"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Music Downloads

Jason Mraz's third studio album, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, goes by smoothly. Mraz, a real pop craftsman, makes it sound easy, seamlessly, weaving jazz and funk. "Details in the Fabric," is a beautifully textured ballad.

Neil Diamond's last album, 2005's 12 Songs, was a real revelation, paring the singer-songwriter with Rick Rubin. The two reunite for this stellar sequel, Home Before Dark, which once again finds Diamond, 67, channeling the spirit of another Rubin client, the late Johnny Cash. The stripped-down tunes reveal the naked emotion of Diamond, who brings it down-home on a divine love song, "Pretty Amazing Grace."

Donna Summer announces her return to the music scene with her first album, Crayons, of new materials since 1991. "I'm a Fire," is a dance-floor sizzler.

It must be something in the water. Following Joss Stone and Amy Winehouse, Duffy is the latest retro-soul chanteuse to emerge from the U.K.'s deep talent pool. Her latest CD, Rockferry, couldn't ask for a much better introduction than "Mercy." A '60s-girl-group throwback grooving with a "Stand by Me"-style bass line.

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