By David Caplan STEVE DOUGHERTY and Jessica Herndon
Updated July 26, 2010 12:00 PM
Advertisement

100 Miles from Memphis |

REVIEWED BY STEVE DOUGHERTY

POP-SOUL

Raised the titular distance from that great American music mecca, Missouri native Crow strives for a blend of punchy Memphis soul and lilting gospel-and achieves it on tracks like “Peaceful Feeling” and “Long Road Home.” Guest Justin Timberlake joins the chorus backing her on Terence Trent D’Arby’s (now known as Sananda Maitreya) “Sign Your Name,” which she performs with the kind of exquisitely restrained yearning that put giants like Al Green on the map. But Crow loses her way on the reggae- flavored “Eye to Eye,” where swashbuckling guitarist Keith Richards’ licks are lost in the languid shuffle.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Sideways”

M.I.A.

///Y/ |

REVIEWED BY JESSICA HERNDON

HIP-HOP

By performing at the 2009 Grammy Awards just days before giving birth to her first child, Sri Lankan-British rapper-singer M.I.A. cemented her rep as a musical force-and her third album, ///Y/ (which spells out “Maya”), doesn’t skimp on ferocity. “Steppin Up” molds a contagious tribal groove with gritty garage rock, while “Meds and Feds” is a rebellious, pounding highlight. The other tracks are less explosive than many of her past tunes, but that’s not a bad thing: M.I.A.’s new melodies are stronger and her lyrics more personal. On reggae-infused “It Takes a Muscle” she sings, “Feels like I’ll break down tomorrow if I don’t die today.”

FOR DOWNLOAD PICKS INFO, GO TO PEOPLE.COM/DOWNLOADTHIS