October 04, 2010 12:00 PM

Maroon 5

Hands All Over |


The most surprising moment on the new Maroon 5 album comes on the very last track, when the quintet veer into country territory with Lady Antebellum on “Out of Goodbyes.” It’s an aching breakup ballad, on which Adam Levine and Hillary Scott make bittersweet harmony. Consider it “Need You No More.” The rest of Hands All Over, though, bears Maroon 5’s usual pop-soul imprint. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While not as strong as 2002’s Songs About Jane or 2007’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, this is a consistently rewarding collection, from the funky-strutting single “Misery” to the tender heart-tugger “Just a Feeling.” And with uber-producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange at the helm, the sound is crisp and bright, making Maroon 5 come off something more like Magenta 5.

Billy Currington

Enjoy Yourself |


On his fun but frivolous latest, Billy Currington extols the simple pleasures in life, whether it be fishing (“Bad Day of Fishin'”) or a cold Bud Light (the No. 1 country hit “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer”). On “Like My Dog,” he even longs for a woman to give him the kind of uncomplicated love he gets from his pooch. If you’re looking for anything deep, move on.

Brandon Flowers

Flamingo |



The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers gets to spread his wings on Flamingo, his cap-feathering solo debut. Stripped of some-but wisely not all-of his Killers flamboyance, Flowers displays greater subtlety here. You can hear it in the nuanced textures, moody atmospherics and toned-down arrangements of songs like “Playing with Fire,” a slow-burning standout on which he reveals a soulful falsetto. Elsewhere Jenny Lewis helps him get in touch with his softer side on “Hard Enough.” But arena-ready anthems like the Sam’s Town-esque “Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts,” which indulges Flowers’ flair for the dramatic, leave no doubt that the Killer in him is still there.


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