Picks and Pans Main: Music

UPDATED 06/07/2010 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/07/2010 at 01:00 AM EDT

Jack Johnson

To the Sea |

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FOLK-POP

On his fifth studio album, Jack Johnson kicks up some sand and rocks out a little. Cranking up the guitars, the folk-popster gives more bite to tracks like "You and Your Heart," the infectious first single on which he chides, "You and your heart/ Shouldn't feel so far apart." "At or with Me" packs even more of a muscular punch, with Johnson sounding unusually testy as he asks, "Are they laughing at or with me?" But don't let the longer hair fool you: This is no headbanger's ball. Johnson is still at heart the same mellow surfer dude he's always been, sharing his love for the water on the title cut and "Only the Ocean." Beach-ready tunes like these fit him as comfortably as a pair of boardshorts.

Rihanna

Rated R Remixed |

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DANCE

While these dance remixes can't really improve upon the original tracks on Rihanna's career album, 2009's Rated R, they keep this disc pumping with hard tech-no beats. As overhauled by producer Chew Fu, songs like "Russian Roulette" go deep into the darkness of the club underworld. Best is a sinister riff on "G4L," which is wicked indeed.

Marina & the Diamonds

The Family Jewels |

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CRITIC'S CHOICE

ALT-POP

The Family Jewels, the full-length debut from the U.K.'s Marina Diamandis, delivers alt-pop gems on which she emerges as the missing link between Lady Gaga and Florence + the Machine. Like the latter, Marina owes a big debt to Kate Bush, but she maintains a sparkle all her own.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Shampain," a pulsating dance track bubbling over with synths

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