Emmylou Harris

Hard Bargain |

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  



COUNTRY-FOLK

It's fitting that Emmylou Harris should sing about "Home Sweet Home" on one wistful song off her new album. The country-folk goddess provides the kind of Zen comfort that you can only get from swinging on your front porch, your belly full from some home-cooked vittles. While not up to 2008's stellar All I Intended to Be, Hard Bargain is another easy sell on your ears. There's a mellow mood to tracks like the title tune, a lovely Ron Sexsmith cover, but on "New Orleans" Harris goes from refined to rocking.

The Black Eyed Peas, "Just Can't Get Enough"

Shot in Tokyo just one week before the disaster in Japan, this shows much love for the nation.

Arctic Monkeys, "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair"

The British indie rockers get psychedelic in this groovy, kaleidoscopic clip.

Bruno Mars, "The Lazy Song"

With some monkey-masked dancers, Mars does the robot and celebrates the art of doing nothing at all. The pompadoured crooner couldn't be any cuter-or more charming.

Thirty Seconds to Mars, "This Is War"

This politically charged video takes aim at the forces behind war by putting Jared Leto on the frontlines.

Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, "E.T."

You may have seen it already, but this intergalactic romance is a visual feast worth seeing again.

DIRTY VEGAS

Electric Love

The "Days Go By" dudes haven't lost their knack for electric beats, as demonstrated on tracks like the title tune. But the British trio also display a gift for melancholy-streaked melodies on synth-pop standouts such as the gorgeous "Emma."

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  



BOOTSY COLLINS

Tha Funk Capital of the World

Recruiting an army of guests-from Snoop Dogg and Musiq Soulchild to, yes, Rev. Al Sharpton-the bassist creates a dense funk collage. At 75-plus minutes, though, it's hard to stay under his groove.

bgwhite bgwhite   



AUGUSTANA

Augustana

On their third album, you can hear echoes of the Killers, Coldplay, Kings of Leon and, most frequently, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. What they may lack in originality and identity, though, they help make up for with solid craftsmanship.

bgwhite bgwhite   



LENKA

Two

It's hard to begrudge this Aussie songbird her relentlessly chirpy pop ditties like "Roll with the Punches" and "Heart Skips a Beat." But all the airy sweetness on her second set can get too cloying on cuts like the nursery-rhymish "Everything at Once."

bgwhite bgwhite   



LED ZEPPELIN, HOUSES OF THE HOLY

It was the first album I ever heard on CD-I could hear John Bonham's kick-drum pedals squeaking! That's about when I really started playing drums. This is such a masterpiece with all of Zeppelin's classic traits. "The Song Remains the Same" is just epic.

THE B-52'S, THE B-52'S

Those songs are practically flawless-raw, human, fun, deep. I saw them on Saturday Night Live [in 1980] at a babysitter's house, and that moment changed my world forever. They were weird, and I felt weird. I was skinny and geeky, so I immediately connected with them.

HUSKER DU, ZEN ARCADE

The soundtrack to the summer of 1984 for me. All I did was hang out with my friends, go to shows, skateboard and listen to this album. It's a really wild record. You'll hear so much Foo Fighters in this music-I have ripped them off mercilessly for 16 years.

BAD BRAINS, ROCK FOR LIGHT

This album is probably America's finest moment in independent punk-rock-a perfect combination of rock, blues, reggae and punk. And still to this day, they're the most incredible live band I've ever seen in my life. They were just badass rock and roll.

THE BEATLES, ABBEY ROAD

My favorite Beatles record. The Beatles were my first love, the first time I felt taken by music. I started playing guitar when I was 10, and my mother bought me the Beatles songbook. I learned by listening to them-I never took lessons. I don't know how to read music.

SONIC YOUTH, DIRTY

I don't know if I'd ever considered feedback and dissonance beautiful until I heard Sonic Youth. They're underappreciated. They did Dirty with Butch Vig after [he had produced] Nirvana's Nevermind, and he made it sound like a f---ing atom bomb. Amazing.

LADY GAGA (pictured) doesn't betray her little monsters with "Judas," a harder-edged electro thumper. It's the second single-following its No. 1 title cut-from Born This Way, her third studio album due May 23. $0.99 at amazon.com.

GEORGE MICHAEL presents Prince William and Kate Middleton with a much cooler wedding gift than a blender: a classy cover of Stevie Wonder's 1972 love ballad "You and I." For a limited time, it's free at georgemichael.com.

JILL SCOTT unspools an old-school soul groove with duet partner Anthony Hamilton on "So in Love," the first single from the three-time Grammy winner's fourth studio set, The Light of the Sun, out this summer. $1.29 at rhapsody.com.

KELLY ROWLAND gets slinky-and oh-so-sexy-with Lil Wayne on "Motivation," a hypnotic grinder previewing the Destiny Child diva's third solo album, due in September. Guess Beyonce isn't the only naughty girl. $1.29 at iTunes.com.