THOM YORKE'S RED-HOT SIDE PROJECT WITH FLEA!
One might have hoped that Thom Yorke's disappointing solo debut, 2006's The Eraser, would wipe out any notions he had of ever breaking off from Radiohead again. But despite being leader of one of the biggest bands on the planet, Yorke has never really played it safe. Fortunately Amok-the debut album from his side project Atoms for Peace-is no letdown. The group includes another alt-rock god, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, and Nigel Godrich, who has been behind the boards for every Radiohead album since 1995's The Bends. The latter, as both producer and programmer, makes this electronica-infused effort sound like it could be the follow-up to 2011's The King of Limbs. But the ever-funky Flea deepens the groove of hypnotic jams like "Unless."
MY TOP 5 MUSIC IDOLS
With a new single, "Gone Gone Gone," and a college tour kicking off March 19, the American Idol, 22, shares his inspirations.
The older I've grown, the more I appreciate his music-it's timeless. He tells really good stories through his songs, and that's what I aim for when I'm writing.
AC/DC'S ANGUS YOUNG
He's my first hero, one of the first guys I saw shred the guitar. I was like, "Dang, that's some hard-core stuff!" I thought he was a god and tried to play just like he did.
I got into him in high school. He inspired me to do interesting things on the guitar and sing in different ways. I always try to challenge myself that way.
At first I was like, "Who's this old blues black guy singing?" Come to find out he's this white kid! If I could have anybody's voice, it would be his.
She just speaks her mind and doesn't give a crap-I really respect that. Plus she's great live. When I met her, I was dumbfounded. I got really nervous and didn't know what to say!
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DRAKE "Started from the Bottom"
Coming off his first Grammy win (Best Rap Album for Take Care), this trancey, autobiographical track is a middling effort from an artist who has reached such heights as "Marvin's Room" and "Take Care." Step it up, Drizzy.
PRINCE "Breakfast Can Wait" and "Screwdriver"
In case there was any doubt, these two cuts show that Prince is still a "sexy MF" at 54. "Breakfast" serves up some slinky jazz-funk fusion, while "Screwdriver" offers a "Cream"-esque come-on. Subtle it isn't. Both:
CHAKA KHAN "It's Not Over"
Khan celebrates her 60th birthday (on March 23)-plus 40 years in the biz-with this inspirational anthem featuring Christian rapper Lecrae. It's hardly vintage Chaka, but the lady can still wail.
It's taken Marr 26(!) years since the Smiths disbanded to release his first solo album, but it was worth the wait. His melodies and guitar lines still sparkle. If he wanted to show he could compete with Morrissey's solo career, then message received.
EMMYLOU HARRIS & RODNEY CROWELL
Old Yellow Moon
Harris could make anyone look good, but her old collaborator is a worthy partner on this golden set of covers plus four Crowell originals. "Back When We Were Beautiful" is a real stunner.
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
This Motown salute subtitled A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A. is pretty predictable. While Bolton doesn't do anything to mess up these classics, he should have listened to Marvin and Tammi: Ain't nothing like the real thing.
A Love Surreal
Before Frank Ocean, Miguel and the Weeknd became the neo-soul men of the moment, Bilal was bringing life to the genre. On cuts like "Butterfly," soaring on his falsetto and Robert Glasper's piano, he continues to spread his artistic wings.