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New Music Releases For December 22, Including Mary J. Blige and The Flaming Lips

What to Download: New Music Today

I already shared some great new DVD offerings, and while it's slimmer pickings for music (no doubt due to the holidays), there are two releases that I'm particularly psyched about. Check them out! (Plus, don't forget that if you're loving a new album, you can sound off about it in the Music Review Group. I may even feature your writeup on the site!)

All Hail, Queen Mary: Mary J. Blige may have experienced a few Growing Pains, but with her ninth release, she shows us a woman who has come out on the other side of heartbreak and is even more powerful for it. Stronger With Each Tear has a breezy confidence to it that speaks to Blige's own feelings about herself at this stage in her life. Chances are you've heard "The One" featuring Drake in those AT&T ads, but I love it for its sort of cocky swagger, a persona which also pops up on the track "I Feel Good." For a more pensive, peaceful Blige, listen to the stripped down "Color" from the movie Precious. It's a beautiful, bluesy track.

Pink Floyd Redo: The Flaming Lips take on an ambitious project (and a similarly ambitious title) in The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing Dark Side of the Moon, where the band tackles the infamous Pink Floyd album through a series of covers (exclusively available only on iTunes this week). The Lips add their own modern psychedelic flavor to the old-school tracks with lots of experimental sounds, e.g. on "Money," they distort their own voices to give the song a robotic feel. Diehard Floyd followers will probably scoff at such tinkering with the classics, but the result feels like a fresh update — even though, like most remakes, it's difficult to do a one better than the original.

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