Lucky Old Sun
He once seemed to be all about having no shoes, no shirt and no problems, but Kenny Chesney
shows there's a little more going on under his cowboy hat on Lucky Old Sun
, his reflective new CD. "There's the spirit of a storm in my soul/ A restlessness that I can't seem to tame," he sings on this disc's highlight, the gentle "Spirit of a Storm."
Elsewhere he finds peace in the calm introspection of "I'm Alive," a duet with Dave Matthews. On songs like these, Chesney, channeling Dan Fogelberg, creates a singer-songwriter intimacy rather than playing to the stadium rafters. Still, there are crowd-pleasing moments, such as "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven," the calypso-infused first single, and "Ten with a Two," a humorous look at what happens with beer goggles.
Disney's High School Musical
franchise may make the jump to the big screen in its third installment, but the tunes fail to step up to the big time. There's nothing on this soundtrack that tweens will remember by the time they hit 12th grade—unlike their parents and, say, pretty much anything from Grease
. It doesn't help that the cast members are strictly junior-league as singers. Still, anyone who liked the first two soundtracks will probably like this one too.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "The Boys Are Back," a Backstreet-esque jam
Call Me Crazy
After winning Album of the Year at the CMAs for 2005's There's More Where That Came From
, Lee Ann Womack comes up with more good stuff on this follow-up. Take the wistful first single, "Last Call," on which she has a bum's number: "I bet you're in a bar/ 'Cause I'm always your last call." Other highlights include the bittersweet "Either Way," but best is "Everything but Quits," a traditional duet with George Strait about old-fashioned stick-togetherness.
Break Up the Concrete
The first Pretenders album in six years features an entirely new lineup. Except for frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, that is. The founding member of the group remains its life force, writing all but one song while keeping this from sounding like a solo project. While there's nothing here that will make you forget "Back on the Chain Gang" or "I'll Stand by You," Concrete, mixing in rockabilly, country and blues, is a rock-solid effort.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Break Up the Concrete," a Bo Diddley-style groove
For more information on where to find our Download This picks, go to people.com/downloadthis
• With previously unreleased tracks, alternate takes, live cuts and other rarities, this two-CD set in his Bootleg Series is a Dylan-lover's dream. Also comes in a Bobbylicious three-disc edition.
RISE AGAINST Appeal to Reason
With politics on everyone's mind, these socially conscious punk-rockers couldn't have picked a better time to get back to action. They're most appealing on "The Dirt Whispered," with its vibrant shades of Green Day.
MARY MARY The Sound
Their praiseworthy new CD finds this sisterly duo continuing to expand the sonic horizons of contemporary gospel with songs like "Get Up," the "Off the Wall"-inspired first single, which has cracked both the R&B and dance charts.
BEN FOLDS Way to Normal
Folds still tries his darndest not to be normal with the quirky piano pop on his latest solo outing, whether it's the perky "The Frown Song" or "You Don't Know Me," his whimsical duet with kindred spirit Regina Spektor.
RACHAEL YAMAGATA Elephants ...Teeth Sinking into Heart
This smoky-voiced singer delivers an ambitious double disc. Elephants
is all moody atmospherics—Norah Jones meets Damien Rice—while Teeth, which feels like a bonus CD, has more rock bite.
THE KILLERS will slay you with the danceable, Depeche Mode-like "Human," the first single from the band's fourth album, Day & Age
, which hits stores Nov. 25. At buymusic.com.
CIARA crunks it up with the ubiquitous T-Pain on "Go Girl," a female-empowerment anthem that previews her third disc, Fantasy Ride
, due Dec. 9. At iTunes.com.
THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS deliver the male answer to "You Oughta Know" on "Give You Hell," from the punk-pop quartet's third CD, When the World Comes Down
, out Dec. 16. At rhapsody.com.
JACK WHITE & ALICIA KEYS
make a rock-and-soul superduo on "Another Way to Die," the theme song from the upcoming James Bond film Quantum of Solace
. At amazon.com.
The "Lady Marmalade" ladies—(from left) Nona Hendryx, 64, Patti LaBelle, 64, and Sarah Dash, 63—have reunited for their first album since 1976, Back to Now
. Still daring dressers, they reflect on a career in costumes.
2008 "It's like we never left," says LaBelle. "And we still fight like sisters." Plus, says Dash, "deep inside we're still the same wild women!"
1974 "Girl, my cleavage is showing!" says Dash, who calls this their "space children" look. Adds Hendryx: "I thought nothing of walking down the street in a martian-type outfit during the daytime."
1962 "That was when we were Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles," says Dash. Adds Hendryx: "It was about dressing alike, like bridesmaids." As for the dos, LaBelle says, "that was my own hair!"
1970 "At the time, you could never go wrong with feathers," says LaBelle. Despite her "Josephine Baker thing," Hendryx says, "I was actually quite allergic to them. Anything for fashion!"