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386 items by Jody Rosen

  • "Pocket Change"

    "Pocket Change" | SONG REVIEW

    The latest from the mighty Alabama Shakes is one of those special songs that feels like an archeological discovery – like a folk artifact, something singer Brittany Howard dug out of the loamy Alabama soil next to...

    June 7, 2013 1:25 PM ET
  • "Happy"

    "Happy" | SONG REVIEW

    The Pharrell revival is really revving up. Fresh off his "Get Lucky" star turn, the Neptunes singer-producer is at his breezy best on this standout from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack, curling his Curtis Mayfield-ish falsetto...

    June 7, 2013 1:20 PM ET
  • "Barbarians"

    "Barbarians" | SONG REVIEW

    This 17-piece New York dance orchestra was churning out period-perfect disco homages years before Daft Punk got lucky. Escort's latest finds them in fine form: Adeline Michèle belts and wails ("Stand up! Stand up! Bang your...

    June 7, 2013 1:15 PM ET
  • "Horizon"

    "Horizon" | SONG REVIEW

    Grab your hankies. This Japan-only Random Access Memories bonus track aims straight for the tear ducts – all sighing strings, cresting synths and high-lonesome guitar lines, whipped into a stirringly soppy instrumental. It sounds like...

    June 7, 2013 1:10 PM ET
  • "Someone Somewhere Tonight"

    "Someone Somewhere Tonight" | SONG REVIEW

    On 2012's surprisingly ace 100 Proof, this American Idol also-ran reinvented herself as a hard-drawling honky-tonk classicist. With "Someone Somewhere Tonight," her winning streak continues. Originally cut by Kenny Rogers, it's a widescreen power ballad with the...

    May 20, 2013 10:15 AM ET
  • "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)"

    "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)" | SONG REVIEW

    She's back, and she's better than everyone. That's the message, at least, of Hill's first single in a dog's age, cut to try to pay off her back taxes. Her quicksilver flow is impressive, rhymes piling up...

    May 20, 2013 10:10 AM ET
  • Demi

    Demi | ALBUM REVIEW

    The title of Demi Lovato's fourth LP promises a "personal" album, and Lovato gets songwriting credits on nine songs. But make no mistake: This is industrial-strength pop, and all the better for it. The songwriters include hitmaking...

    May 17, 2013 11:10 AM ET
  • Twelve Reasons to Die

    Twelve Reasons to Die | ALBUM REVIEW

    This "groundbreaking concept album" (as the press release calls it) tells the story of an internecine mafia war, which erupts when Ghostface Killah's alter ego, Tony Starks, an aspiring member of the Deluca crime family, falls in...

    May 8, 2013 10:10 AM ET
  • Acid Rap

    Acid Rap | ALBUM REVIEW

    Chance the Rapper doesn't hide his influences, or his ambitions. His rhyme flow at times baldly resembles Lil Wayne's or, at other times, Eminem's; his mainstream-but-iconoclastic posture draws inspiration from Kendrick Lamar and

    May 8, 2013 10:00 AM ET
  • Mother

    Mother | ALBUM REVIEW

    It's been a decade since Natalie Maines said a few choice words about George W. Bush and set off the biggest flame war in country-music history. Overnight, the Dixie Chicks became pariahs, and the role suited them:...

    May 7, 2013 12:30 AM ET
  • More Than Just a Dream

    More Than Just a Dream | ALBUM REVIEW

    This six-piece Los Angeles pop-soul group, led by studio engineer-turned-singer-songwriter Michael Fitzpatrick, is all about irrepressible energy: hopped-up rhythms, shout-it-out choruses, hooted background vocals. On their 2010 debut, Pickin' Up the Pieces, FATT were soul revivalists, and...

    May 7, 2013 12:10 AM ET
  • Annie Up

    Annie Up | ALBUM REVIEW

    There may be better bands than Pistol Annies, but what band is more of a hoot? The second LP by the all-female supergroup – Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley – is, like its 2011 debut,...

    May 7, 2013 12:05 AM ET
  • The Great Gatsby: Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film

    The Great Gatsby: Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film | ALBUM REVIEW

    This ain't your great-grandfather's West Egg. Jay-Z executive-produced this score, which infuses F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age tale with the sounds of the hip-hop age. The result is an unusually diverting mixtape, with an all-star lineup:...

    May 3, 2013 12:15 PM ET
  • Authentic

    Authentic | ALBUM REVIEW

    "Authentic"? What jive. LL Cool J is rap's longest-running act, and it's his pop savvy, his indifference to orthodoxy, his easygoing star power that've kept him going. On Authentic, LL's first LP not released by Def...

    April 30, 2013 12:00 AM ET
  • The Low Highway

    The Low Highway | ALBUM REVIEW

    You can hear the road in Steve Earle's voice, a craggy rumble with a whole lot of mileage on it. But that voice is also a finely cadenced instrument, perfect for the burly roots rock,

    April 22, 2013 1:53 PM ET
  • Twelve Reasons to Die

    Twelve Reasons to Die | ALBUM REVIEW

    This "groundbreaking concept album" (as the press release calls it) tells the story of an internecine mafia war, which erupts when Ghostface Killah's alter-ego, mobster Tony Starks, a member of the Deluca crime family, falls in love...

    April 18, 2013 5:50 PM ET
  • Overgrown

    Overgrown | ALBUM REVIEW

    On his 2011 debut, James Blake was a bedroom beat maestro with soul-singer ambitions: a composer of beautiful, somewhat blurry songlets that were spangled with dubstep bass groans and glitchy electronics. His new album marks a shift:...

    April 15, 2013 4:03 PM ET
  • "Come & Get It"

    "Come & Get It" | SONG REVIEW

    Call it Gomez's Justin Bieber breakup song if you want. The more accurate description, though, is "Rihanna-wannabe anthem." Stargate and Ester Dean, the team behind some of Rih's biggest smashes, have given Gomez the good stuff: an...

    April 15, 2013 2:15 PM ET
  • Victim of Love

    Victim of Love | ALBUM REVIEW

    Late-blooming soul belter Charles Bradley, who released his debut album in 2011 at the age of 62, is the best kind of retro act: a fully committed one. Victim of Love, Bradley's second LP, makes no bones...

    April 2, 2013 12:15 AM ET
  • Here’s Willy Moon

    Here’s Willy Moon | ALBUM REVIEW

    "Bo Diddley remixed by Swizz Beatz" is how this New Zealander describes his music, which is awesome, as an idea. His debut doesn't quite sound like that – Willy Moon's a frail flower compared with Diddley, and...

    April 2, 2013 12:10 AM ET
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