New Reviews: Justin Bieber, She and Him, Goldfrapp, Mose Allison

March 23, 2010 5:29 PM ET

If you've noticed a surge in tweenage foot traffic in your local shopping mall today, it must mean one thing: Justin Bieber has a new album out. The 16-year-old Canadian crooner's My World 2.0, which earned a three-star review from Rolling Stone, has arrived. "This isn't just cheesy teeny-bopper music — it's classically, sublimely cheesy teeny-bopper music," Jody Rosen writes in his review, adding songs like hit single "Baby" has more in common with jukebox doo-wop classics than the usual Radio Disney fare. "With much help from A-list songwriters and producers (Bryan-Michael Cox, Benny Blanco) and guest stars (Ludacris, Sean Kingston), Bieber has made a filler-free album." Expect My World 2.0 to top next week's Billboard 200 by a comfortable cushion.

Also out this week is the second collaboration between She and Him, or Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, Volume Two. Like She and Him's first volume, "The duo's impeccably assembled retro pop is unmistakably regional, with puckish hooks and reverb-heavy production that recall California dreamers like the Mamas and the Papas," Rosen writes in his three-and-a-half star review. Highlights include first single "In the Sun," "I'm Gonna Make it Better" and covers of Skeeter Davis' "Gonna Get Along Without You Now" and NBRQ's "Ridin' in My Care."

The shape-shifting Goldfrapp have never been a band to cling to a set genre, and after experimenting with a more organic sound with their previous LP Seventh Tree, the duo of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory return to the synth-pop of their earlier albums with their new set Head First. However, the shift only scored them a two-and-a-half star rating from RS. "This may be the most lovingly detailed synth-pop album since the golden days of Yaz and Kim Carnes," Will Hermes writes in his review. "Yet expert execution doesn't always signal a good idea."

Finally, jazz legend Mose Allison unveils his new album The Way of the World this week. For more on the 82-year-old's latest and much more on the new albums in stores now, check out our Album Reviews section.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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