Rated R |
Despite a string of hit singles, Rihanna had yet to make her big artistic statement. She has now. Rated R, her gritty fourth album, is her coming-of-age manifesto, her Control. Letting you behind the glossy Cover Girl veneer, it's deeper and darker, harder and heavier than anything you would have expected from the 21-year-old before her February assault by then-boyfriend Chris Brown. While Rihanna had no writing credits on 2007's Good Girl Gone Bad, she had a hand in penning nine songs here, including the defiant street banger "Hard." Also intensified by the Brown drama are the bruised ballad "Stupid in Love" and "Cold Case Love," a sweeping epic cowritten and coproduced by Justin Timberlake, who brings out her most affecting vocal ever. Brava.
Them Crooked Vultures
Them Crooked Vultures |
This new supergroup—consisting of Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme on guitar and lead vocals, Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones on bass, and Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl back in his old Nirvana role on drums—lives up to its members' hard-rocking credentials.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "New Fang," the snarling first single
For Your Entertainment |
Was there ever any doubt that Adam Lambert's post-Idol debut would beat Kris Allen's? The season 8 runner-up wins the battle that really counts with a confident, I-know-who-I-am display of glam pop-rock. Helping him strut his guyliner-wearing stuff are Pink, who cowrote the power ballad "Whataya Want from Me," and Lady Gaga, who cowrote the sleazy, synthy "Fever." But it's the Darkness's Justin Hawkins who provides the stomping highlight "Music Again," on which Lambert lets rip his powerhouse pipes.
Is It O.K. |
REVIEWED BY IVORY JEFF CLINTON
Already a hit in her native Canada, Is It O.K., Serena Ryder's U.S. debut, should have no problem gaining a new crop of fans. Armed with a powerful voice and her guitar, the singer-songwriter commands attention, from the sensitive folk of "Hiding Place" to the rock balladry of "All for Love," the album's best track. Another standout is the rollicking "Little Bit of Red," on which Ryder—winner of two Juno Awards (Canada's Grammy equivalent)—implores a stick-in-the-mud to cut loose. But her mood swings the other way on melancholy moments like the conflicted "Why Can't I Love You."
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