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Reviewed: Adele Toughens Up, Johnny Cash's Early Demos and More

Plus: Stream new music from Paul Simon, the Low Anthem, Toro Y Moi, Erykah Badu and Ashlyne Huff

February 22, 2011 10:35 AM ET
Reviewed: Adele Toughens Up, Johnny Cash's Early Demos and More

In this week's slate of new Rolling Stone reviews, Will Hermes praises the British soul singer Adele's fierce second album 21, noting that she has "toughened her tone, trimmed the jazz frippery and sounds ready for a pub fight." Jody Rosen is awe of From Memphis to Hollywood: Bootleg Vol. 2, declaring the new collection of early rarities from Johnny Cash "a jaw-dropping testament to the depth of the man's songbook." Jenny Eliscu reviewed the sophomore album by chillwave producer Toro Y Moi, which she says is groovier and prettier than the producer's hypnotic debut.

On the singles front, Hermes gives a thumbs up to Paul Simon's latest single "The Afterlife," which he says echoes the mix of wry, mellow pop and African guitars on his classic album Graceland, and Erika Berlin says that Ashlyne Huff's melodramatic new single "White Flag" compares favorably to hits by Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry.

ALBUMS

Adele - 21 (listen to the full album and watch a video interview)

Johnny Cash - From Memphis to Hollywood: Bootleg Vol. 2 (stream one song)

Toro Y Moi - Underneath the Pine (stream one song)

The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh (stream one song)

Patrick Stump - Truant Wave (stream one song)

SINGLES

Paul Simon - "The Afterlife" (stream)

Erykah Badu -  "Gone Baby, Don't Be Long" (stream)

Ashlyne Huff - "White Flag" (stream)

LAST WEEK: PJ Harvey's Spellbinding 'Let England Shake,' Lady Gaga's Instant-Classic Club Anthem 'Born This Way' and More

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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