Jason Derülo

Jason Derülo |

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R&B-POP

With Chris Brown still trying to resurrect his career (witness his latest's flop), the time seems right for a new R&B-pop heartthrob. Enter 20-year-old Jason Derülo, who scored a No. 1 hit last fall with "Whatcha Say," a space-funk jam that, for all its overzealous Auto-Tuning, proved ridiculously catchy. The song, like all of Derülo's debut, was produced by J.R. Rotem, a hitmaker who has also worked with Rihanna, Sean Kingston and Leona Lewis. But while the disc delivers on other radio-ready confections—such as second single "In My Head," another Top 10 hit—it comes up short taken as a whole in just 32 minutes.

Little Boots

Hands |

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DANCE-POP

The latest dance-pop diva to follow in Lady Gaga's platform-heeled footsteps is Little Boots. On her debut album, which came out in her native Britain last June, the singer (real name: Victoria Hesketh) keeps the party pumping with electro-pop grooves that shake and shimmer. The disc includes the U.K. hits "New in Town" and "Remedy," two synth-driven standouts that suggest a giddier Gaga. But on tracks like the pulsating, Euro-disco "Stuck on Repeat," Little Boots and her airy vocals can also bring to mind the second coming of Kylie Minogue.

Peter Gabriel

Scratch My Back |

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ART-POP

It should come as no surprise that Peter Gabriel would not take the standard approach to a covers album. On Scratch My Back, the ever-arty adventurer does dramatic orchestral reimaginings of tunes by everyone from Paul Simon and Arcade Fire to Neil Young and Radiohead. Creating a haunting mood throughout, he pulls off the neat trick of making them all sound like Peter Gabriel songs. Highlights include his slowdown of David Bowie's "Heroes," which he transforms into symphonic splendor.

Lifehouse

Smoke & Mirrors |

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POP-ROCK

Lifehouse may not have the cool quotient of some other bands, but they're still making hits 10 years after their double-platinum debut, No Name Face. Case in point: "Halfway Gone," the first single from the quartet's fifth CD, which is already a radio fave. Sure to follow is "Had Enough," cowritten and featuring guest vocals by Chris Daughtry. There are no illusions of hipness on this or the rest of Smoke & Mirrors. It's just solid pop-rock that delivers on hooks if not fresh style.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "It Is What It Is," a resigned breakup ballad

FOR DOWNLOAD PICKS INFO, GO TO PEOPLE.COM/DOWNLOADTHIS

>TEAM USA SOUNDTRACK

• AT&T gets into the Olympic spirit with these iTunes-exclusive tracks by world-class acts like Sugarland, Gloriana and Mariah Carey (right). Proceeds through March 1 benefit Team USA.

>RAHEEM DEVAUGHN

The Love & War MasterPeace

Taking cues from Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, among others, the neo-soul singer tackles matters of the heart—and of society—with equal passion.

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SARAH BUXTON

Sarah Buxton

Cowriter of Keith Urban's hit "Stupid Boy," Buxton shows more tunesmith talent on her country debut with songs like the ballad "Space."

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BUTCH WALKER

I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart

With the Black Widows, Walker shows the pop-rock chops he's used as a producer-writer for Pink, Katy and Avril.

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JOSH THOMPSON

Way Out Here

Whether he's getting the beer flowing or taking a hard look at his sins, this new country boy comes across as a real down-home dude.

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>THE OSCAR SONGS

The JoBro, who has a new solo CD Who I Am, and the rapper, whose Battle of the Sexes arrives March 9, give us their spin on the five songs nominated for an Academy Award.

"ALMOST THERE" (THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG)

NICK SAYS

Wonderful. I thought it was something that maybe Ella Fitzgerald would have performed.

LUDA SAYS

I took my daughter to see the movie. It's [better] when you can put the visual to the song.

"DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS" (THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG)

NICK SAYS

It's got that classic New Orleans sound. Very cool.

LUDA SAYS

You feel the essence of New Orleans. It's a party town!

"LOIN DE PANAME" (PARIS 36)

NICK SAYS

I really enjoyed it. I wish I could understand the words, but I'm sure they're lovely.

LUDA SAYS

I did not want to listen to it. But if I was in France, it might be a totally different story.

"TAKE IT ALL" (NINE?)

NICK SAYS

I was impressed with Marion Cotillard's performance.

LUDA SAYS

I didn't want to be taken to Broadway today.

"THE WEARY KIND (THEME FROM CRAZY HEART)"

NICK'S WINNER

My favorite of the five. I'm a big country man. And it's really honest and heartfelt.

LUDA'S WINNER

I love the words, melody and arrangement. It's a great song, period.

>NORAH JONES makes sweet harmony with Sasha Dobson on a cover of Johnny Cash's "Bull Rider." $1.29 at iTunes.com.

ERYKAH BADU takes you on a jazzy journey on "Window Seat," from New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh, out March 30. $1.29 at rhapsody.com.

>TEAM USA SOUNDTRACK

• AT&T gets into the Olympic spirit with these iTunes-exclusive tracks by world-class acts like Sugarland, Gloriana and Mariah Carey (right). Proceeds through March 1 benefit Team USA.

>RAHEEM DEVAUGHN

The Love & War MasterPeace

Taking cues from Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, among others, the neo-soul singer tackles matters of the heart—and of society—with equal passion. [

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]

SARAH BUXTON

Sarah Buxton

Cowriter of Keith Urban's hit "Stupid Boy," Buxton shows more tunesmith talent on her country debut with songs like the ballad "Space." [

bgwhite bgwhite   

]

BUTCH WALKER

I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart

With the Black Widows, Walker shows the pop-rock chops he's used as a producer-writer for Pink, Katy and Avril. [

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  

]

JOSH THOMPSON

Way Out Here

Whether he's getting the beer flowing or taking a hard look at his sins, this new country boy comes across as a real down-home dude. [

bgwhite bgwhite   

]

>THE OSCAR SONGS

The JoBro, who has a new solo CD Who I Am, and the rapper, whose Battle of the Sexes arrives March 9, give us their spin on the five songs nominated for an Academy Award.

"ALMOST THERE" (THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG)

NICK SAYS

Wonderful. I thought it was something that maybe Ella Fitzgerald would have performed.

LUDA SAYS

I took my daughter to see the movie. It's [better] when you can put the visual to the song.

"DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS" (THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG)

NICK SAYS

It's got that classic New Orleans sound. Very cool.

LUDA SAYS

You feel the essence of New Orleans. It's a party town!

"LOIN DE PANAME" (PARIS 36)

NICK SAYS

I really enjoyed it. I wish I could understand the words, but I'm sure they're lovely.

LUDA SAYS

I did not want to listen to it. But if I was in France, it might be a totally different story.

"TAKE IT ALL" (NINE?)

NICK SAYS

I was impressed with Marion Cotillard's performance.

LUDA SAYS

I didn't want to be taken to Broadway today.

"THE WEARY KIND (THEME FROM CRAZY HEART)"

NICK'S WINNER

My favorite of the five. I'm a big country man. And it's really honest and heartfelt.

LUDA'S WINNER

I love the words, melody and arrangement. It's a great song, period.

>NORAH JONES makes sweet harmony with Sasha Dobson on a cover of Johnny Cash's "Bull Rider." $1.29 at iTunes.com.

ERYKAH BADU takes you on a jazzy journey on "Window Seat," from New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh, out March 30. $1.29 at rhapsody.com.