BY Advocate.com Editors

December 18 2009 12:00 PM ET

1 PIXEL GIF | ADVOCATE.COM

Music...

 STRONGER WITH EACH TEAR MARY J BLIGE X300 | ADVOCATE.COM

Stronger With Each Tear by Mary J. Blige —We've heard very little about Mary's ninth studio album, which worries us (as does a song titled "We Got Hood Love"). Regardless, the R&B queen almost always brings it, so it's worth a try (or a preview on YouTube). Out Monday.

 THE ELEMENTS OF FREEDOM ALICIA KEYS X300 | ADVOCATE.COM

The Element of Freedom by Alicia Keys It's hard to differentiate Alicia's hits, but that may be because they're always good in a familiar way. "Doesn't Mean Anything," the first single off Keys's new album (her fourth) follows the same pattern: soaring vocals and piano over a message of love being bigger than material possessions. But when Alicia picks up the pace, she thrills. On songs like "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart" and "Wait Til You See My Smile," Alicia takes listeners up in the air with her. Released Tuesday.

 GLEE THE MUSIC VOLUME 2 X300 | ADVOCATE.COM

Glee: The Music, Volume 2 — This is a must-have for Gleekers. Supporting characters like Mercedes and Artie get to shine on this soundtrack sequel, with standout songs like Lily Allen's "Smile" and Van Halen's "Jump." Released Tuesday.

 SEX THERAPY ROBIN THICKE X300 | ADVOCATE.COM

Sex Therapy by Robin Thicke— A poor man's Justin Timberlake, or a pop maestro in his own right? Thicke probably won't convince many he's the latter with his new album's title track, a cheesy take on Marvin Gaye/Al Green soul. We're not ready to dismiss this whole album outright, though — Thicke has produced some knockout songs before ("Magic") and on Sex Therapy he gets assists by old pros like Snoop Dog and Jay-Z, along with upstarts like Kid Cudi, Jasmine Sullivan, and Estelle. Released Tuesday.

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