Baby, baby, where did the years go? That must be what Berry Gordy, who founded Motown Records on Jan. 12, 1959, is saying to himself right about now. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of his groundbreaking label is this 10-CD, 202-track box set that comes housed in a replica of the original Hitsville U.S.A. headquarters. Sure, the packaging is sweet, but it's the music that still really has a hold on you after all this time.
There is a loose interpretation of what constitutes a real No. 1: It can be from any chart (like T.G. Sheppard's 1974 country hit "Devil in the Bottle") and from any nation. But it hardly matters with the gem upon gem from the golden age of the '60s and '70s. The early '80s hold up well too—thanks to Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Rick James and, yes, Lionel Richie—while the '90s at least had Boyz II Men.
Call and Response: The Remix Album
REVIEWED BY JESSICA HERNDON
Maroon 5's hits have veered toward the midtempo range, but with a groove squad including Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson, Swizz Beatz and the Roots' Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, this remix album shakes things up nicely. A fresh infusion of funk, house and retro hip-hop comes along with guest vocalists Rihanna
("If I Never See Your Face Again") and Mary J. Blige ("Wake Up Call"). "This Love" gets two makeovers, and the best one—a disco-tinged take by Cut Copy—provides the highlight.
REVIEWED BY IVORY JEFF CLINTON
On his first album since 1999, the Overweight Lover gets into a reggae vibe, paying homage to his Jamaican roots. The results—which find him moving from rapping to singing—will put you in a tropical state of mind, even in the dead of winter.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Sincere," a hypnotic, rock-edged love letter
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• Hear why he's Motown's greatest artist—and Barack Obama's "musical hero."
Featuring some sublime love ballads ("You and I"), this also finds him getting righteously funky ("Superstition") and political ("Big Brother").
From utopian dreams ("Visions") and romantic fantasies ("Golden Lady") to gritty urban depictions ("Living for the City"), Wonder displays real imagination and insight.
SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE
His magnum opus, this double disc showcases the breadth of Wonder's genius. It was his third in a row to win the Album of the Year Grammy—and rightly so.
HOTTER THAN JULY
The last of his truly masterful albums, it includes "Happy Birthday," the rousing anthem of Wonder's crusade to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday.
• Frontman Brandon Flowers (third from left), 27, chatted before a tour starting Jan. 17 for the new CD Day & Age
ON NOT LEAVING LAS VEGAS
I love the desert that spawned me. It's holy to me. I am sentimental about the places, from where I learned to ride a bike to where I had my first hamburger. It's exciting to think of taking my son [Ammon, 1] there.
ON HIS FLAMBOYANT STYLE
It's brave. Having four sisters and growing up idolizing people like David Bowie and Morrissey probably didn't hurt. But I don't know if my wife loves it when the pants are too tight!
ON HIS FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH GUYLINER
I saw the Cure when I was 13 or 14. This girl took me into a bathroom and put eyeliner and mascara on me. I felt like one of them. It was exciting!