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- July 15, 2013
- Vol. 80
- No. 3
Picks and Pans: Music
Natalie Cole En Español
On this Spanish-language collection, Natalie Cole brings her classy touch to Latin standards such as "Bésame Mucho" (with Andrea Bocelli) and "Quizàs, Quizàs, Quizàs." She even pulls off the neat trick (again) of duetting with her late father, Nat King Cole, on "Acércate Màs." Nothing here, though, is really unforgettable.
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THE BEST ROAD TRIP ALBUMS NOW!
1. DAFT PUNK
Random Access Memories
On their No. 1 album, the electro-dance duo take you on a winding 75-minute journey (featuring guests like Pharrell) that transports you to Studio 54 as well as the moon.
"Get Lucky," "Giorgio by Moroder," "Touch"
2. J. COLE
The salvation of hip-hop this summer doesn't come from Yeezus (sorry, Kanye) but from this - the rare rap album that won't have you reaching for the skip button while cruising down the highway.
"Power Trip," "Crooked Smile," "Forbidden Fruit"
3. THE NATIONAL
Trouble Will Find Me
Whether you're running away from your problems or wallowing in them, you'll get lost in the mesmerizing atmospherics of these moody dudes. Just make sure your GPS is working so you won't miss your exit.
"I Should Live in Salt," "Fireproof," "Graceless"
4. MAVIS STAPLES
One True Vine
Mama Mavis leads you on the path to soul and spiritual enrichment with this righteously rootsy collection produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. You might think you're bound for glory instead of the beach.
"Far Celestial Shore," "Jesus Wept," "Every Step"
5. LEANN RIMES
Rimes fuels her latest with the kind of real-life passion that drives it home better than a full tank of gasoline.
"Spitfire," "Borrowed," "I Do Now"
FALL OUT BOY'S
What's it like being back in Fall Out Boy after the band's hiatus?
Taking the time [away] was great because it helped all of our friendships. Also it's hard to write and be creative when you're not really living life.
You also split from ex-wife Ashlee Simpson during that break.
That was really hard. It was the first time that I decided to deal with my stuff in a real way and not numb myself. Our kid [Bronx, 4] is the most important thing to us, so we're trying to coparent the right way. It's been really good.
How's Bronx doing on tour?
When we're onstage, he plays on his iPad. It's really grounding for me. Dad's job is cool, but I think it would be a lot cooler [to him] if I wore an Iron Man suit while I did it.
So he doesn't want to get tatted up like Dad yet?
I went to pick him up at preschool the other day and all of the kids had drawn fake tattoos on their arms - except him! He has zero interest. Kids like to rebel: If my dad had tattoos, I definitely think I wouldn't!
Sound the Alarm
The Memphis soul organist, who led Booker T. & the MG's backing the likes of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett, returns to the Stax label. He still plays well with others, from Estelle to Anthony Hamilton (on the highlight "Gently").
This rapper continues to display his natural-born talent on his third album, with help from guests like Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Ne-Yo and Cee Lo Green. It's enough to forgive some lackluster tracks in an overlong 70 minutes.
In a Tidal Wave of Mystery
With its buoyant synth-pop sheen, "Safe and Sound," the hit single that opens this disc, is bound to be one of the songs of summer. And this new duo keep the hooks coming on tracks like "I Sold My Bed but Not My Stereo."
Once I Was an Eagle
Conjuring up Joni Mitchell with her alluring alt-folk, this British singer-songwriter truly soars in the continuously mixed first half of her latest. Although she comes down some after the interlude, Marling is still a rare bird.
December 20, 2014
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