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Picks and Pans Main: Music

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Selena Gomez

Stars Dance |


After three albums fronting Selena Gomez & the Scene, the former Disney Channel star scored a quick hit with her first solo single, “Come & Get It,” a frothy summer confection that, with its breezy tropical feel, casts her as the good-girl answer to Rihanna. It’s not the only song on Gomez’s solo debut that evokes lighter shades of Ri-Ri. There’s also “Like a Champion,” a reggae-style midtempo on which she unconvincingly plays the island rude girl. But Gomez also knocks off more pop starlets here. Other tracks find her mimicking Ke$ha (“Birthday”), Katy Perry (“Stars Dance”) and Lady Gaga (“B.E.A.T.”). Her lack of identity, though, won’t stop you from twirling to “Forget Forever.”

Court Yard Hounds

Amelita |


It’s been seven years since the last Dixie Chicks album, 2006’s Grammy-winning Taking the Long Way, but a reunion will have to wait: Sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire have released their second set as Court Yard Hounds two months after Natalie Maines’s solo debut. Thankfully the music on Amelita is a lot better than this duo’s unfortunate name. There’s an unassuming appeal coming from two women who are used to taking a backseat to the feisty Maines. Robison sings lead on most tunes but lends harmony to Maguire’s tender comfort on “Gets You Down.”

Marc Anthony

Marc Anthony 3.0 |


Although it was fun to hear Marc Anthony partying with Pitbull on “Rain over Me” (from 2011’s Planet Pit), J.Lo’s ex gets back to doing what he does best: salsa. In fact 3.0 is Anthony’s first album of original salsa music since 2004’s Valió la Pena, and you can hear the singer letting all that pent-up pasión loose here. The exuberance extends to the musicians—from piano and horns to the rhythm section—who succeed in creating an infectious live vibe on Spanish-language tracks like “Vivir Mi Vida” (translation: Living My Life), the No. 1 Latin single that is guaranteed to get the fiesta started.