Own the Night |
First things first: There's nothing on Lady Antebellum's third album that can compete with "Need You Now." The crossover smash that won four Grammys last February may well be one of those once-in-a-career songs. But once you get past needing another "Need You Now," there's plenty to enjoy on Own the Night. There's a tender wistfulness to tunes like "Dancin' Away with My Heart" and an easy breeziness to ditties like "Singing Me Home." While Lady A continues to own the masses with cuts like the pop ballad "Just a Kiss," the Top 10 first single, country purists may think they're about as Nashville as Lady Gaga. Indeed, "Friday Night" is a cheesy attempt at an arena rocker, while the string-laden "Wanted You More" suffers from overproduction. But country comes home to roost on the two best tracks: the mandolin-laced "We Owned the Night" and "Cold as Stone," on which Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott turn heartache into bittersweet harmony.
Here for a Good Time
REVIEWED BY RANDY VEST
Three decades into a phenomenally successful career, George Strait never phones it in. He infuses his latest with the same sincerity and warmth that he brought to his 1981 debut, Strait Country. It helps that he has some top-notch tunes, many of which were cowritten with longtime collaborator Dean Dillon and Strait's own son Bubba. The title track is a party-hearty honky-tonker, while "House Across the Bay" joins Strait's ever-growing canon of heartbreak ballads. Best of all is the closer, "I'll Always Remember You," a touching love letter to the fans who have stuck by Strait for 30 years.
DREW'S MUST-SEE VIDEO!
Taking cues from West Side Story, Drew Barrymore (inset) directs a gang-torn romance in "Our Deal," the compelling new clip by indie rock band Best Coast. With the Day Trotters and the Night Creepers making like the Jets and the Sharks, and Veronica (Chloe Moretz) and Lucky (Tyler Posey) making like Maria and Tony, it's the best love story I've seen in music video all year.
In the Grace of Your Love
This indie funk-punk outfit tackles religion (the title track) and the death of lead singer Luke Jenner's mother ("Miss You") over synth-infused grooves graced with lush horns and urgent guitar.
TRUE BLOOD, VOLUME 3
From Massive Attack and Jakob Dylan to PJ Harvey and Siouxsie and the Banshees (on the aptly titled "Spellbound"), there's a little bit of everything to sink your fangs into on this juicy collection.
Last year's winners of NBC's a cappella competition The Sing-Off, this sextet breathes much-needed life into male R&B vocal groups. Highlights of their debut include a soulful take on "Sweet Home Alabama."
Solidifying her spot in the sisterhood of Tori Amos, Cat Power and Regina Spektor, this Malaysian impresses with her eclecticism. Best is the retro-'30s jazz of "Madness."
REVIEWED BY IVORY JEFF CLINTON AND JESSICA HERNDON
ON PANIC OF GIRLS, BLONDIE'S FIRST STUDIO ALBUM SINCE 2003
It was long overdue. [The single] "Mother" was inspired by a New York club named Mother that used to be a great hangout where I'd dress up in costume.
ON HER ICONIC STYLE
When I look at old pictures, I think, "Wow! I was sort of cute, wasn't I?" I feel proud. I've saved my old Stephen Sprouse clothes and sometimes wear them. I love them. The black thigh-high boots and the little beret? That was a statement.
ON BEING A PIONEER FOR WOMEN IN MUSIC
It was a smaller world for women, and I never liked the idea of having to be a secretary or housewife. So that was always part of my incentive.
ON STILL ROCKING AT 66
I'm blessed with good health, I enjoy [performing], and I like making money. When it becomes evident that I shouldn't be onstage, then I won't. But I don't feel like I have to stop.