Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Songs by Bono and the Edge

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The beginning of the cast recording for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark-the Broadway musical featuring songs by Bono and the Edge, which, as of press time, was finally scheduled to have its official opening June 14 after all the hullabaloo-echoes the start of "In God's Country." But that's about where any evocation of The Joshua Tree ends for those hoping for that classic U2 sound. Considering the high-flying expectations, it's as if Bono and the Edge have lost their songwriting superpowers. How else to explain a limp rocker like "Bouncing off the Walls"-led by the show's star Reeve Carney, frontman of the band Carney-or an unmemorable ballad like "No More"? Still, there are bright moments, like the Bowie-esque "Boy Falls from the Sky" (the only number with music credited to U2) and two versions of the soaring "Rise Above"-one blessed with vocals by Bono himself.

Jackie Evancho

Dream with Me |

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It's surely a dream come true for 11-year-old Jackie Evancho-who rose to fame while finishing second on America's Got Talent last year-when she gets to sing with Barbra Streisand on a rendition of "Somewhere." That she holds her own with Babs says a lot about her prodigious talents. On another duet, "A Mother's Prayer," the soprano outclasses another TV talent-show sensation: Susan Boyle. With David Foster producing her full-length debut, this little lady is clearly in the big leagues.

If you want to hear Bono and the Edge in full rock-hero effect, give 2009's No Line on the Horizon another chance. While it didn't get the love that other U2 albums have, this more experimental effort reveals layers upon each listen with its moody atmospherics. Songs like the mystical "Unknown Caller" even cross the line into Radiohead territory.


Hell: The Sequel

After teaming up for "Bad Meets Evil" on The Slim Shady LP, Eminem (Evil) and fellow Detroit rapper Royce da 5'9" (Bad) reunite on this gritty EP. But Bruno Mars adds some sweet pop flavor on the piano-laced "Lighters."

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All Things Bright and Beautiful

Looking like a possible one-hit wonder, the "Fireflies" act fails to burn bright on this second major-label album. The one real keeper among these synth/electro-pop tracks is "Dreams Don't Turn to Dust."

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Pieces of Me

Three and a half years after surprisingly scoring a Grammy Best New Artist nomination, this old-school R&B belter continues to prove that was no fluke, displaying shades of Chaka Khan on funky cuts such as "Coffee" and "Shut Up."

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Covers 80s

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone," sings Sheik as he opens this set with Depeche Mode's "Stripped." He deconstructs that and other '80s gems by the Cure, New Order, the Smiths and Tears for Fears to their tuneful essence.

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After making his solo debut with 1970's McCartney, it took Sir Paul another whole decade-during which he recorded with Wings-before releasing its sequel, 1980's McCartney II. Both albums, featuring faves like "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Coming Up," have been reissued and still have quirky charms, as the whimsical DIYer plays all the instruments and sings all the parts (save for harmonies by late wife Linda). Along with remastered versions of the originals come bonus discs. The lushly packaged deluxe editions include a hardback book too. Sweet!