On their platinum debut, 2005's PCD
, the Pussycat Dolls became the guiltiest pleasures any man or woman, straight or gay, could want with hits like "Don't Cha" and "Buttons." After the aborted release of frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger's solo debut—hey, even Beyoncé
waited three albums to leave Destiny's Child!—they are back with more music for your pole-dancing delight. The pelvis-gyrating highlight is "When I Grow Up," the hit first single, on which they humorously recall being little Pussycat Dolls and wanting to have "boobies" (sans silicone, we hope).
Clearly, the girlie group has grown since PCD
: This is a stronger, more fully formed album with A-list producers like Timbaland (whose "Magic" is wicked) and a better range of material that shows just how flexible they can be—even when it's not about writhing on a chair.
Learn to Live
After exploring R&B on his 2002 solo debut, the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman successfully ventures into country. He quickly earned his Nashville cred with the hit first single "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," a bittersweet ballad. Even better, though, is the old-timey twang of "All I Want" and "Drinkin' and Dialin'."
"I'm scared to think of my album flopping," confesses Jazmine Sullivan on "Fear," giving the lie to her debut's title. But she need not worry: Her first single, "Need U Bad," has already hit No. 1 on Billboard's R&B chart. A killer combo of reggae and retro soul produced by Missy Elliott, it's the best Lauryn Hill song that Lauryn Hill never did. But with tracks like the gritty "Bust Your Windows" and the girl-group throwback "One Night Stand," this CD is more like the African-American answer to Amy Winehouse
's Back to Black
(they even share producer Salaam Remi). Here's hoping this talented 21-year-old singer leaves the drama on disc.
Do You Believe Me Now
The best song on Jimmy Wayne's new album is actually a re-recorded version of "Stay Gone," a hit off his 2003 self-titled debut that is included here as a bonus track. That may not bode well for the rest of this CD, but it's solid if unspectacular. He's already landed a No. 1 country single with the soft-rockish title cut. But Wayne comes closest to matching "Stay Gone" on the Patty Loveless duet "No Good for Me" and "One on One," a soulful ballad that, although not a remake of the 1982 Hall & Oates tune, reveals an affinity for the duo. So does a certain guest vocalist: John Oates.
"Launched the greatest label in the history of rap/And for 24 years I carried it on my back," rhymes LL Cool J, who may finally be exiting Def Jam Records after this, his 13th disc for the pioneering hip-hop label. He may not be the force that he once was, but tracks like the ferocious "You Better Watch Me" (produced by fellow old-schooler Marley Marl) show that the 40-year-old rapper can still knock you out.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Feel My Heart Beat," a stud-muffin muscle-flexer with 50 Cent
For more information on where to find our Download This picks, go to PEOPLE.COM/DOWNLOADTHIS
• Cool beats from Santogold abound: a remix of "L.E.S. Artistes" in the 2009 Ford Flex ad and "Creator" in the Bud Light Lime ad and Gossip Girl
. Plus she's in a Converse spot with Pharrell.
KARDINAL OFFISHALL Not 4 Sale
This Canadian rapper is of Jamaican descent, and he brings plenty of island flavor to his impressive debut. Highlights include the Rihanna
-assisted "Numba 1 (Tide Is High)" and "Dangerous," a Top 10 hit with Akon.
LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM Gift of Screws
On one of the standouts of his fifth solo outing, the Fleetwood Macster sings about waiting for "The Right Place to Fade." But as this enchanting disc demonstrates, Buckingham is hardly ready to fade from the picture.
KIMYA DAWSON AND FRIENDS Alphabutt
Dawson's alt-folk ditties were brought to a wider audience on the Juno soundtrack. Her quirky sensibilities add a little grown-up fun to this kids' disc when singing about things like farting in the tub.
JOSH HOGE Everything She Was
There's nothing on Hoge's debut that hasn't been done before—and better—by other soulful white boys like Justin Timberlake
, John Mayer
and Robin Thicke. Still, you may find cuts like "Stay Away" hard to resist.
• Back wooing the ladies with Year of the Gentleman
, the R&B star, 28, reveals the songs that keep chivalry alive in him.
SAMMY DAVIS JR., "MR. BOJANGLES"
That song was from the era of the gentleman. That era personifies what it is to have charm and charisma—"swag" is what we call it today.
THE TEMPTATIONS, "MY GIRL"
This song depicts a lady—not a woman. A lady is someone to be respected and cherished. And the Temptations brought it in style to be slick and smooth.
NAT KING COLE, "UNFORGETTABLE"
Part of being a gentleman is to keep your cool at all times, and that's what Nat King Cole did. There's a very romantic feel to this song.
JODECI, "FOREVER MY LADY"
Jodeci had their pants hanging down and that whole bad-boy image, but they also knew how to flip it to the other side and turn on the charm.
R. KELLY, "STEP IN THE NAME OF LOVE" AND "HAPPY PEOPLE"
These are songs that you can dance to with your suit on and look nice. You don't wanna sweat it out! You can do a little two-step.
ROBIN THICKE, "LOST WITHOUT U"
It's a heartfelt song. That's how every man wants his lady to feel about him—that there's nobody else on the planet for her.
• Back from retirement, Turner, 68, is releasing a new hits disc, Tina!
, and rehearsing for a tour starting Oct. 1 in Kansas City, Mo.
ON WHAT SHE'S BEEN UP TO
I spent seven years out of the spotlight [living in Switzerland] and I must say I loved every minute. Getting up at no specific time, spending time with friends, reading. No two days were the same. Some days I would just spend window-shopping and exploring.
ON HER COMEBACK
I've done several private shows, so I was never fully out of a job. But then last year I saw my friend Sophia Loren, who told me my rest was over and to get back to work. Then Beyoncé asked me to join her onstage at the Grammys.
ON HOW SHE KEEPS IN SHAPE
I have no secret—I have good genes. But I get a lot of sleep and eat healthy. I was never into drugs or smoking. I have an occasional glass of wine or champagne, but that's about it. I swim and hike. For the tour, I've been dancing 10 hours a day. Things are getting smaller and tighter!
ON TODAY'S POP STARS
Of course Beyoncé
is a true talent. I like Rihanna
. She's got great personal style. For the guys, I'm a Justin [Timberlake] fan.