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Picks and Pans Main: Music

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Michael Bublé

To Be Loved |


Ten years after his debut, Michael Bublé has become the George Clooney of crooners: smooth, charming and reliably likable in just about everything he does. On his latest (which takes its title from the old Jackie Wilson tune), he can even make a kiss-off sound sweet: He gets dumped on “It’s a Beautiful Day”—the album’s first single and one of four Bublé-cowritten originals—and takes it in swinging stride. “I’m glad that you’re the one who got away,” he sings, sounding bouncy instead of bitter. (Breaking up with Bublé? What was she thinking?) On an even better new song, “I Got It Easy,” he seems genuinely appreciative of his blessed life. It has such a classic sound and sentiment that you’d swear it was a remake. Bublé rounds up a good mix of covers too, from the Bing Crosby standard “Nevertheless (I’m in Love with You)” to the Jackson 5’s “Who’s Lovin’ You.” It’s enough to make you forgive him when he gets gimmicky with Reese Witherspoon on “Something Stupid.” He’s built up goodwill to spare.

#willpower |


Clearly learned from his last solo album, 2007’s Songs About Girls, on which he only recruited one major guest (Snoop Dogg) in lieu of his Black Eyed Peas muse: Fergie. This time he works his starry contacts to the boom-boom-pow max: In addition to Britney Spears and her fake British accent (on the hit single “Scream & Shout”), the cameos include Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Chris Brown. Their respective dance tracks are more like commercial mergers than creative ones. Still, the party songs here beat Will’s weak attempts at “Where Is the Love?”-esque consciousness.