Little Broken Hearts
Ten years after her smash Come Away with Me, Norah Jones has hooked up with Danger Mouse to produce her fifth solo album. But don't expect this to sound like a Gnarls Barkley record-Norah, thankfully, isn't trying to replace Cee Lo. Jones finds a perfectly moody match in Danger Mouse, with whom she worked on 2011's Rome, an homage to Italian film music. Taking inspiration from that project, songs like the dusty "4 Broken Hearts" are evocative of Italian westerns. Elsewhere, Danger Mouse surrounds Jones's smoky vocals with even more interesting layers of texture and atmosphere that make this play like the soundtrack to a cool indie film about a failed romance. (This is Jones's second straight breakup album after 2009's The Fall.) "Don't you miss the good ol' days/ When I let you misbehave?" she coos on "Say Goodbye," a sly, slinky kiss-off set to a shuffling trip-hop beat. With that voice, she could have any man begging for forgiveness.
After getting into '80s synth-pop grooves on their last two releases-and even flirting with hip-hop on 2010's Night Train-Keane makes a welcome return to piano-rock territory. Songs like "You Are Young" have an anthemic grandeur that suggests U2 with a keyboard player, while divine ballads like "The Starting Line," led by Tom Chaplin's choirboy tenor, could fill a cathedral. But their melodic mojo also works on uptempo tunes like "On the Road," a track so ridiculously sunny it may save you a trip to the tanning salon.
The EP |
Before the Wanted arrived Stateside with the MTV anthem "Glad You Came"-one of the songs of spring-the boy band had already released two hit albums in their native U.K. Highlights from those-plus two new tunes-are culled on this seven-track EP. Pumping, club-ready jams like "Lightning" show there's more where "Glad" came from, but the atmospherics of cuts like the glistening "Gold Forever" also call to mind what Coldplay might sound like if they were some young lads rocking the party with glow sticks.
"Scream" and "Lemme See"
Two previews of Looking 4 Myself, due June 12, show different sides of Usher: the pop-savvy party boy ("Scream") and the falsettoed slow-jammer ("Lemme"). Both:
"Put It Down"
After that underwhelming reunion with Monica, Brandy really seems poised for a long-overdue comeback with this thumping, stuttering banger featuring Chris Brown.
"Work Hard, Play Hard"
The weed-loving rapper is hardly the poster boy for industriousness, but with this bounce track, who wouldn't play with him?
EARLY MORNING REBEL
It's easy to hear why this L.A. band's aching ballad has provided a salve on Grey's Anatomy this season.
TRAIN'S PAT MONAHAN
MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE IS ...
Bad manners. Let me get out of the elevator before you get in.
I REALLY WISH I COULD MEET ...
The Long Island Medium. I watched [her TLC series] for four hours and was crying. She's intense.
I NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT ...
My tea. I have a tuocha tea from China that I get out of Montreal.
THE BEST WAY TO KILL TIME ON THE TOUR BUS IS ...
Making egg salad. It takes a lot of time to peel those eggs and do it right.
THE BEST PLACE TO SAY "MARRY ME" IS ...
Portofino, Italy-where I proposed to my wife.
MY LAST TRAIN RIDE WAS ...
From Milan to Rome. You'd think it would be so romantic, but the food was bad and the service was really awful. But I love being in London and using my tube pass.
SKINNY JEANS MAKE ME FEEL ...
I'm not allowed to wear skinny jeans anymore!
After becoming YouTube sensations by covering other people's hits-such as Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now"-this engaged couple were signed by The X Factor's L.A. Reid and now bust out their own tunes on their hip-pop debut, Hello. Cowriting with hitmakers including Stargate and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, they prove they're more than a web novelty. Highlights include the single "Brokenhearted" and the Destiny's Child-meets-TLC jam "Too Many Fish," both featuring Amy Heidemann's Nicki Minaj-esque raps.
CARLY RAE JEPSEN
ON CELEBS MAKING "CALL ME MAYBE" VIDEOS
I'm a big fan of Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus-and James Franco is pretty smoking. I was impressed by his. But the one that was most magical was Justin Bieber's [costarring Selena Gomez, among others] because that sparked the online buzz, not just with celebrities but also with people in countries I haven't even visited!
ON WHICH SONG SHE'D COVER ON YOUTUBE
Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning." I think it'd be fun to do a sit-down acoustic version. I'm a big fan of theirs.
ON HER RULES FOR CALLING GUYS
My philosophy is to play no games. I think the sooner you lead with your heart, the better.
ON WHOSE NUMBER SHE WISHES SHE COULD HAVE
Ryan Gosling's. But I fell in love with his character in The Notebook, so it's probably not a sincere crush.
Neck of the Woods
Some, including myself, were surprised when this alt-rock band scored a Best New Artist Grammy nomination in 2009. But with dreamy shades of Smashing Pumpkins and even Radiohead, Silversun's latest sparkles.
Master of My Make-Believe
From "Go!," the Karen O-assisted jumpoff, to "Big Mouth," the frenetic, jungle-grooving closer, the Brooklyn beat freak is here to fulfill your wildest electro-pop fantasies on her second album. Take that, M.I.A.
Up All Night
This Nashville newbie recently notched his first hit with "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," an ode to the country boy's favorite mode of transportation. The rest of his debut rides along smoothly if unspectacularly. Best is the ballad "Faith When I Fall."
This Is How I Feel
Tank sure looks good shirtless-as the R&B singer proudly proves on the cover of his fifth album-and he has sexy sounds to go with his chiseled chest. But he can't really compete with other soul studs like Maxwell or even Robin Thicke.