by Nancy Ford
The Fame Monster
The high-glam songstress’ irresistible double disc is a slick repackaging of 2008’s megahit “The Fame,” plus eight fashion runway-inspired new tunes. Includes “Telephone,“ an infectious, electronic duet with Beyoncé. Streamline/KonLive/Cherrytree/Interscope Records (ladygaga.com). —Preview: Nancy Ford
Reality Killed the Radio Star
This Aussie megastar with the ambiguously gay lyrics delivers 12 solid pop tunes with the assistance of megaproducer Trevor Horn, who wrote the 1979 prescient hit, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Its lush melodies and orchestration takes firm hold with its first track, “Morning Sun,” and never lets go. Astralwerks (robbiewilliams.com). —Review: N.F.
Stepping out from behind her piano to commandeer the guitar on her fourth album, Jones nonetheless stays true to her sultry, swingy, jazzy style. “Chasing Pirates” is a nice, light intro, with things steaming up with “I Wouldn’t Need You,” and the whimsical “Tell Yer Mama” reminds us that you can take the girl out of Austin, but you can’t take the Austin out of the girl. Blue Note Records (bluenote.com). —Review: N.F.
In Love & War
All’s fair on this energetic and funky CD that starts strong with “Tell Me You Love Me” and maintains the fever throughout. The Buchanans, who helped produce the platinum Korean/African-American singer/songwriter’s first two LP drops, are the masters behind the glitzy “Why R U.” The plinky piano on “Different People” is a nice attention-grabber. Def Jam Recordings (defjam.com). —Review: N.F.
To Connie . . . Love Jenna
Here we have a poodle skirt and puppy love tribute to one of the 20th century’s top vocalists. “Stupid Cupid,” “Lipstick on Your Collar,” and “Where the Boys Are” (and other now-campy C.F. hits) were recorded live in New York City’s Metropolitan Room. Good Fortune Records (jennaesposito.com). —Preview: N.F.
The velvet-voiced Lewis triumphs with her second album just as strongly as she did with 2008’s multi-platinum Spirit. It’s first single, “Happy,” is contagiously uplifting. Her collaboration with Justin Timberlake, “Don’t Let Me Down,” is one of many bright spots on this CD produced by Clive Davis and Simon Cowell. J Records (jrecords.com). —Review: N.F.
The sexy hip shaker bares her teeth and claws in both English and Spanish with this no-holds barred, almost double-CD of tasty dance tunes. But am I the only one who thinks the video for the title track strongly resembles a walk through a colonoscopy? Epic Records/Sony Music (shakira.com). —Preview: N.F.
Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich
Marcy & Zina: The Album
This talented duo won the 2009 Fred Ebb Award for excellence in musical-theater songwriting, a prize given to artists who have not yet hit the Big Time. With amusing cabaret novelty songs like “Taylor the Latte Boy,” the Big Time may soon be beckoning. Yellowsound Label (yellowsoundlabel.com). —Preview: N.F.
The first woman to be honored by Texas State legislature as official State Musician (2008), King well represents Lone Star crooners of both genders with this fine collection of country/folky tunes. “I Remember” shines with a pleasant gospel flavor. Lemonade Records (shelleyking.com). —Review: N.F.
The Real Definition: Workin’ Girl Remixes
This full-throated indie electronica/dance vocalist appeared at Houston’s HRC gala a couple years back, before releasing the throbbing “Workin’ Girl.” Her less pulse-pounding “I Don’t Wanna Sing That Song” displays a more pleasing, almost C&W-flavored flair. KK Music (kellyking.com). —Preview: N.F.
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