August 12, 2013 12:00 PM

Robin Thicke

Blurred Lines |

R&B-POP

Ten years after releasing his debut album, Robin Thicke finally scored his first No. 1 pop single with “Blurred Lines,” the irresistibly frisky party jam featuring T.I. and Pharrell—and channeling Marvin Gaye—that has become the song of the summer. Judging from the rest of his sixth set, Blurred Lines, it’s clear that the blue-eyed-soul man has no intention of letting the hits stop there. This is a smooth, Justin Timberlake-esque move designed to cross over from his core R&B fan base to the masses. In fact, another sure-fire groove, “Take It Easy on Me,” was produced by Timbaland and Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon, who also worked on JT’s The 20/20 Experience. Another hitmaker, Dr. Luke, helms “Give It 2 U,” a rubbery electro boogie featuring hot rapper Kendrick Lamar. But in finding his commercial mojo on the dance floor, Thicke hasn’t lost his soul.

Backstreet Boys

In a World Like This |

POP

For Backstreet fans, the big news about their seventh studio album is that it marks the first with all the fellas since 2005, as Kevin Richardson returns to the fold after leaving the group in 2006. As for the music, it will hardly shake up the world the way Millennium did back in the day. Still, it finds this boy band accomplishing the tricky task of growing older gracefully. They settle into a nice midtempo groove on tracks like the strummy title tune, while “Permanent Stain” provides a momentary dance diversion.

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