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No. 1 Maroon 5’s V
The band’s fifth effort delivers a pop punch
Though they said that they didn’t set out to make an Overexposed redux—meaning an album filled with Top 40-primed hits—there’s plenty of radio-ready glory on the sextet’s latest, V. The final result accomplishes their priority (putting out an album that could be enjoyed in its entirety) but leaves plenty of funk and fun for the masses to enjoy. Besides their current singles (the cannibalistic jam “Animals,” the sentimental “It Was Always You” and their lead-off, yearning hit “Maps” ), two other songs set themselves apart. First off: the quiet ender “My Heart Is Open,” featuring Levine’s The Voice co-mentor Gwen Stefani. “If I ever let you down/Forgive me,” Levine implores on the second highlight, “New Love.” With this effort, he has nothing to apologize for.
No. 2 The Best New Books
David Mitchell casts a spell, Tana French whips up intrigue, and Daniel J. Levitin helps you say goodbye to multitasking.
David Mitchell The Bone Clocks
The Cloud Atlas author’s ambitious latest centers on an English girl with psychic powers. It reads like three different books: an absorbing character study, then a cartoonish action fantasy and finally an apocalyptic vision set in 2043. Though the shifts can feel contrived, Mitchell’s wit, imagination and gorgeous prose make this a page-turner.
Daniel J. Levitin The Organized Mind
Want to get more done? Stop multi-tasking—because, despite what Martha Stewart says, you can’t. Neuroscientist Levitin delivers a fascinating look at how brain chemistry, hobbled by our TMI culture, sabotages productivity. Then he offers guidelines for drowning out the white noise and recapturing our mojo.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Tana French The Secret Place
A popular boy is found mur-dered at a posh Dublin girls’ school. One year later his photo surfaces, captioned “I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.” The ensuing investigation heightens tensions for everyone involved: the girls, their parents, the school administrators, the detec- tives charged with solving the cold case. Gone Girl fans will revel in this enthralling thriller, the fifth in French’s bestselling “Dublin Murder Squad” series.
Natalie Haynes The Furies
Reeling after her fiancé’s death, Alex Morris finds healing—and trouble—teaching incorrigible teens. A stirring psychological thriller.
Louise Penny The Long Way Home
In Penny’s latest cozy, croissant- filled mystery, retired Quebecois inspector Armand Gamache seeks a frustrated artist who’s disappeared.
Chelsea Cain One Kick
Who better to help find two kidnapped children than former abductee Kick Lannigan? But the heroine of Cain’s pro-pulsive new thriller must conquer her own demons first.
No. 3 Houdini
Adrien Brody plays the master illusionist who defied death with both bravery and panache until 1926, when a blow to the abdomen led to a fatal medical crisis. This two-part movie occasionally questions what motivated him—well, there was Mama—but mostly races through a life of nonstop escapades. He’s like MacGyver, only more often in chains and dangled upside-down. (History, Sept. 1, 9 p.m.)
No. 4 Winter in the Blood
Virgil (The Twilight Saga’s Chaske Spencer) is a man at war with inner demons, drinking to escape the marital, familial and ancestral woes that shadow his days on a Native American reservation in Montana. A haunting adaptation of the James Welch novel, Winter is propelled by Spencer’s harrowing struggle up from rock bottom. (NR)
No. 5 Taylor Swift
Her new single ‘Shake It Off’ is a cheeky delight
For her latest effort, Swift puts down her guitar but retains the likable sass that makes her top-of-the-charts catnip. Unabashed about its pop roots—and accompanied by an equally silly and cheery music video—it’s an anthem Swift-style, giving her critics a playful smack on the hand while rallying fans to dance away all the negativity.
No. 6 Ghostbusters
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and we feel slime
Ghostbusters opened 30 years ago, and American movies have never been quite the same. An action-comedy about a team of paranormal hunters, it marked the triumph of a new school of irreverent, off-the-cuff performers (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd). They smirk their way through an immense production that climaxes with the apocalypse (in the form of a marshmallow leviathan). The movie is receiving a theatrical birthday rerelease, with a special Blu-ray DVD (including the underrated 1989 sequel) out Sept. 16. (PG)
No. 7 Intruders
X-Files veteran Glen Morgan is back with another addictively cryptic series about men in dark coats protecting The Truth. This new conspiracy involves reincarnation and a society that helps souls find new bodies to occupy, and the premiere wasted no time in spinning its web: A wife (Mira Sorvino) is missing and her writer husband is on the case, tipped off by shadowy insiders eager to expose the system. (BBC America, Saturdays, 10 p.m.)
No. 8 DiveFilm HD Video Podcast
One of iTunes’ most popular video podcasts is also one of its simplest: DiveFilm HD, a monthly plunge under the waves, sends state-of-the-art cameras into the deep, capturing high-definition close-ups of whales, sharks, squid and an array of creatures we didn’t even know existed. (Seriously, watch the sea slug episode!) Otherworldly discoveries, streamed straight to your phone. (divefilmhd.com)
No. 9 The League
You don’t have to be a sports fan to root for this comedy about a group of oddball Chicagoans whose lives revolve around a fantasy-football league. Though the season premiere raises the stakes of the competition, the episode also delivers enough clever one-liners to win over those who watch the Super Bowl solely for the ads. (FXX, Sept. 3, 10 p.m.)
No. 10 Counting Crows Somewhere Under Wonderland
MUSIC ALT ROCK
Listening to a Counting Crows album is often like putting on a favorite sweater: You have a good sense of how it’ll fit, and it’s the perfect companion to an introspective mood. The band’s newest album offers that easy musical intimacy (“Possibility Days”) plus more, like the jamming “Dislocation.”
No. 11 BoJack Horseman
Netflix joins the adult animation game with BoJack, an absurdist comedy in the vein of Archer and Family Guy, about a washed-up ’90s TV sitcom star—who also just so happens to be a horse. Crude cross-species high jinks ensue.
No. 12 Candid Camera
In a time long before Punk’d—the 1960s—a man named Allen Funt hosted a hit CBS show on which hidden cameras recorded the reactions of unsuspecting citizens to elaborate practical jokes. This reboot, cohosted by The Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik and Funt’s son Peter, sticks to the lighthearted old format: It lets us forget that cameras today aren’t so much candid as invasive. (TV Land, Tuesdays, 8 p.m.)