Her father, James DeBarge, was in the '80s sibling group DeBarge, but there's nothing about this 19-year-old that will remind you of those matching mullets. Instead, Kristinia DeBarge's winning debut, fresh and seemingly sun-kissed, makes her this summer's answer to Rihanna
. The two share a similar vocal timbre and the same pop charms. First single "Goodbye," an undeniable dance-pop confection, recalls Rihanna
's "SOS," reworking Steam's 1969 hit "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" much like "SOS" did "Tainted Love." Meanwhile, another Babyface-produced track, "It's Gotta Be Love," slyly borrows from LL Cool J's "I Need Love."
Guilty Pleasure |
On her second album, Ashley Tisdale makes like Ashlee Simpson
with punchy pop rock that results in frothy fun. By not taking herself too seriously, the High School Musical actress, though still only a passable singer, graduates to a new level of respectability. The CD kicks off with the bratty "Acting Out," a rebel yell for any good girl who longs to be bad. When Tisdale, who cowrote this and three other tunes, sings, "I'm gonna break these chains, I'm taking control now," she might be referring to the shackles Disney has had on her. Now 24, Tisdale admits to grown-up desires on the naughty highlight "Hot Mess": "You wake up in your bra and your makeup." But singing about a guy who messes up her tresses in the sack on "Hair," she still has bouncy tween appeal.
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>• The Definitive Collection (right), a retrospective released last fall, will once again have you feeling all this love for DeBarge, with hits like "Time Will Reveal" and "Rhythm of the Night."
>HANNAH MONTANA 3 Original Soundtrack In less than a year, Miley Cyrus
has released a solo CD, a movie soundtrack and now this companion to her TV show. While solid, it gets docked a half star for recycling two cuts from its film counterpart.
JOE Signature With younger soul men like Ne-Yo and John Legend having long passed him by, Joe could be forgiven for coasting. But the vet delivers a surprisingly strong CD heavy on slow jams that prove he's still got some smooth moves left.
MATTHEW SWEET AND SUSANNA HOFFS Under the Covers Vol. 2 After remaking '60s nuggets on 2006's Vol. 1, the power popster and the Bangle do the '70s. Pleasant enough, but a few more true duets might have been more interesting.
HANK WILLIAMS JR. 127 Rose Avenue Williams' latest was ironically released the same day as daughter Holly's far superior country disc Here with Me. But tunes like "High Maintenance Woman" show that Dad is still hanging in there.]
>COLBIE CAILLAT avoids the sophomore slump with "Fallin' for You," a breezy country-rocker that previews Breakthrough, the follow-up to her platinum 2007 debut Coco, due Aug. 25. $0.99 at amazon.com.
DAVID GUETTA teams up with Kelly Rowland on "When Love Takes Over," a techno-pop jam from the French deejay's CD One Love, out Aug. 25. $0.99 at rhapsody.com.
ARCTIC MONKEYS explore their dark side on "Crying Lightning," the creepy first single from Humbug, due Aug. 25. $0.99 at itunes.com.
>• After eight years—and one drastic haircut—the neo-soul star, 36, is back with a No. 1 album, BLACKsummers'night.
ON HIS RECORDING HIATUS I didn't plan it—it just ended up being eight years! I read books; I traveled. I loved not being in the limelight. I just made music from a place of pure joy, no expectations.
ON SHEDDING HIS AFRO I cut it in 2005. I just got tired of it. It looked played out. A lot of people didn't even recognize me [after].
ON HIS REP FOR "BABY-MAKING" MUSIC It's an honor people would connect you to such an intimate experience. But I never thought I would grow up to be the guy people would put on to get their groove on!
ON WHOSE COMEBACK HE'S WAITING FOR I'm anxious to hear what D'Angelo is gonna do. And I've been waiting for Sade's record as long as mine!