Trends may come and go, but real artists, like Aimee Mann, remain. On her new CD, @#%&*! Smilers highlights include the breezy "Freeway" and the bouncy "31 Today."
As the leader of the Wallflowers, Jakob Dylan was never too much his father's son. The resemblance was there, but he was no sound-a-like. But on his solo debut, Seeing Things, Dylan embraces all his inner stripped-down set of folk-pop tunes that let us see him as never before. The concise, 10-song cycle was produced by Rick Rubin, who has a knack for getting this sort of thing out of elder statesmen like Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. Now it's the next generation's turn.
As she prepares to kick off the second True Colors Tour, benefiting gay rights, Cyndi Lauper gets in step with the pulsating, anthemic dance music of gay clubs on her new disc, Bring Ya to the Brink. "Raging Storm," is an atmospheric rush.
On "You've Got the Love I Need," the vintage-'70s highlight of Al Green's new album, Lay It Down, the soul great teams up with Anthony Hamilton, probably the contemporary R&B singer who owes Green the biggest debt.
Clearly 3 Doors Down has had trouble establishing a strong identity. On their fourth studio album, 3 Doors Down, these guys can't decide if they're hard rockers, alt-rockers or pop-rockers. They do it all respectably but unremarkably. "It's Not My time," is a catchy, crunch single.