Picks and Pans Review: Recent Raves

updated 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

R.E.M. Accelerate
R.E.M. comes rocking back to life on their best disc since 1992's Automatic for the People. The chugging, instantly catchy "Supernatural Superserious" and the soul-deep "Hollow Man" stand up to just about anything they've ever done.

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ERYKAH BADU New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)
The neo-soul siren continues to play by her own freaky, formula-busting rules on her first full-fledged album since 2000, mixing seductive grooves and sociopolitical lyrics.

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PANIC AT THE DISCO Pretty. Odd.
Beatles-esque pop? Check. Beach Boys sunniness? Check. Smiths-style melancholy? Check. These dudes display all this and more on their whimsical second disc, proving that they have grown well beyond emo.

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JANET JACKSON Discipline
While still letting Janet be Janet, Discipline puts a spanking new sheen on her mix of clubby dance tracks, candy-coated midtempo confections and sweet and sexy slow jams. Her best since 2001's All for You.

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