Picks and Pans Main: Music

updated 05/16/2011 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/2011 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jennifer Lopez LOVE? |

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DANCE-POP

"It's a new generation of party people," declares Jennifer Lopez on "On the Floor," the Pitbull-assisted hit that kicks off her seventh studio album. Indeed, the diva seems determined to rock the clubs for a whole new audience that now watches her every week on American Idol but can hardly remember "If You Had My Love," her debut single that went No. 1 way back in 1999. At its booty-shaking best, LOVE? updates the dance-pop of "Waiting for Tonight" for the Gaga crowd, while adding Lopez's own Latin flavor to pumping jams like "Papi." The top tracks are "Good Hit," which finds Lopez making like an Auto-Tuned Lisa Lisa, and "Invading My Mind," an electro whirl coproduced by Lady Gaga (who also cowrote "Hypnotico"). If Lopez had cut back on the midtempo hip-pop numbers and skipped the ballads altogether, she could have really killed it. Still, as she plays judge on Idol, this shows that she's not done as an artist herself.

Beastie Boys

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two |

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HIP-HOP

Ten years after her last solo studio album, Stevie Nicks is ever the enchantress, bewitching with songs that travel across time ("Secret Love," written in '76 about a clandestine affair she had) and place ("New Orleans," inspired by Katrina). She also transports between fantasy-see the New Moon-influenced "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)"-and harsh reality (the war-themed "Soldier's Angel"). The latter enlists Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham, but it's Eurythmic Dave Stewart who, cowriting and coproducing, really makes a dream team with Nicks.

Stevie Nicks

In Your Dreams |

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POP ROCK

CRITIC' CHOICE!

In the star-studded video for "Make Some Noise"-the funky-fresh lead single off their first vocal album since 2004 (after 2007's instrumental The Mix-Up)-the Beastie Boys nostalgically revisit the spirit of "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)." They keep the old-school vibe in effect for this hip-hop collage (whose release precedes the delayed Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1). You'll swear you've hitched a time machine back to 1986! But Hot Sauce cools off a bit in its second half, and there's something a little disturbing about fortysomething men rapping about stuff like a "Funky Donkey" after one of them (Adam Yauch) has battled cancer. Even Beastie Boys have to grow up at some point.

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