Man on the Moon: The End of Day |
Signed to Kanye West
's G.O.O.D. label, Kid Cudi makes one of the most ambitious hip-hop debuts since the Louis Vuitton Don's own The College Dropout. Exploring the galaxy inside the singer-rapper's mind through his dreams and nightmares, over atmospheric electronica soundscapes, Man on the Moon one-ups West's 808s & Heartbreak. Cudi worked on that CD, and West returns the favor, producing the haunting "Sky Might Fall" and the "Poker Face"-sampling "Make Her Say," which features West and Common (who also narrates). This Kid is clearly ready to hang with the big boys.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Day N Nite," the hypnotic hit first single
Mi Plan |
REVIEWED BY JESSICA HERNDON
After shaking things up with Timbaland on 2006's funky hit Loose, Nelly Furtado switches gears again with her first Spanish-language album. On Mi Plan, though, the results are less successful and more generic than what one would expect from her. The production lacks invention, especially compared with Tim's adventurous beats on Loose. But the singer, who is of Portuguese descent, delivers on collaborations with Latin artists Alejandro Fernández, Juan Luis Guerra and Alex Cuba (on the salsa-fied title track).
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Not Enough Time," a synth-heavy meditation
Breathing Underwater |
REVIEWED BY IVORY JEFF CLINTON
On her second CD, Marié Digby continues to make good on the YouTube buzz from her acoustic cover of Rihanna
's "Umbrella." The singer-songwriter scores with breezy midtempos like the blissful title tune. Best, though, is "Overboard," an Evanescence-esque rocker.
After Robots |
Fans of TV on the Radio's art rock will dig the edgy, psychedelic Afro-beat of BLK JKS (pronounced "black jacks"). These South African natives perform in both English and Zulu, while fusing kwaito—a disco-R&B style out of Johannesburg—with rock. Charming guitar strumming and layered chanting ignite the opener "Molalatladi," but it's the stimulating lyrics that distinguish "Banna Ba Modimo," the forward-thinking highlight.
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>• Talk about a magical mystery tour: The entire original Beatles catalog has been remastered. The stereo albums, including 1965's classic Rubber Soul (right), are available individually as well as in a box set, while the mono albums come boxed only.
>ARCTIC MONKEYS Humbug On their moody latest, the Brits venture into the dark unknown, with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme producing. The top track? "Cornerstone," a Morrissey-like ballad.
DAVID GUETTA One-Love This French deejay, who coproduced the Black Eyed Peas' smash "I Gotta Feeling," hosts will.i.am., Akon and Kelly Rowland on a party-rocking album.
LEDISI Turn Me Loose Proving that her Best New Artist Grammy nomination was no fluke, this soul diva belts with rousing abandon on cuts like the Tina-esque "Knockin'."
BRENDAN BENSON My Old, Familiar Friend Making a solo detour from the Raconteurs, Benson displays some killer power-pop instincts. Take that, Jack White.
>• Whether on trumpet, piano or vibraphone, these four cats will have you grooving to all that jazz.
TERENCE BLANCHARD, CHOICES After his 2007 remembrance of the Katrina tragedy, the veteran trumpeter leads his quintet through an uneasy mix of philosophy—with spoken-word performances by Dr. Cornel West—and dark, richly textured music. The moodiness is lightened by guest singer Bilal, guitarist Lionel Loueke and Blanchard's searing solos.
STEFON HARRIS AND BLACKOUT, URBANUS Known for his expressive touch on the vibraphone, Harris likes to bring the funk. This inventive disc, with his quintet Blackout, delivers in-your-face grooves like "Gone," where Gershwin meets go-go, and a riff on Stevie Wonder's "They Won't Go When I Go."
ROY HARGROVE BIG BAND, EMERGENCE Hargrove's 19-piece big band has power to spare—and a stylistic versatility that's startling. Its sections blister and swing, soulfully framing Hargrove's horn. Basie, Duke and Dizzy must be smiling somewhere.
ROBERT GLASPER, DOUBLE BOOKED If this disc were vinyl, side 1 would feature the pianist's acoustic trio and side 2 would showcase his hip-hop jazz fusion band Experiment. The upshot: a captivating old-meets-new-school summit.
>• The brassy Brit, 21, joins Kelly Clarkson
, Miley Cyrus
and Leona Lewis for the VH1 Divas concert airing Sept. 17.
CHER, "BELIEVE" I get embarrassed thinking about how much I love this song. The song is a little cheesy, but it always puts me in a good mood.
WHITNEY HOUSTON, "I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU" It's one of my favorite songs. Some songs I don't remember never knowing, and this song is one of them. I can't wait for Whitney's comeback.
, "MY ALL" She is one of the ultimate queens of ballads. The song is so heart-wrenching but one that will get you through tough times.
DESTINY'S CHILD, "SAY MY NAME" I've been listening to them since I was 11. They are, like, the ultimate women. Whenever I was going through a breakup I'd play this song. It's so empowering.
JILL SCOTT, "A LONG WALK" She is my favorite live singer. Her voice makes this song come across like pure poetry. I play this when I want to let loose in my living room and sing and relax.