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New CDs from David Byrne and Fatboy Slim; Sharon Jones; Alan Jackson

Posted 6:04pm on Wednesday, Apr. 07, 2010

David Byrne & Fatboy Slim

Here Lies Love

A two-disc, 22-track concept album about the life of Imelda Marcos featuring a slew of female vocalists and overseen by the unlikely pair of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim? Sure, why not: Byrne, in particular, is nothing if not a groundbreaker, restlessly toying with ideas. Utilizing their top-notch cast (including Annie Clark, Tori Amos, Nellie McKay and Cyndi Lauper) and disco-tinged beats, Byrne and Fatboy Slim construct an immersive, if slightly odd, epic.

Download this: Seven Years

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

I Learned the Hard Way

Jones is nowhere near the secret she was upon the release of 2007's 100 Days, 100 Nights. The eminently earthy vocalist has popped up all over; from Michael Bublé to Phish, a variety of performers have enlisted Jones' singular sound. I Learned the Hard Way doesn't deviate from the revivalist formula -- these dozen songs could've just as easily been cut in the early '60s -- although the sunshine of Days is obscured here by several dark nights of the soul, as evidenced by grimacing cuts like She Ain't a Child No More.

Download this: Give It Back

Alan Jackson

Freight Train

On the 20th anniversary of his debut album, Jackson continues to prove consistency need not equal complacency. After a few years of challenging himself with side roads that explored traditional gospel, adult-contemporary love songs, and a wide-ranging collection of songs he wrote himself, Jackson settles back into his comfort zone on Freight Train. Everything seems so casually offhand that it's almost easy to miss the wisdom of the lyrics and the catchiness of the melodies.

Download this: Freight Train

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