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by Rob Harvilla

April 30, 2013

The Inbox: Kenny Chesney, LL Cool J and more

by Rob Harvilla  |  April 30, 2013

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.

Escapist Beach-Bum Country Jams for Folks Who Own Margarita Makers That Cost $500 or More:

Kenny Chesney, Life on a Rock
The escapist's escapist, Kenny Chesney has always preferred the beach to the boulevard, and Life on a Rock shows no signs of change. Where "When I See This Bar" (the one with bongos) tells the story of a resort watering hole, "Marley" (the one with both bongos and steel drums) finds our man on a boat listening to reggae. "Spread the Love," meanwhile, actually is reggae. [Nick Murray]

Wise, Wily, Grown-Man Hip-Hop from a Deified Emcee Already Well on His Way to Making You Forget He Was Partially Responsible for "Accidental Racist":

LL Cool J, Authentic
The key song here is "Closer," wherein LL Cool J argues why he still makes music: "LL, grown ass man/ Couldn't give a damn if a young boy's my fan/ As long as his momma two-step to my jam." He still spits honest lyrics, and manages to expand his repertoire of battle raps and R&B jams. [Mosi Reeves]

Vintage, Dusty-Voiced Modern Soul for Those for Whom This Is an Image of Heaven:

Alice Russell, To Dust
For the past decade, Alice Russell's grainy, husky voice has drawn admiration that includes favorable comparisons to Dusty Springfield. She's in her comfort zone with longtime producer TM Juke on To Dust, mixing classic funk and soul with occasional forays into synthesized R&B like "For a While." [M.R.]

Punk Lifers Who Still Mix Whimsy with Ferocity Just as Effectively as a Cat in a Shark Suit on a Roomba Chasing a Duck:

Iggy & the Stooges, Ready to Die
Despite guitarist James Williamson's return after 40 years, lending a recognizable tone during a few intros, Ready to Die still feels more like an Iggy solo album. "Dirty Deal" probably dances closest to the old raw power; elsewhere, occasional handclaps and saxes try hard to. [Chuck Eddy]

Bubblegum Goth Glam with Both Pop Smarts and Deep-Seated Menace, as Befits the Reign of Joffrey Beiber:

HIM, Tears on Tape
The bubblegum goth-glam these Finnish fellows call "love metal" feels even lighter on their eighth album than it used to -- as flouncy as Suede or Placebo, and downright featherlike in "Into the Night." But they still make sure to stick some sanitized Sabbath riffs ("Hearts at War," "W.L.S.T.D") between the more Adam Lambert material, and they swipe real pretty melodies. [C.E.]

Glossy Electro-Folk Splendor Nostalgic and Captivating Enough That You'll Forgive Them for Not Covering This:

Daughter, If You Leave
Anyone with vivid memories of Beth Orton crooning over the tail of the Chemical Brothers' Dig Your Own Hole as shards of backward synth washed over her like crashing waves will feel a serious tinge of nostalgia at "Winter," the opening track on Daughter's full-length debut. A familiar folk sound through a 2013 lens. [Dan Weiss]

Dramatic, Soothing Indie Pop Grandeur for Those Who Lack Access to Therapy Llamas:

The Airborne Toxic Event, Such Hot Blood
If melodrama's the game, shoot for the skies -- namely, release the feeling that "grows inside of you like a cancer" to rhyme with "answer." The Airborne Toxic Event proved themselves theatrical rockers extraordinaire on their excellent debut single, "Sometime Around Midnight," and that same kind of compressed-tension buildup informs their third set of darkness-obsessed tunes. [D.W.]

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