American Saturday Night |

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Brad Paisley comes into his new album on a real roll, having won the last two CMA Awards and the last three ACM Awards for top male vocalist. American Saturday Night—the proper follow-up to 2007's platinum 5th Gear, after last fall's mostly instrumental Play—keeps the hot streak going. The country star is in a sweetly nostalgic mood for much of this disc, whether he's reminiscing on a love that keeps getting stronger ("Then"), remembering a grandfather's words of wisdom ("No"), or envisioning his young self in his son ("Anything Like Me"). Best is "Welcome to the Future," on which Paisley sings about "so many things I never thought I'd see happening right in front of me."

Back and Fourth |

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With his 2001 debut, musicforthemorningafter, Pete Yorn seemed poised to be the next big male singer-songwriter until John Mayer came along and racked up hits, Grammys and Hollywood honeys. Yorn himself has been linked with Winona Ryder and Minnie Driver, and he's got a duets album with Scarlett Johansson due later this year. First, though, comes Back and Fourth, his fourth studio effort, which delivers more perfect music for the morning after. Recorded in Omaha, Neb., with producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes), this tight, 10-song set has a rootsy vibe on Ryan Adams-esque tracks like "Don't Wanna Cry," the standout single. Meanwhile, "Last Summer," a Cali-kissed soft-rocker, provides just the right breeze for the season.

Let the Truth
Be Told |

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It's hard to imagine there being a more soulful woman in Ireland than Laura Izibor. On her impressive debut, this Dublin-based singer-pianist, who is also of Nigerian descent, displays a husky, hearty delivery that is rooted more in the American gospel and blues traditions. Her neo-ish style of R&B brings to mind such singer-songwriters as India.Arie, Corinne Bailey Rae and Alicia Keys with tunes like "Shine" that glow from within.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "From My Heart to Yours," an ardent pledge

A Man's Thoughts |

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Long before Justin Timberlake, Ginuwine was bringing sexy back with Timbaland on songs like his 1996 hit "Pony." He reunites with the producer—and another early collaborator, Missy Elliott—on the percolating "Get Involved," which gives a jolt to this otherwise slow-to-midtempo affair. While keeping it smooth, a more mature Ginuwine sometimes forgets to have fun.

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>• Fresh off his own children's album, Family Time, released last month, Ziggy Marley gives a kiddie makeover to some of his dad's classics, such as "Redemption Song" and "Jamming."

>MOS DEF The Ecstatic Mos Def may have been better known as an actor in recent years, but his fourth solo album reminds us of what a dope rapper he is. It's a jazzy, intricate collage of textures and thoughts that plays like one seamless deejay mix.

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MICHAEL JOHNS Hold Back My Heart America, you got it wrong: Johns's debut proves he should have finished a lot higher than eighth on American Idol in 2008. Surprisingly soulful, with more bluesy grit than Taylor Hicks could dream of.

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ZEE AVI Zee Avi After being discovered on YouTube by one of the Raconteurs, this Malaysian singer-songwriter was signed to Jack Johnson's label, a good home for her airy folk-pop. At times, though, this debut floats by a little too easily.

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TAKING BACK SUNDAY New Again They ought to take back the title, because there's really nothing new about the fourth album from this quintet. Even so, it's a serviceable set of rockers such as the punk-spiked single "Sink Into Me."

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>• They're rocking a No. 1 hit, "Boom Boom Pow," off The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies). Here's how they'd get the party started.

APL.DE.AP (left)

A Tribe Called Quest, "Check the Rhime" Back in the day, when that song came on all the b-boys would make space to bust their moves.

Kid Cudi, "Day 'N' Nite" I like the new style of rapping and singing at the same time. And the bass line in the middle just gets me hyped.


Treasure Fingers, "Cross the Dancefloor" I deejay now, and right now this is my favorite song to play. It's a rare underground song.

Jungle Brothers, "I'll House You" Hip-hop fused with dance music. That's the era we're paying homage to on our new record.


Black Sheep, "The Choice Is Yours" This brings back memories of going to clubs with my friends and all of us reciting the words to the song.

Daft Punk, "Around the World" Something about that song makes me tingle. It gets me and all my girls waving our hands on the dance floor.


Michael Jackson, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" Reminds me of dancing to it at my mom's house as a kid, trying to move like Michael.

LMFAO, "I'm in Miami Bitch" They are close friends of ours and have performed with us. No matter where you are, it fits.