Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Special’ is not that special

Mark Ronson’s new album, “Uptown Special,” opens with such promising notes — Stevie Wonder’s harmonica, playing so soulful and slow that the listener can’t help but settle in, ready and

Minaj’s ‘Pinkprint’ delivers grown-up complexity

Maybe we knew — even in 2010 — when Nicki Minaj released her debut set, that beneath the fluorescent wigs and zany accents, there resided a real-life grown-up. On some

MDT/AP Top 10 albums | Sam Smith’s ‘In The Lonely Hour’ reigns

2. "2014 Forest Hills Drive," J. Cole: J. Cole: Another honest man: J. Cole. The insanely talented rapper captures so much on his third album, tackling various topics from losing

D’Angelo’s ‘Black Messiah’ plays to message of rising up

The phrase “long-awaited album” gets tossed around quite a bit — slapped on sets delayed by a couple years, or a few measly months, even. But “Black Messiah,” D’Angelo’s follow-up

Gov’t Mule covers Pink Floyd on new live album

When you're playing music for 20 years with the caveat that no two shows will ever be the same, you had better write a lot of music, or cover some

Charli XCX’s sophomore CD is no ‘Sucker’

Charli XCX, the British artist with a penchant for teenage churlishness, knows a thing or two about warfare. With her second major label album, “Sucker,” she throws a smoke grenade

Wu-Tang look to cement legacy on new album

Old Dirty Bastard once proclaimed: Wu-Tang is for the children. On their sixth album, "A Better Tomorrow," U-God reinforces the sentiment: We "construct these jewels so they can live through

Turmoil helps AC/DC shine on new album

In 1980, AC/DC’s very existence was at stake: singer Bon Scott died just as the band was starting to get big. They used the uncertainty and grief to dig down

‘Prizefighter’ shows Yearwood’s range

Trisha Yearwood returns with her first new recordings in seven years with “Prizefighter,” which combines 10 of her best- known hits (“XXX’s and OOO’s,” ‘’She’s In Love With The Boy”) with

Pink Floyd say goodbye with ‘The Endless River’

Never was an album more aptly named than "The Endless River," the new — and seemingly final — release from Pink Floyd. It flows unstoppably, and while some listeners may

Some tracks work, others don’t

Collaborations between contemporary country artists and classic rock stars have become commonplace over the years. But the Doobie Brothers, with their accent on catchy choruses, close harmonies and traditional influences,

Flaming Lips fail with ‘Sgt. Pepper’ cover

Ever wonder what “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” would sound like sung by robots? Me neither, but here’s the answer. The Flaming Lips have recorded a full-length tribute to the

Jessie Ware cruises on sophomore album

Jessie Ware’s “Tough Love” is lovely, and that’s not a tepid endorsement. No, the English singer’s sophomore disc is lovely in the way of a sunset or a cruise around

Pianist Lang Lang tackles Mozart

This double-CD set is the first all-Mozart recording from the Chinese-born piano virtuoso Lang Lang, who at age 32 has achieved something approaching matinee idol popularity for his performances of

Streisand’s timeless ‘Partners’ soars

Barbra Streisand’s “Partners” isn’t just about star-powered duets, but partnerships of love and family. It’s a love album for the ages, as fit for your anniversary as your parents’ or

Opera’s Kaufmann turns to lighter fare

Is there anything Jonas Kaufmann can’t do? The great German tenor has long since conquered the worlds of grand opera and classical recital. Now he turns his talents with equal

No surprise the surprise U2 album shines

Everything about U2's new album “Songs of Innocence” is unexpected. Like its very existence, for one, after the Irish rock band dropped it on iTunes users Tuesday in a surprise

Ty Segall at height of his powers

In another time and collective mental headspace Ty Segall might have been a pop star. With his dreamy new album, "Manipulator," the Los Angeles psych rocker has perfected a sound

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