No matter how many girls’ walls your poster has been on, making the transition from boy-band heartthrob to solo stud is a tricky one that many haven’t successfully navigated. Remember the albums by New Kids on the Block’s Jordan Knight, Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter or 98’s Nick Lachey? I didn’t think so. At 22, Joe Jonas, frontman of the JoBros, attempts to pull a Justin Timberlake on his solo debut with an R&B- and dance-influenced makeover designed to give him more edge than Camp Rock would allow. He even recruits producer Danja, protege of Timbaland-who worked on JT’s Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds. The results are mixed, as Danja is no Timba, and Jonas isn’t quite convincing trying to bring sexy back on some of these songs. But JJ gets surprisingly funky on the synth-driven title track and finds airy pop bliss on “All This Time.”
Seems Lauren Alaina is destined to always come in second to Scotty McCreery: He beats her for the American Idol title, then his country debut comes out one week before hers. Guess whose is better. (Hint: America got it right.) While Wildflower doesn’t wilt, it sometimes feels as if Alaina is playing dress-up as Carrie Underwood (who cowrote one tune). Still, at only 16, she has plenty of time to blossom.