Since beginning his post-Police solo career 25 years ago, Sting has flirted with classical music. His passion for it intensified with his last two studio releases, 2006's Songs from the Labyrinth and 2009's If on a Winter's Night ... Now Symphonicities (a play on the title of the Police's classic 1983 album Synchronicity) reimagines his old songs with symphonic arrangements, some featuring the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. The album includes both Police and solo material, from faves ("Roxanne") to the less familiar ("I Hung My Head"). Some of the tunes, such as "Englishman in New York," lend themselves more naturally to the classical treatment than others ("Next to You"). But it's all executed with such sterling craftsmanship.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," an enchanted spin
Throughout his career Enrique Iglesias has made both Spanish and English albums. On his latest he plays it both ways with six tracks in Spanish and four in English. This gives Euphoria a somewhat disjointed feel, because the styles vary along with the languages. The guest list is diverse too, ranging from Akon, Usher and Nicole Scherzinger to Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra and Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel. At most, there's enough to give you a pleasant buzz.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "I Like It," a party jam featuring Pitbull
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Kelis was always a little left of center as an R&B-pop diva. Even her biggest hit, 2003's "Milkshake," was freaky enough to suggest she was following her own drummer. On her fifth album, though, Kelis is the latest to hop on the electro-dance bandwagon. And while her personality can get somewhat lost in the mix, the beats keep things grooving along. Best is the pumping No. 1 club hit "Acapella," one of two tracks produced by French deejay David Guetta, who also worked with the Black Eyed Peas on "I Gotta Feeling." Almost as hot? "Emancipate," which will indeed liberate your body on the dance floor.
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
It's been four years since the last OutKast album, Idlewild, but at least Big Boi is back with his first stand-alone solo album. And while it can't match his Speakerboxxx half of 2003's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, it's another fun adventure on the outre side of hip-hop.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Shutterbugg," the funktastic first single featuring Cutty
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After lying low following his VMA drama with Taylor Swift, West has reemerged with a rocking single, "Power" (from his upcoming sixth album), which he performed at the recent BET Awards.
TOM PETTY AND THE HEART-BREAKERS
Few bands have sounded happier about getting the blues than these old-timers, reunited for their first CD together since 2002. Best is "First Flash of Freedom."
Thank Me Later
Even surrounded by A-list guests like Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, T.I. and Lil Wayne, the Canadian rapper-singer is always the real star of his debut album.
On the chart-topping follow-up to last year's Relapse, Em still boasts a wicked way with a lyric, slaying the competition on tracks like the rock-edged "Won't Back Down" featuring Pink.
Up on the Ridge
Alison Krauss, the Punch Brothers and Del McCoury (plus sons Ronnie and Rob) lend bluegrass bona fides to this acoustic love-in.
Check out these summer releases-perfect for road trips or living-room dance parties.
RECESS MONKEY, THE FINAL FUNKTIER
The clever trio (above) kick it space-age style on a boppy set with songs like "Ukulalien" and "Beat-Box-a-Robot" that future astronauts will find irresistibly fun.
THE DREAM JAM BAND, LEAVE IT IN THE SOUP
These four music teachers mix classical ("I Can't Tie My Shoes"), surf-rock ("Bad Hair Day") and flat-out silliness ("Boing"). Best for preschoolers.
AARON NIGEL SMITH, EVERYONE LOVES TO DANCE!
Mellow tunes with just enough groove for little ones. Singalongs like "Muffin Man" and "This Little Piggy" ("This little piggy had tofu") have an islandy vibe.
PUTUMAYO KIDS PRESENTS: ROCK & ROLL PLAYGROUND
Putumayo's latest boasts songs from faves Dan Zanes, Brady Rymer and Bill Harley. Grandparents will get a nostalgic kick from "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Willie and the Hand Jive."
Dick Van Dyke raps! The 84-year-old joins Leslie Bixler and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) for an eclectic collection. Julia Roberts
is a fan.
THE BEST OF THE LAURIE BERKNER BAND
Finally! The kids' music guru's first hits disc includes "Victor Vito" and "BOOTS."
On the solid self-titled EP from her band the Pretty Reckless, Gossip Girl's Taylor Momsen, 16, rocks out credibly. She's got the bratty punk pout down on tracks like "Make Me Wanna Die."