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Rocky horror: There's been a ton of curiosity surrounding Lil Wayne's long-delayed Rebirth — why does Lil Wayne need a rock album?! After giving it a listen, I'm asking myself just that. The rapper channels his inner '80s hair band, tapping into heavy metal complete with the screaming singing (e.g., on "Ground Zero," which is the Lil Wayne equivalent of mosh pit music). On "Drop the World" he gets some help from Eminem, which makes it worth checking out, but the rest of the tracks consist of typical rap lyrics forced into a genre that just doesn't fit.
A smooth, soulful debut: Nick Jonas's side project, Nick Jonas & the Administration, make their first outing with Who I Am. The album automatically establishes what the band is about: simple, easygoing pop. Several songs remind me of John Mayer circa Room for Squares, including the title track and "Olive & an Arrow," a romantic, bluesier number featuring a guitar solo. For someone who's only 17, Jonas leans toward the adult easy-listening crowd here, which may not appeal to younger fans. But man, does his falsetto sound good.