The Hot Sheet
BY Advocate.com Editors
November 19 2010 7:45 AM ET
... Featuring by Norah Jones — The 18 eclectic tracks here mark a career-spanning collection of the versatile singer-musician's collaborations with Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Outkast, Ray Charles, and others that showcase Jones's range and virtuosity. Standout track is the duet with Belle & Sebastian on the contemplative ballad "Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John."
Burlesque: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack — Christina Aguilera gets eight songs while Cher gets just two, but that doesn’t stop the legendary singer-actress from stealing Xtina’s thunder on the Diane Warren–penned power ballad “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me.” It’s like catnip for any big Cher fan. That said, Aguilera has some fine moments here — though she’s still a victim of her own talent (her voice is so big, she oversings practically everything), she steps out of her comfort zone and is very un-Christina-like on “But I Am a Good Girl.” And Sia Furler, who managed to rein the singer in on Bionic’s collection of ballads, successfully forces Christina to just sing on “Bound to You.” First single “Express” is fun but frankly would be better served with an appearance by Cher, who is too sparsely featured here.
Loud by Rihanna — After taking a stumble with the critically acclaimed but largely fan-ignored Rated R, Rihanna strikes a balance between bad girl and dance-hall queen on her fifth album, Loud. From the first track, “S&M,” Rihanna makes it clear she’s not retreating back to her former “good girl” image: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me,” she sings on the chorus. Later she stumbles with “Cheers (Drink to That)” — Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You” is just not a song that needs to be sampled — and the ballad “California King Bed” (no, just no) but sounds more confident than ever on the grand ballad “Complicated.” The album is a bit uneven, but it should continue Rihanna’s streak of being a hit-maker who knows how to stay relevant.