Mike Posner, "31 Minutes to Takeoff"
This recent Duke University grad recently hit the upper reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 with "Cooler Than Me," a slick club jam in which he pokes fun at a lady who keeps her emotions hidden behind her designer shades. Yet throughout "31 Minutes to Takeoff," Mike Posner's major-label debut following a pair of buzz-building 2009 mixtapes, he sounds as unflappable as the subject of his first hit, delivering shapely melodies in a breathy, low-key croon that makes Drake (or John Mayer) sound like Mr. Excitement. For the most part-as in the song "Do U Wanna?," which rides an unlikely Ray LaMontagne sample, and "Please Don't Go," a bouncy disco-pop track co-produced by Dr. Luke's right-hand man Benny Blanco-the result provides some nice contrast with the amped-up likes of Ke$ha and Taio Cruz. Occasionally, though, mellow morphs into dreary: Closer "Falling," in which Posner invites an ex to "drive your high heel into my heart," stalls out on the runway.