To Be Loved |
Ten years after his debut, Michael Bublé has become the George Clooney
of crooners: smooth, charming and reliably likable in just about everything he does. On his latest (which takes its title from the old Jackie Wilson tune), he can even make a kiss-off sound sweet: He gets dumped on "It's a Beautiful Day"—the album's first single and one of four Bublé-cowritten originals—and takes it in swinging stride. "I'm glad that you're the one who got away," he sings, sounding bouncy instead of bitter. (Breaking up with Bublé? What was she thinking?) On an even better new song, "I Got It Easy," he seems genuinely appreciative of his blessed life. It has such a classic sound and sentiment that you'd swear it was a remake. Bublé rounds up a good mix of covers too, from the Bing Crosby standard "Nevertheless (I'm in Love with You)" to the Jackson 5's "Who's Lovin' You." It's enough to make you forgive him when he gets gimmicky with Reese Witherspoon
on "Something Stupid." He's built up goodwill to spare.
Clearly will.i.am learned from his last solo album, 2007's Songs About Girls, on which he only recruited one major guest (Snoop Dogg) in lieu of his Black Eyed Peas muse: Fergie
. This time he works his starry contacts to the boom-boom-pow max: In addition to Britney Spears
and her fake British accent (on the hit single "Scream & Shout"), the cameos include Justin Bieber
, Miley Cyrus
and Chris Brown
. Their respective dance tracks are more like commercial mergers than creative ones. Still, the party songs here beat Will's weak attempts at "Where Is the Love?"-esque consciousness.
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The "Gangnam Style" guy has scored another YouTube hit with the video for his follow-up. Clearly the novelty hasn't worn off yet. But give him credit for busting the hook.
"Here's to Never Growing Up"
Memo to Taylor: Avril has returned and wants her sound back. Although she's getting married again, she can still have bratty fun.
"Come & Get It"
Breaking up with Biebs has apparently inspired Gomez to explore her exotic side, with African and island vibes (think Rihanna
-lite) on this midtempo preview of her upcoming album.
The last time I watched the Disney Channel ...
JOE: I didn't even know anyone on it. I literally felt ...
The best advice for a teen heartthrob is ...
NICK: Don't be naive about the importance of your privacy. Now with social media, try to think ahead.
The best date spot is ...
NICK: My house! I've got a nice view of the city [New York City], and I've made sandwiches for a few people who've thoroughly enjoyed them.
I'm a sucker for a girl who ...
KEVIN: Takes care of herself, spends time on herself.
JOE: Hangs with the guys. That's a test for me—if you can hang with my friends.
My celeb crush is ...
JOE: Sofia Vergara. My girlfriend [graphic designer and former model Blanda Eggenschwiler] has a crush on her too, so it makes it easy.
NICK: This is more of a crush of the week: Diane Lane. I just watched Unfaithful.
The band I wish I could join is ...
NICK: Mumford & Sons. I love their music.
JOE: Maybe it's a little too young, but One Direction. I have a lot of love for those guys. Or Journey.
My go-to karaoke song is ...
NICK: "I Believe I Can Fly" [by R. Kelly].
JOE: "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder.
KEVIN: The Titanic theme song [My Heart Will Go On] by Celine Dion.
The biggest misconception about us is ...
KEVIN: That we haven't had a part in writing our songs.
JOE: That we're super-religious. Like on a Sunday [people will ask], "What are you doing not at church?"
On one standout of their fifth studio effort, the French alt-rockers—who won a Grammy for their last album—claim that they're just "Trying to Be Cool." Really, though, their synth-pop sounds boast an effortless hipness.
"Truthfully and noted, I'm back," declares this alternative hip-hopper, clearly recognizing he'd fallen off his game. The Man on the Moon rights the spaceship with stellar tracks like "Solo Dolo Part II" (with Kendrick Lamar).
Side Effects of You
It's been nine years and four albums since Fantasia won American Idol back in its good old days. She continues building her solid R&B career here. Best is "Without Me" with Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott (yay!).
Another reality-show winner—last year's X Factor champ—makes a country debut that, despite some forgettable songs, shows he may have what it takes to hang in Nashville. High-lights include "Can't Get Nothin' Done" and "Sweet."
HEALTH CRISIS— THEN BABY JOY!
What happened with your health?
In December 2011 I found out I had a BRCA2 gene mutation, which my doctor said meant my chances of developing breast cancer over my lifetime were as high as 80 percent, and up to 30 percent for ovarian cancer. My grandmother had breast cancer, and my mother [passed away after she] was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 50.
What steps did you take then?
I'd been trying to have a baby [with my husband, contractor Mike McCuddy, 38]. This stopped me dead in my tracks. So last December I had prophylactic surgery to remove my uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. My doctor told me it could reduce my chances of getting cancer by a significant amount. I took a calculated risk.
By then you had decided to work with a gestational surrogate.
When I had the surgery, it was helpful to know that this amazing woman was carrying our child—our last embryo took on the first try—and I was taking care of things to ensure I'd be around to see our son [Greyson, 3 months] grow up.
How do you feel now?
When I have my son in my arms, I think about how I'd go through it all again—the five years of infertility, the operations—just for him. I turn on pop radio, and he loves the bass, hip-hop and dance beats. He is so my baby!