Fergie, “Double Dutchess” (BMG)
Why there hasn’t been more Fergie released since her solo debut (2006’s gazillion-selling “The Dutchess”) probably comes down to then-fresh family commitments. That’s a shame. Not because her marriage is crumbling, but rather because her vocal talents are many.
She can rough-ride hip-hop’s rhythms, manipulate the nuances of glossy R&B balladry, and belt out grand rockers with the power and emotion of Ann Wilson. She makes swagger sweet. Voices like that are few and far between, so “Double Dutchess” is a welcome return. A strange one, too, considering this is Fergie’s first album devoid of Black Eyed Peas boss will.i.am’s compositional touch (he does share production credits on several tracks).
Sure, it shares similarities to “Dutchess 1,” and feels dated in spots. “L.A. Love (La La)” with rapper YG is a “London Bridge” retread complete with phony foreign accents. The acoustic strum of “Save It Till Morning” copies the shimmering blueprint of Ferg’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)” to a T. The femme-braggadocious “M.I.L.F.$.” is too conscious in its hot pursuit of old school hip-hop, as is “You Already Know.”
Yet, those tracks sound great, with the gooey, gauzy New Wave of “Hungry” (sampling Dead Can Dance, no less), the torrid, trop-house “Enchanté (Carine),” and the Jamaican-inspired “Love Is Blind” all giving Fergie the necessary wind for her breezy, buoyant voice. Brava.
A.D. amorosi, Philadelphia Inquirer
The Killers, “Wonderful Wonderful” (Island)
Warning signs flash all over the new Killers album. There’s the news that guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer will no longer tour regularly with the Las Vegas quartet. There’s the title track, which combines a dirge with worries about being a “motherless child.” And a song called “Rut” about being stuck in one.
Come on, Mr. Brightside, it’s looking bleak.
Then, here comes “The Man.” Easily one of the best rock singles of the year, “The Man” crystallizes everything Arcade Fire was going for on its last album in one shining Bowiesque moment with a healthy dose of Prince-ly funk.
It’s so good, it’s almost enough to overlook the problems all around it, especially when paired with the quirky “Run for Cover,” which bounces from a Foo Fighters opening to talk of boxing champ Sonny Liston, and “Tyson vs Douglas,” which sounds like the return of the Cars.
But at a certain point, it’s just not enough. The ballads here — including the sleepy “Some Kind of Love” and the over-the-top “Have All the Songs Been Written?” — are so taxing. And on “Some Kind of Love,” where Brandon Flowers name-drops Springsteen and McCartney, it becomes clear that Carly Rae Jepsen and her collaborators have locked down this particular style of retro-pop in ways that the Killers can’t even dream of matching.
Glenn gamboa, Newsday
• Demi Lovato, “Tell Me You Love Me”
• Miley Cyrus, “Younger Now”
• Shania Twain, “Now”
• The-Dream, “Love Affair”
• David Crosby, “Sky Trails”
• Jessica Lea Mayfield, “Sorry Is Gone”