REVIEWED BY CHUCK ARNOLD
Radiohead fans can rest easy: The first solo album by frontman Thom Yorke does not signal the end of the influential British alt-rock band. In fact, Radiohead is currently touring and plans to release a new CD next year. In the meantime, Yorke indulges his electronica impulses on this strangely disappointing disc, which will hardly erase memories of OK Computer
or The Bends
. Working with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Yorke puts his arty streak on full display with atmospheric but aimless tracks, such as the bleepfest "Cymbal Rush," that amount to really cool background music. A few cuts manage to stand out amid the sonic wallpaper: The melancholy title song showcases the album's evocative use of piano, while the jazzy, funky "Black Swan" finds Yorke spreading his wings into Steely Dan territory.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Black Swan"
Men & Mascara
On the hit "Break Down Here," off her 2004 self-titled debut, Julie Roberts demonstrated that she knows her way around a tear-stained country ballad. There's more where that came from on the singer's achingly good second CD. The plaintive title track finds her coming to the conclusion that "men and mascara always run." On another he-done-me-wrong highlight, "Lonely Alone," she affectingly plays the neglected woman: "I'm already lonely/ I might as well be lonely alone." Through it all, Roberts's blues-tinged vocals deepen the indigo shade of her tunes.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Men & Mascara"
The Day Has Come
This overachieving 15-year-old—who prevailed as NBC's America's Most Talented Kid
at 13 and now stars in MTV's Cheyenne
—will win over even the meanest girls with a pop-rock debut that beats anything by Ashlee, Hilary or Lindsay. Kimball plays guitar and cowrote every song, strongly suggesting that her day has come the old-fashioned way.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Hanging On"
For more information on where to find our Download This picks, go to www.people.com/downloadthis
Leave it to "WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC (right) to hilariously skewer "You're Beautiful," that ubiquitous weepie by James Blunt (left). "You're Pitiful" is available for free download at www.weirdal.com. Although Blunt approved of the send-up, his label, Atlantic Records, refuses to allow the song to appear on Yankovic's upcoming album. "They're the humorless ones," says Yankovic.
EDIE BRICKELL & NEW BOHEMIANS reunite on the breezy blues-rocker "Wear You Down," at newbohemians.com.
MARIO VAZQUEZ (left), the American Idol
dropout, resurfaces with the heartfelt ballad "Gallery," at iTunes.com.
JOHN MAYER channels Curtis Mayfield on "Waiting on the World to Change," a funky preview of his upcoming CD, at iTunes.com.
JURASSIC 5, the alternative hip-hop act, teams up with the Dave Matthews Band on the uplifting "Work It Out," at buymusic.com.