Hands All Over |
The most surprising moment on the new Maroon 5 album comes on the very last track, when the quintet veer into country territory with Lady Antebellum on "Out of Goodbyes." It's an aching breakup ballad, on which Adam Levine and Hillary Scott make bittersweet harmony. Consider it "Need You No More." The rest of Hands All Over, though, bears Maroon 5's usual pop-soul imprint. But hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. While not as strong as 2002's Songs About Jane or 2007's It Won't Be Soon Before Long, this is a consistently rewarding collection, from the funky-strutting single "Misery" to the tender heart-tugger "Just a Feeling." And with uber-producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange at the helm, the sound is crisp and bright, making Maroon 5 come off something more like Magenta 5.
Enjoy Yourself |
On his fun but frivolous latest, Billy Currington extols the simple pleasures in life, whether it be fishing ("Bad Day of Fishin'") or a cold Bud Light (the No. 1 country hit "Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer"). On "Like My Dog," he even longs for a woman to give him the kind of uncomplicated love he gets from his pooch. If you're looking for anything deep, move on.
The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers gets to spread his wings on Flamingo, his cap-feathering solo debut. Stripped of some-but wisely not all-of his Killers flamboyance, Flowers displays greater subtlety here. You can hear it in the nuanced textures, moody atmospherics and toned-down arrangements of songs like "Playing with Fire," a slow-burning standout on which he reveals a soulful falsetto. Elsewhere Jenny Lewis helps him get in touch with his softer side on "Hard Enough." But arena-ready anthems like the Sam's Town-esque "Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts," which indulges Flowers' flair for the dramatic, leave no doubt that the Killer in him is still there.
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With the eligibility deadline for the Grammys on Sept. 30, a bunch of hopefuls-Kenny Chesney, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Seal (right)-are getting in under the wire with albums out Sept. 28.
The Guitar Song
It doesn't get more ambitious in country music than this 25-song double album. But with blues-hued gems like "Mental Revenge," the Black Album beats the White Album.
Passion, Pain & Pleasure
The fourth album from this R&B stud comes barely a year after the hit-packed Ready and lacks the same heat. Best is "Unusual," another jam with Drake.
There's nothing on Paula Cole's latest that will make you forget "I Don't Want to Wait," her 1997 hit. Still, songs like "Waiting on a Miracle" make for good chick pop.
JOEY + RORY
Album Number Two
As the dull title suggests, there's nothing ingenious about the second set from this husband-wife country duo. Even so, it delivers some modest charms.
The reality star, 22, whose MTV show is moving toward its season finale Oct. 21, tells us what she's rocking.
, "COLD CASE LOVE"
It's a good breakup song. When I break up with someone, I make a CD of all the songs to help me get over them. I'm like, "I don't need them anymore!"
SOULJA BOY, "KISS ME THRU THE PHONE"
It's romantic, and I'm very romantic. No one knows that, of course. That's why I can't find a boyfriend.
LADY ANTEBELLUM, "NEED YOU NOW"
I want somebody to sing it to me!
DEADMAU5 & KASKADE, "I REMEMBER"
It's all about the house music. I'm a Guidette, and that's what we [love]. It gives me goose bumps.
FLO RIDA, "CLUB CAN'T HANDLE ME"
'Cause the club can't handle me!
USHER FEATURING PITBULL, "DJ GOT US FALLIN' IN LOVE"
Usher always kills it. And when you go to a club, you pretty much fall in love with the deejay.