Nobody's Daughter |
Fronting a new lineup of Hole 12 years after the band's last album, Courtney Love quickly erases any doubts about whether she's still one of the baddest chicks in rock. "You staggered here on broken glass/ So I could kick your scrawny ass," she taunts, snarl firmly intact, on "Skinny Little Bitch," the fierce first single. It's classic Courtney, in all her grunge glory. While the rest of the disc doesn't always pack the same vicious wallop-it's a bit heavy on power ballads-this is a welcome addition to Love's catalog. She gets some help from fellow '90s star Billy Corgan, who cowrote four cuts, including the ragged, Nirvana-esque "How Dirty Girls Get Clean." Meanwhile, Linda Perry, who co-wrote much of Love's 2004 solo disc America's Sweetheart, returns for five songs, among which is the confessional "Letter to God."
Sparks Fly |
With Miley Cyrus itching to ditch the tween crowd, Miranda Cosgrove, 16-year-old star of Nickelodeon's iCarly, has picked a smart time to make her full-length pop debut. And while Sparks Fly will hardly set the music world on fire, it finds Cosgrove holding her own with Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, if not the head Disney diva, Cyrus. Working with hitmakers like Dr. Luke, Max Martin and John Shanks (on the charmingly age-appropriate "Shakespeare"), she keeps things bubbling along.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Disgusting," a Ke$ha-cowritten electro whirl
I Am What I Am |
"I believe Jesus is God/ And a pig is just ham," sings Merle Haggard on the unapologetic title cut of his latest. At 73, the country great has an ease with himself that lends these tunes a grizzled grace. On another key track, "I've Seen It Go Away," he reflects on all that he's witnessed come and go in his life. Let's be glad he's still around.
All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu |
Never one to shy away from his arty side, Rufus Wainwright revels in theatricality on his latest, drawing inspiration from opera and the Bard. One song, "Les Feux d'artifice t'appellent," is the final aria from his debut opera, Prima Donna, while three tracks are Shakespearean sonnets he originally set to music for a stage production. As grandiose as that sounds, he brings the album to a beautifully intimate level with just voice, piano and some deeply personal lyrics (some inspired by folk-singer mom Kate McGarrigle's losing battle with cancer). Bravo.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Sad with What I Have," a melancholy heartbreaker
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