Beck, "Morning Phase" (Capitol)
Beck's first new album in six years is a beautifully becalmed art object, a gleaming 12-song collection that luxuriates in Sunday-morning melancholy. It makes a conscious connection to "Sea Change," his irony-free 2002 breakup album, and to "Mutations," the stripped-down 1998 effort that also made the case that the now-43-year-old is just as comfortable mellowing down easy as he is getting archly funky with two turntables and a microphone. Is "Morning Phase" a "personal" album? By the standards of Beck, never the most knowable of performers, maybe it is. But starting with the 40-second opening instrumental, "Cycle," and on through the closing "Waking Light," "Morning Phase" is short on the specifics of heartache. Instead, it's content to wash over you in a steady succession of mid-tempo waves, glistening with sonic detail and the shine of the winter sun.
DAN DELUCA, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Cannonball," the single from Lea Michele's forthcoming "Louder" album, is an emotion-packed piano rocker with crashing electro-drums. It's clearly about her late beau, Cory Monteith. Stream the rest of her debut, out Tuesday, on iTunes.