Travelling Like the Light
With infectious abandon, 26-year-old Brit singer Brown smashes together '50s cool, up-to-the-moment pop and R&B swagger to create one of the year's most engaging debuts. Like Amy Winehouse fronting OutKast or maybe Duffy collaborating with M.I.A., if the latter overdosed on the Ronettes, Brown rockets through 12 songs with effervescent charm. The subject matter -- heartbreak and those who perpetrate it; the record reportedly has its genesis in a failed affair -- is as timeless as the presentation is wonderfully fresh.
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Scratch My Back
The idea of Gabriel covering some of his favorite songs by such artists as David Bowie and Arcade Fire sounds a lot cooler than it turns out to be. Individually, there are some standout tracks here -- such as his take on Lou Reed's The Power of the Heart -- but, as a whole, the sameness of the musical approach (only piano and orchestra, no drums or guitar) is ultimately enervating instead of energizing. Still, it'll be intriguing to see what the proposed follow-up disc -- these artists covering Peter Gabriel songs -- is like.
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How many times will RCA re-release this famous Elvis Presley live disc? So long as the label keeps adding more bonus tracks and audio quality, fans won't care. Originally released in 1970 as a 10-song album, On Stage has seen a number of reissues. This Legacy Edition, which also includes the 1969 record Elvis in Person, comes in the form of a 32-track, two-CD set that covers the familiar and the covers that Presley favored after eight years of making movies.
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