Tuesdays are big in entertainmentville: not only do all the new DVD releases hit Netflix, but new music also pours into stores. So I take a spin through each week's music releases and pick out some albums and tracks worthy of a download.
An amicable breakup: I thought Scarlett Johansson's album of Tom Waits covers was just OK, but her second effort really showcases her vocal talent. Paired with alt-country artist Pete Yorn, the two created Break Up, an album inspired by the '60s-era recordings of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot. Despite its title, the record is surprisingly upbeat. Many of you enjoyed the first single, the retro-twangy "Relator," when it debuted in May, and ultimately, it's still my favorite track. The rest of the album sounds more run-of-the-mill, but Johansson's sultry voice adds a lot of flavor to Yorn's music. Also worth hearing: "Clean" and "Wear and Tear."
Rebel yell: I wasn't that familiar with UK band Muse, but their performance at Sunday's VMAs was foot-thumping fun. (Some of you even said they were your favorite act.) Now comes their fifth studio release, The Resistance. My favorite track, "United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage," is reminiscent of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," and the entire album has a similar rock opera feeling. The guys are reportedly contributing to the New Moon soundtrack, but until then, check out "Eurasia," "Unnatural Selection," and "Uprising."
One more up next, so
One giant leap: Kid Cudi was another VMA performer, and even though I've been hearing his name for a while — he contributed to Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak album last year and is on Kanye's label — Cudi's promising debut, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, hit stores today. Like his mentor, Cudi tries his hand at "conceptual" music, using this album to tell personal stories in the context of nightmares, and he mixes in every genre from hip-hop to rap to electronic. Fans of 808s and Heartbreak should check this one out, but I think Cudi is at his strongest when he collaborates. "Pursuit of Happiness" is a track featuring MGMT and Ratatat, and "Make Her Say," which samples Lady GaGa's "Poker Face," gets help from Common and Kanye.