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New Music Releases For Nov. 17, Including John Mayer, Kris Allen, and Leona Lewis

What to Download: New Music Today

Time for more Tuesday entertainment! I've already shared a few new DVD releases to give your movie library a shot in the arm, but now, let's amp up your iPod. Big-name albums hit shelves today, so be sure to read up on these three. (And if you want to see your own music reviews featured on Buzz, submit them in the Music Review Group in the community!)

Fan-pleasing pop: American Idol fans rejoice: you've said that you're interested in post-AI albums, and now Kris Allen's anticipated self-titled debut is finally here. The song selections started a bit bland for me, but Allen picks up momentum with "The Truth" and the soft but moving ballad "Bring it Back." Both songs get needed oomph from orchestral accompaniment to create a sweeping sound that's sure to make Allen aficionados swoon. As for the rest of the album, it's predictable, but likable, much like the singer himself.

Why the sad face? Listening to John Mayer's latest, Battle Studies, you've got to wonder who ripped his heart out — Jessica Simpson? Jennifer Aniston? Every song is about a hurt guy who doesn't want to love again. Sensitive crooning isn't anything new to Mayer, but this time, it feels like mundane easy listening. I long for the days of "No Such Thing" when we had a more upbeat Mayer, or the Mayer who can riff on the guitar like nobody's business. But we don't really get either here. Still, it's worth noting his collaboration with Taylor Swift on "Half of My Heart," and my personal fave, "All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye."

See one more release when you


Diva in training: Leona Lewis burst onto the scene two years ago with "Bleeding Love," and now she returns with her sophomore follow-up to Spirit, Echo. Lewis hits the high notes — and she'll once again draw comparisons to Mariah Carey — but the lyrics don't always pack the same punch, and they often feel like recycled love musings. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see Lewis branch out of her usual comfort zone with the dance track "Outta My Head" and "Can't Breathe," which goes heavier on the R&B. If you've seen those Precious promos, you've heard another song from the album, "Happy," but it was recently announced that Lewis will be providing the title track for the film Avatar, so listen for her voice to show up there, too.

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