Lady Gaga, "Bad Romance"

    November 13, 2009 4:13 PM EST 0 0 0 "I want your ugly, I want your disease/I want your everything as long as it's free," a mischievous Lady Gaga croons on the opening lines of "Bad Romance." "I want your psycho, your vertigo stick/Want you in my rear wind ...

  25. Snoop Dogg featuring The Dream, "Gangsta Luv"

    November 13, 2009 4:07 PM EST 0 0 0 At first listen, Snoop Dogg 's "Gangsta Luv" appears to have all the necessary elements for a hit. Co-writer/co-producer the-Dream delivers a likable chorus, singing, "Everytime I come around, shawty love me down/Run off on me li ...

  26. Andrea Bocelli, "My Christmas"

    November 13, 2009 4:00 PM EST 0 0 0 It's difficult to know which of Andrea Bocelli 's duet partners on his first holiday album, "My Christmas," makes for the most unlikely match with the Italian pop-classical crooner. There's Mary J. Blige , who bends the melo ...

  27. Sting, "If on a Winter's Night..."

    November 13, 2009 3:48 PM EST 0 0 0 Sting has said that his latest album, "If on a Winter's Night . . .," was inspired by his favorite cold-weather season. But what's surprising about the best cuts from the 15-track set is how much heat the Police frontman and his ...

  28. Various Artists, "A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector"

    November 13, 2009 3:41 PM EST 0 0 0 The first song on Phil Spector 's famous Christmas album is Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," one Russian-American Jew's holiday greeting to another. But Spector's version-sung by Darlene Love and arranged with his fam ...

  29. Sugarland, "Gold and Green"

    November 13, 2009 3:33 PM EST 0 0 0 Christmas collections can present a slippery slope-albums of covers rarely stand up to the classics and sets of all new material struggle to capture the comfort and joy of the season. Thankfully, Sugarland delivers with its new holiday album, " ...

  30. Neil Diamond, "A Cherry Cherry Christmas"

    November 13, 2009 3:29 PM EST 0 0 0 The listener's reaction to the concept of Neil Diamond covering Adam Sandler 's "The Chanukah Song" is a pretty good predictor of how he or she will respond to the third holiday compilation of Diamond's career. While many of ...

  31. Straight No Chaser, "Christmas Cheers"

    November 13, 2009 3:25 PM EST 0 0 0 The a cappella group Straight No Chaser 's second holiday-themed album, "Christmas Cheers," may feature traditional songs like "We Three Kings," "O Holy Night" and "Jingle Bells," but the vocal ensemble p ...

  32. The Clark Sisters, "Family Christmas"

    November 13, 2009 2:24 PM EST 0 0 0 The Clark Sisters ' new holiday album, "Family Christmas," is truly a family affair as sisters Twinkie, Karen, Jacky and Dorinda are joined by younger members of the Clark clan. Karen's son, J. Drew Sheard, penned the gorgeous tr ...

  33. TRIN-I-TEE 5:7, "Love, Peace, Joy at Christmas"

    November 13, 2009 2:19 PM EST 0 0 0 The girl group Trin-I-Tee 5:7 delivers its first holiday album with the combined CD/DVD package "Love, Peace, Joy at Christmas." Those expecting the award-winning act to stay within gospel's confines will be pleasantly surprised. In a ...

  34. The Script, "Breakeven"

    November 10, 2009 1:18 PM EST 0 0 0 The Script 's last single, "The Man Who Can't Be Moved," failed to ignite U.S. airwaves despite its success in Europe. The group's follow-up, however, should rectify that situation. "Breakeven" is an insightful bre ...

  35. Rascal Flatts, "Why"

    November 10, 2009 12:54 PM EST 0 0 0 Rascal Flatts ' third single from the album "Unstoppable" tackles what might be the group's darkest subject yet: the loss of a friend to suicide. A delicate piano melody anchors the song's beginning and end, providing the so ...

  36. Gucci Mane featuring Usher, "Spotlight"

    November 10, 2009 12:33 PM EST 0 0 0 You know you're approaching hip-hop greatness when your single's hook marks the return of a superstar. "It feels so good to be back," Usher bellows at the top of Gucci Mane 's "Spotlight," about a girl the Atlanta ...

  37. Ryan Star, "Breathe"

    November 10, 2009 12:29 PM EST 0 0 0 On his heartfelt, slow-burning single "Breathe," Ryan Star extends a hand to everyone in need. "Take the world off your shoulders and put it on me," he sings, his voice clenching with veracity. Star catches his own breath during ...

  38. Janet Jackson, "Make Me"

    November 09, 2009 1:23 PM EST 0 0 0 Janet Jackson gave her late brother, Michael , two gifts in September. First, the singer paid tribute by performing their "Scream" duet at the MTV Video Music Awards; then she premiered the "Off the Wall"-inspired dance track &qu ...

  39. Morrissey, "Swords"

    November 06, 2009 3:55 PM EST 0 0 0 Most of the songs on Morrissey 's B-sides collection, "Swords," aren't new, but the set is a varied trove of material recorded since 2004 that wasn't included on the former Smiths frontman's most recent three solo album ...

  40. Julian Casablancas, "Phrazes for the Young"

    November 06, 2009 3:52 PM EST 0 0 0 Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas steps out with his debut solo album, "Phrazes for the Young," and dynamically weaves '80s techno-pop with psychedelic punk, while also reinventing his usual monochromatic croon. His punk attitude is ...

  41. John Mayer, "Battle Studies"

    November 06, 2009 3:46 PM EST 0 0 0 With all of his recent tweeting and tabloid coverage, it's a wonder John Mayer had time to write new music-much less the best and most adventurous of his four studio albums. Three years after his double-platinum album "Continuum," the ...

  42. Dolly Parton, "Dolly"

    November 06, 2009 3:36 PM EST 0 0 0 Dolly Parton has spent her career veering between mountain music tradition and Nash-Vegas glitter-what else would you expect from an artist who built an amusement park near her Appalachian hometown? Her first career-spanning boxed set, "Dolly,& ...

  43. Rupa & The April Fishes, "Este Mundo"

    November 06, 2009 3:32 PM EST 0 0 0 Whether it's klezmer, cumbia, ska, reggae or French chanson, there doesn't seem to be a genre that the San Francisco quintet Rupa & the April Fishes can't do. Lead singer Rupa Marya has an ear not only for languages but also for s ...

  44. Tech n9ne, "K.O.D."

    November 06, 2009 3:29 PM EST 0 0 0 Out of adversity comes strength. That's the message independent stalwart Tech N9ne delivers on his most introspective project to date, "K.O.D." On the set, he raps his way through a vivid journey to hell and back chronicled in three a ...

  45. Atreyu, "Congregation of the Damned"

    November 06, 2009 3:26 PM EST 0 0 0 Atreyu 's 2007 release, "Lead Sails Paper Anchor," found the band experimenting with a softer side when the group's Alex Varkatzas ditched his snarling growl for clearer vocals. But Atreyu has resharpened its teeth on its new alb ...

  46. Various Artists, "Fire in My Bones: Raw, Rare & Otherworldly African-American Gospel, 1944-2007"

    November 06, 2009 3:24 PM EST 0 0 0 Most modern listeners identify African-American gospel with recordings that mix passion with professionalism, and perhaps a certain amount of studio smarts. But that ignores the pre-war tradition of street-corner preachers, as well as the small grou ...

  47. The Blind Boys of Alabama, "Duets"

    November 06, 2009 3:16 PM EST 0 0 0 The Blind Boys of Alabama have been in business for generations, but only during this decade has the enduring gospel group achieved broader recognition and acclaim. Much of that has come through the alliances the Blind Boys have made with artists fr ...

  48. Train Save Me, "San Francisco"

    November 06, 2009 3:11 PM EST 0 0 0 Train frontman Pat Monahan isn't kidding when he promises toward the end of his band's fifth album, "Save Me, San Francisco," that "brick by brick, we'll get back to yesterday." Train's 15-year anniversary put ...

  49. Rihanna, "Russian Roulette"

    November 04, 2009 3:59 PM EST 0 0 0 Rihanna has yet to publicly discuss the February altercation with her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown . But on "Russian Roulette"-her first single since the incident occurred-she seems to touch upon the agony it caused her. "Say a prayer to ...

  50. Various Artists, "Glee: The Music Volume 1"

    October 30, 2009 3:59 PM EDT 0 0 0 The great thing about "Glee"-Fox's new glammy musical comedy series-is that when you see the cast has covered "Somebody to Love" on the show's first soundtrack, you know straightaway that they're doing the hit by Q ...

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