• John Mellencamp: No Better Than This

    John Mellencamp: No Better Than This

    The backstory of John Mellencamp’s No Better Than This is compelling: 13 songs written in thirteen consecutive fevered days, T Bone Burnett enlisted as producer, and recording done at three legendary American shrines—the Sun Studio ...
  • Sade: Soldier of Love

    Sade: Soldier of Love

    Her first studio recording in a decade— and third comeback—shows Nigerian- British chanteuse Sade Adu still has the stuff. The danceable hip-hop-inflected title track thaws Sade’s ultra-cool, ice- princess image and already has carried this ...
  • Elvis Presley: Elvis 75

    Elvis Presley: Elvis 75

    The year 2010 marks the occasion of the Hillbilly Cat’s 75th birthday (how hard is it to imagine a 75-year-old Elvis Presley?), and with it comes a proper salute: four CDs (100 songs) of career ...
  • Dierks Bentley: Up On The Ridge

    Dierks Bentley: Up On The Ridge

    Dierks Bentley warned that Up On The Ridge would be more bluegrass-inspired than hardcore bluegrass, and he wasn’t just bumpin’ his gums, as Dizzy Dean would say. A gritty, driving, rock ’n’ roll edge informs ...
  • Carole King: The Essential Carole King

    Carole King: The Essential Carole King

    The Essential Carole King is not your typical “greatest hits” package. Although this collection contains plenty of hits—King, after all, is fully or partially responsible for a startling number of chart-topping songs—the word “essential” suggests ...
  • Tom Waits: Glitter & Doom Live

    Tom Waits: Glitter & Doom Live

    No album could truly hope to recreate the rarified experience of seeing Tom Waits live. Onstage, the 59-year-old makes magic from dime store props (pockets full of glitter, a giant magnifying glass), primal-yet-dramatic lighting, and ...
  • Levon Helm: Electric Dirt

    Levon Helm: Electric Dirt

    Editor's note: This review was written in 2009, before Helm's death in April 2012. At age 69, Levon Helm sings like a geezer from another era—say, the Great Depression. Which is another way of saying ...
  • Aaron Neville: My True Story

    Aaron Neville: My True Story

    Grammy-winning vocalist Aaron Neville likens the doo-wop songs he heard while growing up to “medicine” that pulled him off the mean streets of New Orleans. His first national hit, 1967’s R&B classic “Tell It Like ...
  • The Essential Zappa

    The Essential Zappa

    “The manner in which people consume music has a lot to do with leaving it on their coffee tables or using it for wallpaper for their lifestyles, like the score of a movie,” visionary composer, ...
  • Pearl Jam: Backspacer

    Pearl Jam: Backspacer

    If the recent deluxe edition of Pearl Jam’s Ten reminded audiences of the band’s prior glory, then Backspacer serves notice that—even two decades into its career— the Seattle quintet remains a vital, vibrant unit. The ...

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