October 17, 2011 12:00 PM

Scotty McCreery

Clear as Day |


From the moment the American Idol finalists first squared off last season, it was as clear as his baby blues that Scotty McCreery was a natural-born country star. After taking the title in May, the North Carolina native, who turns 18 Oct. 9, brings his old soul, easy charm and-his killer weapon-that preternaturally deep voice to a winning debut. Producer Mark Bright-whose credits include another American Idol, Carrie Underwood-wisely plays up McCreery’s traditional sensibility and rounds up some good tunes. Highlights include “The Trouble with Girls,” a wide-eyed ballad, and “Write My Number on Your Hand”-hey, punching it in your cell phone just isn’t as romantic.

Gloria Estefan

Miss Little Havana |


Twenty-four years after she first told you that the rhythm was gonna get you, Gloria Estefan is still making good on that promise. With producer Pharrell Williams cooking up the grooves for her first English-language album since 2003, the Cuban-American queen will have you kicking up your cha-cha heels. Percussive dance tracks like “Wepa” and the conga-fueled “Heat” bring the Miami beat back with a fiesta-starting bang.

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