Picks and Pans Review: Recent Raves

updated 11/08/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/08/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Talib Kweli, The Beautiful Struggle

With rhymes that are unusually heady and refreshingly honest, Struggle is—no contest—the rap CD of the year.

Katrina Elam, [Katrina Elam ]

This 20-year-old newcomer displays vocal versatility with music that is both modern and traditional.

Duran Duran, Astronaut.

After 21 years, the original lineup of the '80s synth-pop outfit reunites and takes creative flight again.

Nancy Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra

U2's Bono and The Edge, Morrissey, and Pulp's Jarvis Cocker help coolly preserve the image and groovy sound of the miniskirted '60s sex symbol.

Citizen Cope, The Clarence Greenwood Recordings

On his second solo outing, the singer-songwriter splices bits of Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, Bob Marley and Beck to create a fresh, genre-defying sound.

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