Teaming up with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and Pharrell Williams, the nearly 50-year-old diva makes a hipper, hotter and more urban version of Confessions on a Dance Floor. Early front-runner for party album of the year.
While occasionally evoking Amy Winehouse, this British singer-rapper sounds more like a disciple of Lauryn Hill on a sparkling U.S. debut. The highlight? "American Boy," her bumping No. 1 U.K. hit featuring Kanye West.
ASHLEE SIMPSON Bittersweet World
Simpson's shockingly good third CD is sweet revenge on all her critics. The singer moves in a dance-pop direction on tracks like the '80s throwback "Boys," the best Kylie song that Kylie never did.
GNARLS BARKLEY The Odd Couple
Another trippy journey into psychedelic soultronica, the second disc from Cee-Lo Green and Danger Mouse shows that the pop world would be a lot more boring without this twisted twosome.