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The Inbox

The Inbox: Black Sabbath, The Lonely Island and More

by Rob Harvilla

The Inbox: Black Sabbath, The Lonely Island and More

Welcome to The Inbox, a recurring feature in which we take a spin through the week's hottest new releases (along with a bit of Rhapsody's own reviews) and pair each album with the weirdest, coolest, (sometimes unintentionally) funniest stuff we can find on the Internet. Enjoy.

A 35-Years-in-the-Making Reunion Triumph from Heavy Metal Gods Who Still at Least Flirt With Worshipping You-Know-Who:

Black Sabbath, 13
Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler hold up their end on Sab's first Ozzyfied studio set in 35 years; guitar and bass riffs sound as inexorable as you'd hope, and grimier than you'd expect. Without Bill Ward drumming, though, the bottom feels floppy and waterlogged. And Oz's gig has been self-parody forever: rhyme "tomb," "gloom" and "doom"? Check! [Chuck Eddy]

Emo Godfathers Rule the Mall Once Again as the Undisputed Masters of the Deceptively Challenging Rock Band Guitar Solo:

Jimmy Eat World, Damage
Jimmy Eat World's eighth album is their simplest record since before you probably knew who they were. Damage is out-the-gate with the jangle pop of "Appreciation" and hardly lets up for a cinched 38 minutes, peaking in the second act with the ultra-melodic "How'd You Have Me" and "No, Never," which, of all things, marries Prince's "1999" and Liz Phair's "Never Said." [Dan Weiss]

Virally Hilarious Rap Parodies From a Trio With Enough Star Power to Collaborate With Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga and Alanis:

The Lonely Island, The Wack Album
This trio of talented, loveable goofs continues to prove their cachet with a ridiculously star-studded cast on their third release… but maybe more fascinating than Kendrick Lamar rapping about low-risk 401Ks, Billie Joe Armstrong playing mayor of NY, or JT and Gaga clarifying ménage à trois etiquette are the nonstop pop-culture references. [Stephanie Benson]

A Star-Studded Celebration of Great Moments in Background Singers, Because the Isolated-Vocals Version of "Gimme Shelter" Is Awesome:

Various Artists, 20 Feet From Stardom Soundtrack
You've heard most of the songs on this comp. But, like the fascinating documentary it soundtracks, what 20 Feet from Stardom asks you to do is listen to them from a different angle, one just outside the spotlight, where backup vocalists have spent their lives standing. These skilled artists added style, nuance and oomph to every song they touched. [Rachel Devitt]

Grown-Up Boy Band Grandeur That Oughta Shake Up Anyone Whose Primary Association With Nickelodeon Is Still This:

Big Time Rush, 24/Seven
In the years between Big Time Rush's second and third album, a boy band explosion went off. So the made-for-Nickelodeon band seems to be trying to set itself apart by emphasizing its ... Nickelodeon-ness. Gone are the funkiness and hip-hop cameos of Elevate; these boys don't touch the up-all-night clubbiness of their new colleagues either. [Rachel Devitt]

Classy, Underrated Jams From the Only R&B Singer to Devote an Entire Mixtape to Audrey Hepburn:

Chrisette Michele, Better
Being stuck between the futurist musings of Erykah Badu and the populist ballads of Ledisi has left Chrisette Michele saddled with the unfortunate "underrated" tag. She's not a singles artist, so it takes a deep dive into Better to appreciate how she adapts her voice to fit a song, whether it's a pleading strain on "Let Me Win" or a coyly dismissive lilt on "Charades." [Mosi Reeves]

Fuzzy Power Pop Majesty From Young Dudes Whose Band Name Makes You Want to Get a Bigger Boat:

Surfer Blood, Pythons
John Paul Pitts is quietly establishing himself as a pop maestro. On Pythons, Surfer Blood's second album, he bucks anything that could be accused of trendy. From the power-pop twists of "Demon Dance" to the twin-lead guitar mazes of "Weird Shapes," he's only interested in finding the perfect pop song, and he gets close here on an album as tight and catchy as classic New Pornographers. [Dan Weiss]

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