Joe Jonas

Fastlife |

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POP

No matter how many girls' walls your poster has been on, making the transition from boy-band heartthrob to solo stud is a tricky one that many haven't successfully navigated. Remember the albums by New Kids on the Block's Jordan Knight, Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter or 98's Nick Lachey? I didn't think so. At 22, Joe Jonas, frontman of the JoBros, attempts to pull a Justin Timberlake on his solo debut with an R&B- and dance-influenced makeover designed to give him more edge than Camp Rock would allow. He even recruits producer Danja, protege of Timbaland-who worked on JT's Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds. The results are mixed, as Danja is no Timba, and Jonas isn't quite convincing trying to bring sexy back on some of these songs. But JJ gets surprisingly funky on the synth-driven title track and finds airy pop bliss on "All This Time."

Lauren Alaina

Wildflower |

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COUNTRY

Seems Lauren Alaina is destined to always come in second to Scotty McCreery: He beats her for the American Idol title, then his country debut comes out one week before hers. Guess whose is better. (Hint: America got it right.) While Wildflower doesn't wilt, it sometimes feels as if Alaina is playing dress-up as Carrie Underwood (who cowrote one tune). Still, at only 16, she has plenty of time to blossom.

BOY-BAND ALUMS!

MICHAEL JACKSON

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" (1979)

MJ left his bros in the dust for the dance floor.

BOBBY BROWN

"My Prerogative" (1988)

Before Whitney, he was New Edition's biggest breakout. Sigh.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

"Like I Love You" (2002)

Timberlake blew beyond 'N Sync with this slab of hip-hop funk.

RICKY MARTIN

"The Cup of Life" (1998)

The Menudo chico at his bon-bon-shaking best. Here we go!

ROBBIE WILLIAMS

"Angels" (1999)

Take That's bad boy reached heavenly heights with this Elton-esque ballad.

RONAN KEATING

"When You Say Nothing at All" (1999)

A sweet slice of Notting Hill from the Boyzone singer.

The only thing that has been able to stop Adele-with a No. 1 album and two No. 1 singles in 2011-has been her golden instrument. After voice troubles forced her to postpone concerts earlier this year, the singer canceled a sold-out 10-city U.S. tour, set to start Oct. 7, due to a vocal cord hemorrhage. Get well soon, Adele!

RODNEY ATKINS

Take a Back Road

Atkins landed a No. 1 country hit with the easy-cruising title track, but there's even better stuff here, whether he's tackling relationship conflicts ("She'd Rather Fight," "Feet") or kin dynamics ("Family").

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BLINK-182

Neighborhoods

On their first album since 2003, the punk-pop trio revisits familiar ground while also exploring more ambitious territory. Their adolescent energy is now tempered with a grown-up melancholy that suits them after eight years.

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J. COLE

Cole World: The Sideline Story

Long delayed, the rap debut from this Jay-Z protege lived up to the hype when it opened at No. 1 on the Billboard pop albums chart. Highlights include "Mr. Nice Watch," featuring the original J.

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DARYL HALL

Laughing Down Crying

With his Live from Daryl's House going into national TV syndication last month, Hall sounds revived on his fifth album without Oates. Soulful standouts include the H&O-esque "Eyes for You (Ain't No Doubt About It)."

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