- Jennifer Hudson Jennifer Hudson
I don’t want to hate on American Apparel, because I love it, but seriously, Oscar-winning Jennifer Hudson needs to fire her stylist. On the cover of her first solo record, she’s in a basic dress that hipsters have been humping in for years — boring! She’s too fabulous for that fashion faux pas! Maybe she’s just surrounding herself with the wrong kind of people, like her fiancé, Punk, from VH1’s “I Love New York 2.” Anyway, my apologies for putting the look over the sound, but the music isn’t much to write about. It’s just Top 40-style R&B. Still, she’s got a great voice and I’m sure you’ll be hearing “Spotlight” while you’re shopping at your drug store in the near future.
- Ben Folds Way To Normal
Piano man Ben Folds is flying solo since both his divorce from his thrd wife and the well-known band, Ben Folds 5. But the uber-romantic Ben still has something to sing about. The album is surprisingly upbeat despite tracks titled “Hiroshima” and “Bitch Went Nutz.” You could even clap along to a song like “You Don’t Know Me At All,” a duet that wonders how you can live with and love someone who doesn’t really get you. Sounds like the best therapy is singing with chanteuse Regina Spektor!
- T.I. Paper Trail
Almost a year after he was arrested for trying to buy a machine gun in his hometown of Atlanta, TI has gotten something better on the record. Paper Trails is so chill, it’s a wonder the dude can even get angry enough for automatic weapons! The slowest song on the album goes out to all his haters. In “Whatever You Like,” he gallantly offers his girlfriend anything his money can buy her. Needless to say, we’re sure his lawyers are pleased with this album in his defense.
- Robin Thicke Something Else
Robin Thicke, the real son from the dad on “Growing Pains”, has released another record and it’s made for baby-making. Light and jazzy, with a new lounge singer look, Thicke still stays true to the bluesy, long-haired pop star we fell for on “When I Get You Alone.” You can get in the Thicke of it live, while he’s on tour with Mary J. Blige.
- Ani DiFranco Red Letter Year
The self-releasing folk star (no, that’s not a masturbation euphemism — she owns her own label, “Righteous Babe Records”) has just put out a record about loving her partner/producer Mike Napolitano and their new baby girl. Oddly enough, the counterculture icon sounds happiest as a wife and mother!
- “Iron Man”
Robert Downey, Jr., all buff, in a skintight suit saving the world — does it get any better than that?! Well, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow also star in the movie version of the Marvel Comics’ classic directed by Jon Favreau. Even if you’re not into superhero movies, this one is worth seeing.
- “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”
Paul Rudd, Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis and MTV’s sweetheart, Russell Brand, star in this hilarious rom-com about a man trying to forget his ex. Superstar “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” producer Judd Apatow has done it again!
- “Lou Reed: Berlin”
Lou Reed, the former front man of the Velvet Underground with a just as influential solo career, performed one of his tomes, “Berlin”, in front of a live audience a couple years back in Brooklyn. Luckily, acclaimed director Julian Schnabel was there to capture it all. Reed is just as rockin’ at 60 as he was in the ’60s.
- “Tori Amos: Live At Montreaux 1991-1992″
A few months before her seminal album “Little Earthquakes” came out, the singer performed the songs live at this acclaimed music festival. She played classics like “Silent All These Years” and “Happy Phantom”, as well as covers like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Both a CD and a DVD, it will make you feel pubescent all over again.