The Jonas Brothers may still be good Disney boys, with a new series on the Mickey Mouse channel, but even they aren't going to take a Taylor Swift dis lying down. "I get a rep for breakin' hearts/ Now I'm done with superstars/ And all the tears on her guitar," sings Joe Jonas on "Much Better," a not-so-subtle dig at his country-star ex. It's the dishiest—and dreamiest—moment on the trio's fourth studio album. Despite a fresh infusion of horns, though, the new disc lacks the punch of last year's A Little Bit Longer. And the JoBros' other attempts at brandishing a little edge produce mixed results: The snarling attack of "World War III" works, but "Don't Charge Me for the Crime"—a cringe-worthy collaboration with rapper Common—doesn't.
Here with Me |
Her grandfather is Hank Williams and her dad is Hank Williams Jr. It's a legacy Holly Williams does mighty proud on one of the year's best country albums. She addresses her family on "Mama," about how her mother didn't let marital problems come between father and daughter. Elsewhere, she delivers a killer kiss-off on the rock-tinged "Keep the Change": "I've paid my dues, honey/ You can keep the change."
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Three Days in Bed," a spare, aching ballad
Bible Belt |
Move over, Amy, Adele and Duffy: The British blue-eyed-soul brigade gets some serious competition from this Yankee on her debut. Like her Brit counterparts, the singer-pianist has a retro vibe. She harks back to the '70s on the Laura Nyro-esque highlight "Nothing But a Miracle" and the '60s on "Choo Choo," where the bluesy-voiced Birch gives Bible Belt some of that old gospel spirit.
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>With HBO's vampire drama returning June 14, sink your teeth into this rootsy set, including two haunting covers: Cobra Verde's "Play with Fire" and the Watson Twins' "Just Like Heaven."
>RHETT MILLER Rhett Miller There's an unassuming appeal to the fourth solo effort from the Old 97's frontman, who keeps pop-rock charmers like "Caroline" short and simple. But there's no shortage of catchiness and even a little cheekiness.
KASABIAN West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum Like its title, the third album from these Brit alt-rockers meanders a bit. Still, there are some standouts—such as the anthemic "Where Did All the Love Go?"—along this psychedelic-tinged trip.
TEENA MARIE Congo Square Thirty years after her first album, Lady T is still proving that soul knows no color. Her latest is a sultry, sophisticated mix of R&B, funk and jazz. Best is "Can't Last a Day," her lush duet with Faith Evans.
MITCHEL MUSSO Mitchel Musso Respectable but unremarkable, the debut from this Hannah Montana actor may give one new appreciation for Miley Cyrus
's musical chops. Even so, there is enough here to keep his tween fans happy.
>• The guitarist—whose band is up for two CMT Music Awards June 16 —dishes on working with country stars and shedding rock-star habits.
ON GOING COUNTRY [Working with?] Taylor Swift was cool. She was influenced by Shania Twain, [whose ex] Mutt Lange produced Def Leppard's songs. And I know she's more bluegrass, but I'd like Alison Krauss to [do our music].
ON CLEAN LIVING I haven't had a drink in 22 years, and I've been a vegetarian for 25. I can box for 12 rounds. I couldn't do that at age 20.
ON HIS TOUR DIET It's tough when I want Doritos and it's no carbs after 5. So I eat tofu and raw chard. But chocolate is my downfall.
ON HIS BODY THEN VS. NOW Mixed martial arts changed me. I was skinny and geeky. Now I'm ripped. I can still fit in my old clothes, but my chest pops the buttons!
ON TOURING THIS SUMMER I'm stoked: We became uncool in the '90s, but now people are going nuts and swooning again.
Lines, Vines and Trying Times |