Shakira, "Shakira" (RCA)

Shakira forged a bold, distinctive career in pop before she reached the mainstream as a coach on NBC's "The Voice." Her last album, "She Wolf," was a wild experiment in dance pop that stretched boundaries at every turn, pulling together world beat and synth pop, among many styles. On her new self-titled album, however, she is more focused on charming those who have heretofore been unmoved by her truth-telling hips. She starts with a megawatt duet with Rihanna, "Can't Remember to Forget You," that unleashes one clever pop twist after another. Sometimes, she recaptures new wave, notably on "Chasing Shadows." Sometimes, she goes after the Pitbull market, notably on "Dare (La La La)." She teams up with fellow "Voice" coach Blake Shelton on the country-tinged pop of "Medicine," which fares better than expected. And she heads into Taylor Swift acoustic confessional territory in the lovely "23."

Glenn gamboa, Newsday


"Out Among the Stars," the so-called "lost" or unreleased 1984 Johnny Cash album, is generating mixed reviews. His son, John Carter Cash, finished the project and supervised its release. Check it out at