Hot off of his first Grammy win in February-Best R&B Album props for F.A.M.E. that, as hard as he may be to like, were well-deserved-Chris Brown wastes little time returning with Fortune. Perhaps he should have waited longer: Following his career best, his fifth effort is disappointing. There's nothing here to match the club euphoria of "Beautiful People" or the street swagger of "Look at Me Now." Fortune drags with too many slow jams, even if there are some good ones (like "Sweet Love," a spacey, Prince-style grinder). But I expect more from Grammy winners.
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MY TOP 10 ROLLING STONES SONGS
HAPPY 50th ANNIVERSARY!
After forming in London, the legendary band played their first gig on July 12, 1962. A half century later, these tunes still rock.
1 "(I CAN'T GET NO) SATISFACTION" (1965) Yes, it's totally impossible to believe that Mick couldn't get any "girlie action." Still, their first No. 1 hit fulfills every desire you could ever have from a rock song.
2 "YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT" (1969) A rambling, 7½ minute epic that begins with a choir fit for a cathedral and then builds and builds to transcendent heights.
3 "SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL" (1968) Only Jagger could deign to adopt the voice of Lucifer himself and completely seduce you over to the dark side on this spooky-sexy hex.
4 "GIMME SHELTER" (1969) These British lads found refuge-and divine inspiration-in the Baptist church on this gospel-charged revelation.
5 "WILD HORSES" (1971) They may be the very quintessence of rock and roll, but this ballad proved just how well the Stones could also do country.
6 "BROWN SUGAR" (1971) With a peacock-strutting Jagger leading the way, they trampled all over some taboos.
7 "MISS YOU" (1978) Thumping out a killer bass line, their take on disco turned out to be the most straight-up soulful thing they've ever done.
8 "RUBY TUESDAY" (1967) The Stones at their artiest, this baroque beauty even inspired a restaurant chain.
9 "TUMBLING DICE" (1972) This playlist wouldn't be complete without something from Exile on Main St., their landmark double album.
10 "START ME UP" (1981) I'm partial to this, the last truly great Stones song, for introducing me to them in all their guitar-riffing glory. Let it rip, Keith.
3 THINGS I'M LOVING NOW!
1 GRACELAND REVISITED
Paul Simon's spiritual journey to Africa marks its 25th anniversary (a year late) with a lavish box set complete with two books and two DVDs—but no diamonds for the soles of your shoes.
2 POST-ADELE BRIT DIVAS
The debuts by Scotland's Emeli Sandé and England's Rebecca Ferguson-Our Version of Events and Heaven, respectively-are the perfect antidote for those who have worn out 21.
3 MADONNA'S "RADIO" JAM
The new MDNA single, "Turn Up the Radio," deserves to be pumped on the airwaves this summer. With a classic Madge melody, it's got me psyched for her tour to hit the U.S.
"Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. It's the epitome of what summertime was for me with the family reunion when your uncle gets drunk and knocks something over. I loved it.
"Hot Fun in the Summertime" by Sly & the Family Stone. It takes me back to when my brothers were on TV every Saturday with their cartoon. It was a magical moment.
"September" by Earth, Wind & Fire. When I was younger, I remember everybody who listened to it around me would always have a great time.
FUN.'S NATE RUESS
LFO's "Summer Girls." It's just so breezy and good. And they say summer over and over.
"The Boys of Summer" [by Don Henley]. We love the boys of summer. Need I say more?
The rapper's latest arrives just in time for some summer insanity on the Jersey Shore and beyond. While cuts like the hit title track (featuring Sia) and the Etta James-sampling "Good Feeling" may keep the party rocking, it's all relatively tame stuff.
Though his quirky artistry wasn't enough to win American Idol in '11, it works to Abrams's advantage on his debut, co-executive-produced by Randy Jackson. His double-bass work and jazzy vocals help this album to swing left of center.
Rhythm and Repose
After the musical version of Once—featuring tunes he cowrote for the film-swept the Tonys, this singer-songwriter makes his solo debut with moody folk-pop that at times evokes Ben Harper, making more repose than rhythm.
This 14-year-old, who sobbed when she was eliminated from The X Factor last year, gets the last laugh: She's on tour with Big Time Rush this summer and has released her debut EP, which packs sass and tender soul on songs like "Mean Girls."