BEST NEW ALBUMS:
Mika - No Place in
On his fabulous fourth album, England’s prince of glam-dance-pop hits all the right buttons for summer. It opens with the sugar rush of “Talk About You” and soon moves into such handclapping melodic delights as “All She Wants” and the Broadway-inspired “Oh Girl You’re the Devil.” He also shows his bilingual talents on such catchy French songs as “Boum Boum Boum,” already a chart-topper in France.
Neil Young + Promise of the Real - The Monsanto
At this point in his storied career, when the iconic rocker gets on a new hobby horse he still attracts supporters. On this collection of sharply worded, environmentally-themed protest songs, Neil takes aim at the agrochemical multinational corporation named in the album title and big-box chains like Walmart and Starbucks. Backed by Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah, he tackles subjects like worker exploitation and genetically modified foods, never minces words and is, admirably, unafraid to name names.
OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES:
Miguel - Wildheart
He’s been called Barry White with a falsetto and there’s certainly plenty of unadulterated bedroom vibes on R&B star Miguel’s third album, especially on “Flesh,” “The Valley” and the sultry, breakfast-in-bed nugget “Coffee.”
- Coming Home
Channeling Sam Cooke, this breakout artist from Dallas has cornered the market on this summer’s sweetest soul sounds, from “Smooth Sailin’” and “Better Man” to the light, breezy and impossible-to-resist title track.
- Ghost Notes
The alt-rock favorites reunited for their fifth album, but opted to slow things down on most tracks, like “The Sound of Leaving,” saving their best slashing guitars and sneering vocals for “Laughing at the Sugar Bowl.”
- Working Girl
With songs like “Business Pleasure” and “Get Things Done,” disco queen Little Boots (aka Victoria Hesketh) may appear to be obsessed with work, but manages to have fun on “Better in the Morning” and gets innovative on “Taste It.”