Matt Alber, Jennifer Hudson, Jason & deMarco, Jason & deMarco, Rizi Timané, and more.
The classically trained out singer breaks away from Chanticleer, the Grammy Award-winning a capella ensemble, with this autobiographical and sentimental collection of lush, dreamy, pop love songs. Silver Label/Tommy Boy www.tommyboy.com. —Preview: Nancy Ford
Famed producer Ne-Yo authored the breakout single “Spotlight” on this respectable debut album. Includes Hudson’s Dreamgirls vehicle to the big-time, “And I Am Telling You.” Arista www.arista.com —Preview: N.F.
Jason & deMarco
The partners on stage and in life who first made a name in gospel circles go semi-secular; about half the tunes here are spiritual in nature, including “It’s Okay” from their Showtime documentary, We’re All Angels. RJN Music www.centaurmusic.com. —Preview: N.F.
Closer: The Best of Sarah MacLachlan
One of the very best things about the ’90s, undeniably, was the emergence of the genius of MacLachlan. Here she delivers 14 of her top hits and tosses in two new tunes for good measure. Delectably, achingly nostalgic. Arista Records www.arista.com. —Review: N.F.
Just the Way You Are
The extraordinarily beautiful and “radical out lesbian” Nigerian singer delivers joyful gay-affirming contemporary gospel with a touch of house. If Grace Jones got Jesu-fied, she’d be Rizi. Self-produced www.rizigospel.com. —Review: N.F.
Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia
Get your groove on with four full discs’ worth of the soulful ‘70s sounds of The O’Jays, Stylistics, Spinners, Manhattans, Dusty Springfield, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, and many others. Legacy www.sonybmg.com. —Preview: N.F.
Harlem 1 Stop
The only thing better than BJ’s fetching CD cover art is the exuberant, anthemy, whoop-whoop electronica/dance music found therein. “And I Try” and the angry “Fuq-U” are most fun. Tommy Boy www.tommyboy.com. —Review: N.F.
Stage Door Johnny
The renowned NYC bassist gives a dozen Broadway standards a jazzy yet folksy makeover on his first solo CD, prompting Paul Shaffer to call the collection “fresh, new, and invigorating.” That’s good enough for us. PS Classics www.psclassics.com. —Preview: N.F.
Call me a prude, but despite this CD’s infectious danceability, I don’t want my little girl singing, “When I grow up, I wanna have boobies.” Guess it’s a good thing I don’t have a little girl. Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott, and R. Kelly guest. Interscope www.pcdmusic.com. —Preview: N.F.
This retro-rific pop collection reaching back to the ’70s will have you stepping into those platform shoes and slipping on that body-hugging polyester disco shirt. Superfly lives! Interscope www.interscope.com. —Review: N.F.
Lee Ann Womack
Call Me Crazy
One of the things we love about Womack is that she is straight up, unapologetically country, consistently serving up just the right balance of twang and sentimentality. Her solid rendition of the super-standard “King of Broken Hearts” here is a good example. MCA Nashville Records www.mca.com. —Review: N.F.
Louisiana-born Lucinda Williams goes for nine with this latest album, confirming why she’s one of the most enduring blues-rockers of our time. Elvis Costello joins Williams for a duet on “Jailhouse Tears,” but her re-do of AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top” whimsically, ironically caps the whole collection. Lost Highway Records www.losthighwayrecords.com. —Review: N.F.