×
Rhapsody App for
Rhapsody International, Inc.
Get app Have the app
356x237

by Linda Ryan

May 20, 2014

New Release Sampler, 5/20/14

by Linda Ryan  |  May 20, 2014

With summer right around the corner, things are heating up in the world of music. Judging by the singles released this week, gears are shifting to upbeat, summer-weather music -- the kind best for blaring at the beach or booming from a convertible. Sound good? Then check out new singles from La Roux ("Let Me Down Gently"), 50 Cent ("Big Rich Town," featuring Joe), Röyksopp ("Do It Again," featuring Robyn), Lupe Fiasco ("Mission") and Jerrod Niemann ("Drink to That All Night," featuring Pitbull). We've got plenty of full-length albums as well, including new releases from Conor Oberst, Phillip Phillips, Afrojack, The Roots, Brantley Gilbert, Chatham County Line and Luis Fonsi, among many others. For something a little more classic, R.E.M. has released an offering from their early days, titled Complete Rarities I.R.S. 1982 – 1987, to help you fall in love with jangle-pop gems such as "Gardening at Night" and "Ages of You" all over again … or for the first time. Another special release comes from Green Day, whose Demolicious consists of demos recorded in 2012. Originally released on vinyl for Record Store Day, the collection is now available digitally. Hit play and explore all these releases and more, plus check out reviews from our editors of the five must-hear new albums below.

Phillip Phillips, Behind the Light
What made Phillip Phillips' 2012 debut, The World from the Side of the Moon, such a runaway success is how the precocious singer-songwriter (and American Idol champ) married an American pop rock sound à la Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson to dramatically sweeping choruses inspired by British acts such as Coldplay and Snow Patrol. Behind the Light certainly is a continuation of this approach, yet the sophomore effort also sounds more confident and expressive. The propulsive lead single, "Raging Fire," is solid proof of this; so are "Alive Again" and the tastefully orchestral "Fool for You." -- Justin Farrar

The Roots, ... And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
Much like The Roots' 2011 album undun, this is a suite of orchestral blues about people at their breaking point. Greek chorus-like vocals by Patty Crash, Raheem DeVaughn and Mercedes Martinez underline that this is a societal tragedy, but DeVaughn's "Tomorrow" offers optimism, too. Meanwhile, Black Thought, Greg Porn and Dice Raw personify the characters' frustrations on "Understand" and "Black Rock," perhaps the album's most straight-up hip-hop track. This is an art piece that rewards repeat listens, but its studious idiosyncrasies may dissuade some from making the journey. -- Mosi Reeves

Conor Oberst, Upside Down Mountain
As the child's-giggle of an image in the album's title, Oberst's third record under his own name is one of the lightest records he's ever made. The comical wah guitar cuts the seriousness of the beautiful waltz "Double Life," which features one of the catchiest refrains of his career: "There's an honest life on the other side." It's followed by the New Wave guitar rock of "Kick," which talks about "the trappings of a name you never want to escape." If he's having the usual singer-songwriter's midcareer crisis, he's dead set on proving there are still "Hundreds of Ways" to express it. -- Dan Weiss

Afrojack, Forget the World
Since Swedish House Mafia broke up, no one better personifies the crossover between big-tent EDM and radio-ready pop than Afrojack. And that's precisely where his debut album is aimed: It's full of sturdy, four-to-the-floor beats, buzzing synths and soaring topline melodies. The fact that both Sting and Snoop Dogg guest says something about Afrojack's universalist ambitions; other featured vocalists include pop journeyman Matthew Koma and relative newcomers Wrabel and Jack McManus. Despite Afrojack's hard-partying rep, songs like the contemplative "Too Wild" showcase his softer, soberer side. -- Philip Sherburne

Brantley Gilbert, Just As I Am
After a much publicized breakup with fiancée Jana Kramer, Brantley Gilbert has come back swinging -- or, in this case, rocking harder than ever. "If You Want a Bad Boy" is a slinky, swaggering opener about good girls and the boys from the wrong side of the tracks who tempt them. It's a bombastic ode to trouble, complete with a Guns N' Roses-esque guitar solo. (Speaking of, check out "My Baby's Guns N' Roses," too.) Just As I Am is a raucous taste of dense, country-tinged rock. Still, some of the highlights are the slowest offerings, like "17 Again," "I'm Gone" and "One Hell of an Amen." -- Linda Ryan

Related Posts

Playlist

Related Posts

Listen anytime, anywhere
and discover more music with a free 14 day trial.