Looking for new music? Look no further than your local Queens Library! Every month, our expert staff will bring you the best of what's new in our collection. Check out these music recommendations for April.
Kelly Clarkson,Piece By Piece
The original American Idol is back with her seventh record and last contractually obligated pop album. She is threatening to go country but she’d be foolish to abandon the style that has won her so many fans around the world. Her new CD is a typical collection of dance, pop and ballads, but Clarkson’s vocals make even the ordinary tunes seem special. Perhaps that comes from her insistence to never lip-sync or use auto-tune. If only more singers took that stance, perhaps the pop charts wouldn’t seem so bland. You can listen to the whole album on Freegal.
Luke Bryan, Spring Break...Checkin’ Out
The country king of Florida spring break, Luke Bryan, is throwing in the towel after seven years of party-themed albums and free concerts on Panama City Beach. Now that he’s been declared “Entertainer of the Year” by both country music associations, he feels it is time to move on to more mature subject matter than drinking beer and girl watching. But before he goes, here is one last ode to the college ritual that bids farewell to winter and hello to warmer weather. Check out the video for “Spring Breakdown.”
Chris Brown & Tyga, Fan of a Fan
Rappers Chris Brown and Tyga are no strangers to controversy. For their collaborative album Fan of a Fan, they chose to play to their media bad boy images. The tracks hit on all the familiar themes of sex, drugs, cars and money...but is there a message? Apparently not, since the artists have stated that the album is unapologetically shallow fun, meant for partying not preaching. The two do seem to be having a lot of fun on tracks like the hit “Ayo.” Hear it for yourself on Freegal.
Love and Theft, Whiskey On My Breath
Country duo Love and Theft (Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson) are starting over again. They had a hit song with “Angel Eyes” two years ago and have since had a string of failed singles and were dropped by their record label. They now consider that a blessing as the label was pushing them in uncomfortable directions. Their new freedom let them re-discover their strengths in singing and songwriting. They are justifiably proud of their new album Whiskey On My Breath and they hope to count you as one of their new fans. You can hear the whole album on Freegal.
Madonna, Rebel Heart
Madonna’s 13th full-length album may not have hit the top of the charts, but it is her best-reviewed record in a decade. It is an eclectic mix of styles and touches on many themes. Best of all, it lacks the desperation and trying too hard to stay relevant that seems to have been evident in her past few CDs. For this release, the songs are more organic and personal while maintaining an expert pop sensibility. It seems that Madonna may finally be embracing her real self instead of coming up with another character to fit the music. Check out the album’s first video, "Living for Love."
Third Day, Lead Us Back
Third Day is a Christian rock band from Georgia and their fans call themselves “Gomers” after one of their songs based on that biblical character. Lead Us Back is their 12th album and the songs are a bit more in the worship tradition than their previous recordings, which focused slightly more on the rock part of their music. They have won numerous Grammy, AMA and Dove awards and continue to play for sold-out audiences around the world. Non-believers and members of all faiths are all welcome to check out the full album on Freegal.
Kid Ink, Full Speed
The LA rapper Kid Ink earned his name from the dozens of tattoos he sports. Like Ray Bradbury’s "Illustrated Man," every picture has a story and the new album Full Speed tells many tales. It also has many collaborators. There are over 3 dozen producers and writers, at least three per song. You would think that with so many people involved it would be a mess, but it miraculously pulls together into a cohesive whole that hit #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop chart when it was released. Listen to it on Freegal.
Bob Dylan, Shadows in the Night
Bob Dylan loves to go against type and confuse his fans and critics. Almost as radical as going electric at Newport, he has now released an album of Frank Sinatra songs. You have to imagine that Dylan had to make sure Sinatra was really dead before trespassing on that territory. The result, however, is one of Dylan’s strongest efforts in years. He brings new tone and textures to songs that used to seem firmly set in Ol' Blue Eyes’ style and fans in both camps have voiced their approval. It’s been 49 years since Bob Dylan first had a number one record and now he has yet another. You can stream Shadows in the Night on Freegal.
Chrisette Michele, The Lyricists’ Opus
Long Island’s own Chrisette Michele was an R&B Diva on the TV show of the same name, until she realized that it wasn’t really who she was and left. Her brand of music would have been called neo-soul a few years ago, but with that term out of favor she is best known as an R&B singer with roots in soul, gospel, jazz and even rock. In her own words, though, she is "a nerdy hip hop head.” Whoever or whatever she is, she has a lot of fans including the critics who love the new EP “The Lyricists’ Opus”. Watch the video for her song "Super Chris."
Modest Mouse, Strangers to Ourselves
Alternative rockers Modest Mouse are back after an eight-year hiatus with Strangers to Ourselves. It is a welcome return from a much-loved band who have had their share of inner turmoil but came out stronger for it. While the album doesn’t quite gel as a structured whole, every track is an individual hit and should get the crowds jumping during their upcoming tour. If you are new to the band but love to rock like a hipster, you can check out the entire CD on Freegal.