The Hot Sheet
BY Advocate.com Editors
September 10 2010 6:10 AM ET
Sara Bareilles: Kaleidoscope Heart — Three years ago Sara Bareilles scored a number 1 hit with a song about not caving to pressure from her record company to write a hit “Love Song.” The irony paid off, and with her follow-up disc, Bareilles shows she’s as savvy a wordsmith as she is a singer. Her lyrics come from the heart, which is probably why she tones her Céline Dion–size pipes down to a more melodic, heartfelt Sarah McLachlan whisper for songs of love and loss, then shouts with enthusiasm on pop-rock anthems like “Machine Gun” and “Uncharted.” Still, Bareilles is at her best when singing from her soul, and never better on this CD than on the haunting ballad “Hold My Heart.”
Brandon Flowers: Flamingo — Flowers, arguably the cutest and most charismatic guy in pop music, takes a breather from the Killers with this first solo album, a mostly mid-tempo 14-song set, including the soaring, melodramatic first single “Crossfire.” While there's nothing here as propulsive as the band's “Somebody Told Me” or “Human," the seedy anthem “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas,” “Hard Enough” (a plaintive duet with Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis), and the driving “Magdalena” give his voice a workout. Unfortunately, the killer cover of “Bette Davis Eyes” he’s been performing in club dates recently isn’t included.