Proud to Be Here
Trace Adkins's new album was completed before the fire that destroyed his family's home and many of their belongings in June. Still, the title-and the ballad of the same name-take on more resonance now, as does the nostalgic first single, "Just Fishin'," about the lasting memories of father-daughter bonding time. But considering everything the country star has been through recently, some of these songs-such as the sly "It's a Woman Thang" and the deluxe-only "If I Was a Woman" (featuring Blake Shelton)-may feel a little too shallow. You kind of want some more depth from the dude.
WHAT I'M ROCKING NOW!
The second No. 1 rock single from the blazing Wasting Light is a soaring, stadium-ready anthem about the power of resilience-something Dave Grohl and crew surely know about after plugging away in the music biz all these years.
"Speaking in Tongues"
A new track on the deluxe edition of The Suburbs pays homage to Talking Heads, with guest vocals by David Byrne.
"Fall on Me"
On the 25th-anniversary reissue of Lifes Rich Pageant, this gorgeous gem sweetly descends on you with its cascading harmonies.
The first single from Chief, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard pop albums chart, shows why this outlaw has country swagger.
While Watch the Throne, his new album with Jay-Z, wasn't made available for review in time for this issue, I'm still throwing down this rumbling posse cut featuring Jay plus Rick Ross, Bon Iver and a song-stealing Nicki Minaj.
"It's been a long time/ We shouldn't have left you/ Without a dope beat to step to," raps Timbaland, producer of this 2000 No. 1 hit. Indeed, it's been 10 years since Aaliyah left us at just 22 in August 2001. Miss you, baby girl.
"How to Unring a Bell"
This Philly soul throwback, from Jean's enchanting debut Pennies in a Jar, captures the essence of cowriter Thom Bell's work with the Stylistics and the Spinners.
"Tears Dry on Their Own"
Truly, it's hard to listen to "Rehab" or "You Know I'm No Good" so soon after Winehouse's untimely death. But there's a can't-hold-me-down spirit to this Back to Black highlight that will help dry your tears about this tragedy.
"Moment of Surrender"
Bono's boys fittingly dedicated this transcendent tune to the late Clarence Clemons during the encore of the East Rutherford, N.J., stop on their just-ended 360º tour, which goes down as the biggest concert trek ever.
DEMI LOVATO stands tall after overcoming personal struggles on "Skyscraper," an uplifting soft-rocker previewing the singer-actress's as-yet-untitled third album, which arrives Sept. 20. $1.29 at iTunes.com.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS return in ever-funky form on "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie," the first single from I'm with You, the follow-up to 2006's Stadium Arcadium, due Aug. 30. $1.29 at zune.net.
SEAN PAUL keeps the hot riddims percolating on his latest party jam "Got 2 Luv U," featuring singer Alexis Jordan. It's from the Jamaican reggae star's upcoming fifth studio album. $1.29 at rhapsody.com.
JANE'S ADDICTION, on the heels of Lollapalooza's 20th anniversary, remains a potent alt-rock power on "Irresistible Force," from The Great Escape Artist, their first album since 2003, due Sept. 27. $0.99 at amazon.com.
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE
Sky Full of Holes
Sky Full of Hooks might have been a better title for the latest by these power-pop proponents. Melody meets melancholy on two highlights: "Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart" and "Hate to See You Like This."
Tailgates and Tanlines
"Country Girl (Shake It for Me)," the hit first single off this country boy's latest, is good for a fun shimmy. It's enjoyable but uneventful, like most of Tailgates. An exception? The whiskey-soaked ballad "You Don't Know Jack."
For those who were missing Jack Johnson this summer, this singer-songwriter has come to the rescue. But on his third album, he brings some more drum thump to instantly catchy ditties like the first single "Hey Mama."
Timez Are Weird These Days
Trinidad-born, Brooklyn-raised, this rapper (and sometime singer) brings to mind other alternative hip-hoppers such as Kid Cudi and Tinie Tempah on a debut album that is, for the most part, weird in all the right ways.
ON GOING BY BON IVER INSTEAD OF HIS OWN NAME, JUSTIN VERNON
I always liked being a part of a group. And it's not just a band name, it's a concept and a greeting. [In French, bon hiver means "good winter" or "have a good winter."] I watched an episode of Northern Exposure, and it was the first time it snowed [that winter], and everyone came out of their houses saying "bon hiver" to one another.
ON COLLABORATING WITH KANYE WEST
ON MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY
He was superinviting. He put me up at his place in Hawaii, and we recorded music 18 hours a day for three weeks. Sometimes we'd skip out of the studio to play basketball. I'm like 6'3" and can score my points!
ON BEING ON THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON SOUNDTRACK
I'm not a [Twilight] fan. But I remember listening to Dinosaur Jr. because of the Wayne's World 2 soundtrack when I was 11. So why not?