Paul McCartney
Memory Almost Full | [3.5 stars]
CRITIC'S CHOICE
POP

If you thought that Paul McCartney's bitter split from wife Heather Mills might have turned him into a grumpy old musician, think again. Kicking off his great new CD—which he actually began recording pre-breakup in 2003—with the sprightly, mandolin-laced "Dance Tonight," he practically sounds as if he is doing a jig. And on romantic declarations like "Gratitude" he still seems to believe that all you need is love. Memory finds McCartney, who turns 65 this month, in a nostalgic mood on songs like the sweetly wistful "You Tell Me," while on "End of the End" he faces death with his sunny side up: "It's the start of a journey/To a much better place/And this wasn't bad/So a much better place/Would have to be special/No need to be sad."
DOWNLOAD THIS: "End of the End"

Rihanna
Good Girl Gone Bad | [3 stars]
R&B-POP

Give Rihanna credit for being able to turn out a killer single: She did it in 2005 with "Pon de Replay" and last year with "SOS." And she's done it again with "Umbrella," which pours on the heat, from the Jay-Z rap that kicks it off in big-pimpin' style to the "umbrella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh" hook that Rihanna delivers with her sultry Caribbean lilt. It's sheer hip-pop perfection. But with help from Ne-Yo, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, there's more than just one great single. From New Order-inspired guitar pop ("Shut Up and Drive") to rump-shaking reggae ("Lemme Get That"), this is good until the last beat drops.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Umbrella"

T-Pain
Epiphany | [2.5 stars]

R&B

The T in T-Pain definitely doesn't stand for teetotaler. On the club come-on "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')," his No. 1 pop and R&B hit, he sings, "Let's get drunk, forget what we did." He keeps the cocktails flowing on "Tipsy," another hip-hoppish midtempo number about igniting inebriated passion. Meanwhile, on "Bartender" he knocks back a triple shot of Patron while hitting on the "pretty young thing" behind the bar. (The latter track features Akon, who signed T-Pain to his Konvict Music label and shares a similar sound.) When T-Pain adopts a more sobering tone, though, the results are mixed: The nostalgic "Time Machine" shifts gears nicely, but "Suicide," a cautionary tale of unsafe sex, is just painful.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Buy U a Drank"

Big & Rich
Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace | [3 stars]
REVIEWED BY RANDY VEST
COUNTRY

The country duo's third CD is, surprisingly, a ballad-driven vehicle with lyrics more religious than raucous: Jesus, the pearly gates and rosary beads are mentioned in the first three songs alone. The standouts include "Faster Than Angels Fly," a heartfelt tale of doomed lovers from opposite sides of the tracks, beautifully rendered with B&R's flawless harmony; and first single "Lost in This Moment," which conveys a couple's hopelessly-devoted-to-you commitment. Not to risk disappointing their rowdier fans, B&R bang out two arena roof-raisers, "Radio" and the appropriately titled "Loud," as well as a countrified cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." And with genre-busting cameos from John Legend and Wyclef Jean, they continue to flaunt their image as Nashville outlaws.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Faster Than Angels Fly"

Exclusively on Verizon Wireless.
Text PICKS to 8915 for downloads from PEOPLE's Music Reviews.

For more information on where to find our Download This picks, go to PEOPLE.COM/DOWNLOADTHIS