It Is Time for a Love Revolution |

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CRITIC'S CHOICE

ROCK

Nineteen years after making his debut with Let Love Rule, Lenny Kravitz, forever the flower child, is still preaching about the power of love. And while not making any radical changes—the dude remains a disciple of classic rock—he has rarely delivered his message with more passion and hook-heavy punch. From the anthemic "Love Revolution," which calls for a "new constitution," to the country-tinged ballad "If You Want It," one of several tunes that reveal a deeper spirituality, Kravitz is in top form. The album closes with two antiwar songs, including "Back in Vietnam," which, addressing the Iraq conflict, draws unfortunate parallels with the past.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Love Love Love," a guitar-riffing jam spreading positivity

Sleep Through the Static |

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FOLK-POP

"Sometimes it feels like a heart is no place to be singing from at all." So sings Jack Johnson, sounding like someone has stolen his surfboard, on "All at Once," the world-weary opener of his new album, Sleep Through the Static. He clearly has more on his mind than catching the perfect wave, venting about the war in Iraq on the title cut ("We went beyond where we should have gone") and theorizing about natural disasters on "Losing Keys" ("The world has its ways to quiet us down"). But Johnson, for all his mellow charm, lacks the musical—and emotional—range to truly pull off this venture into deeper waters; much of it floats by without really sinking in.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "If I Had Eyes," a summer-in-February shuffle

Just a Little Lovin' |

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TORCH POP

Shelby Lynne should always heed the advice of Barry Manilow, who suggested that she dust off the Dusty Springfield songbook, resulting in this uncannily perfect marriage of singer to material. Lynne inhabits tunes like "The Look of Love" with a torchy sensuality that smolders.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "I Only Want to Be with You," a sultry bossa nova

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There's plenty to adore about Love Revival, the country star's Valentine's Day collection available only at Hallmark, featuring previously released romantic fare as well as four new songs.

KATE WALSH Tim's House
Not to be confused with the Private Practice star—although her painfully gorgeous ballad "Your Song" was featured on the Grey's Anatomy episode that launched the spinoff—this British singer-songwriter makes finespun folk-pop.

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PAT METHENY Day Trip
The genre-bending guitar hero taps into his jazz roots, leading an acoustic trio (rounded out by bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonio Sanchez) through brisk tempos and the perfectly placed riff.

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CHUCK WICKS Starting Now
With his green eyes staring at you from the cover of his country debut, it's clear that Wicks has the hunk factor going for him. But songs like first single "Stealing Cinderella," a touching ballad, are just as fetching.

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THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA Down in New Orleans
The revered gospel act is still as vital as ever on this uplifting set of traditional hymns recorded in the Big Easy. The city's enduring musical spirit soars, especially on the soul-stirring "A Prayer."

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The rock god, 59, and the bluegrass queen, 36, make a rootsy twosome on Raising Sand. The duo, up for a Grammy Feb. 10, will appear on CMT's Crossroads Feb. 11 and tour this spring.

ON BEING AN ODD COUPLE "There ain't that much difference between us—just gender and age," says Plant. "We're both parents, both family people. And I really got the underlying aspects of Alison's music."

ON THE MAN VS. THE MYTH "My brother, who first played me Robert's music [growing up], was like, 'What's he like?'" says Krauss. "And I said, 'Well, he's just like us!' I was surprised at how funny and down-to-earth he is. He's a very welcoming person."

ON CURTAILING THE WAIL "I'm 59 years old, and people still haven't got the drift that I often sing very quiet, sensitive tunes," says Plant. "But I learned restraint from Alison. She taught me about meticulous detail and the whole harmony thing."

ON RECORDING IN NASHVILLE "People were thrilled to have Robert in town," says Krauss. "He made quite an impression." But, adds Plant, "I think her ma and pa were a little bit confused by me at the beginning."

ON A POSSIBLE ZEPPELIN REUNION TOUR "You know, it's any opportunity that comes in now," quips Plant, "because I'll soon be able to get reduced rates on public transport." Adds Krauss with a laugh: "Soon he can get the breakfast bar at Shoney's for a lower rate!"

For those of you who don't have a sweetheart to snuggle with on Feb. 14, take comfort in these down-on-love songs.

Beyoncé Knowles "Irreplaceable" Never have three little words meant so much. And we don't mean "I love you." We're talking about "To the left."

KELLY CLARKSON "Since U Been Gone" Only a relationship exorcism could work up this kind of rocking rage.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE "Cry Me a River" Before "What Goes Around ... Comes Around," there was this bitter—and even better—kiss-off.

BON JOVI "You Give Love a Bad Name" Shot by Cupid. And then shot through the heart.

TINA TURNER "What's Love Got to Do with It" If only we all had Tina's toughness—and legs.

CARRIE UNDERWOOD "Before He Cheats" Revenge songs don't get much sweeter than this.

AMY WINEHOUSE "Love Is a Losing Game" Defeated. Destroyed. Done. This is what a broken heart sounds like.

JOY DIVISION "Love Will Tear Us Apart" Ah, the gloom and doom of romance.

ALANIS MORISSETTE "You Oughta Know" So much for wishing them well.