THE 10 BEST ALBUMS OF 2013 (SO FAR)
1 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
The 20/20 Experience
JT as visionary artiste? That's what the former 'N Syncer has become on a comeback experience that even the indie hipsters will dig.
2 JOHNNY MARR
Morrissey really must be miserable now: On his first solo album since their epic split, the Smiths' guitar god delivers a resounding message.
3 THE LONE BELLOW
The Lone Bellow
If Mumford & Sons were from Brooklyn and went coed, they might sound like this alt-folk trio. Rustic resplendence.
4 DAVID BOWIE
The Next Day
If Timberlake's comeback was inevitable, Bowie's wasn't. He rocks as if the rocking chair can wait in his golden years.
5 BEN HARPER WITH CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE
Forget Belushi and Aykroyd: On this righteous joint, Harper and the harmonica godfather are the new blues brothers.
6 ASHLEY MONROE
Like a Rose
Miranda Lambert better watch her back: Her Pistol Annies sidekick packs some traditional-country heat on her new solo album.
7 HOLLY WILLIAMS
Hank Jr.'s daughter is another cowgirl on fire in '13, with a little help from Jackson Browne, Jakob Dylan and Dierks Bentley.
8 ATOMS FOR PEACE
On the debut album from their side project, Thom Yorke and Flea show that, yes, there's creative life beyond Radiohead and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
A Love Surreal
This neo-soul surrealist edges out José James (No Beginning No End) for the best R&B album of the year so far.
10 A$AP ROCKY
This Harlem rapper is on his way to becoming a hip-hop heavyweight with a debut that hits you from all directions.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CONCERT?
Garth Brooks at Texas Stadium when I was 10 years old. I remember that he flew in and he also set the stage on fire. I haven't done that yet, but I will!
I was obsessed with Liberace and asked my grandparents to take me to see him for my 7th birthday. I will never forget his amazing showmanship—and glitzy cape.
Richard Marx. It was memorable because I was on a date. My mom dropped us off in the Volvo station wagon at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. The second was Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet.
Warrant at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium with my father when I was 11. I was on his shoulders the whole time. I said, "I want to do that too, [except] maybe not wear those pants!"
It was Lenny Kravitz at the Berkeley Community Theatre, which was [on the campus of] my high school. He blew the roof off with "Are You Gonna Go My Way."
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Same Trailer Different Park
This buzzy country singer knocks it out of the trailer park with tunes like "Merry Go 'Round" that put a fresh spin on the usual Nashville terrain.
On her first album in six years, this jazzy soul siren entices you to her cabaret. Even when the songs don't measure up to her four-octave powers, she's a superwoman.
THE CIVIL WARS & T BONE BURNETT
A Place at the Table
The soundtrack to the new hunger documentary nourishes your spirit with evocative instrumentals and a taste of Civil Wars harmonies on three cuts.
SHOUT OUT LOUDS
If you're looking for the soundtrack to your spring, here's a contender from the indie-pop Swedes. Songs like "Illusions" shimmer with melancholy-streaked sunshine.
You go solo from your sisters with your new single "Love and War" and your upcoming album. Is there ever any sibling rivalry?
I don't know about sibling rivalry. I loved singing with my sisters. But I was never satisfied with being in a group. Whitney Houston [inspired this album], and I wish she was here to witness it.
You also sang background for Lady Gaga
. How was it on the road with her?
So much fun—she's a nut! Gaga is like one of my sisters. She knows when not to be Gaga and when to be Stefani.
Anything off-limits on your reality show, Braxton Family Values
Our bedroom. [My husband Vince Herbert and I] have managed to keep that behind the scenes. I really do think that was a good decision.
Now you two are expecting your first child.
I thought I was gonna faint—I couldn't believe it! It was like somebody telling me I hit the lottery. My sisters are keeping me on my toes. I'm getting a taste of my own medicine.
Dave Grohl has found a cool way to keep himself busy while the Foo Fighters are on hiatus: Hot off of his film directorial debut, Sound City—a documentary about the iconic L.A. recording studio—he delivers this star-studded soundtrack. Sound City—Real to Reel, featuring original songs recorded on a console Grohl bought from the studio, finds the rocker mixing it up with everyone from Paul McCartney to Trent Reznor. The highlights, though, are led by Stevie Nicks ("You Can't Fix This") and, yes, Rick Springfield ("The Man That Never Was").