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Picks and Pans Main: Music

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Symphonicities |


Since beginning his post-Police solo career 25 years ago, Sting has flirted with classical music. His passion for it intensified with his last two studio releases, 2006’s Songs from the Labyrinth and 2009’s If on a Winter’s Night … Now Symphonicities (a play on the title of the Police’s classic 1983 album Synchronicity) reimagines his old songs with symphonic arrangements, some featuring the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. The album includes both Police and solo material, from faves (“Roxanne”) to the less familiar (“I Hung My Head”). Some of the tunes, such as “Englishman in New York,” lend themselves more naturally to the classical treatment than others (“Next to You”). But it’s all executed with such sterling craftsmanship.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” an enchanted spin

Enrique Iglesias

Euphoria |


Throughout his career Enrique Iglesias has made both Spanish and English albums. On his latest he plays it both ways with six tracks in Spanish and four in English. This gives Euphoria a somewhat disjointed feel, because the styles vary along with the languages. The guest list is diverse too, ranging from Akon, Usher and Nicole Scherzinger to Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra and Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel. At most, there’s enough to give you a pleasant buzz.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “I Like It,” a party jam featuring Pitbull


Flesh Tone |

Kelis was always a little left of center as an R&B-pop diva. Even her biggest hit, 2003’s “Milkshake,” was freaky enough to suggest she was following her own drummer. On her fifth album, though, Kelis is the latest to hop on the electro-dance bandwagon. And while her personality can get somewhat lost in the mix, the beats keep things grooving along. Best is the pumping No. 1 club hit “Acapella,” one of two tracks produced by French deejay David Guetta, who also worked with the Black Eyed Peas on “I Gotta Feeling.” Almost as hot? “Emancipate,” which will indeed liberate your body on the dance floor.

Big Boi

Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty


It’s been four years since the last OutKast album, Idlewild, but at least Big Boi is back with his first stand-alone solo album. And while it can’t match his Speakerboxxx half of 2003’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, it’s another fun adventure on the outre side of hip-hop.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Shutterbugg,” the funktastic first single featuring Cutty