CeeLo Green, "Heart Blanche" (Atlantic)

Green has made the smartest, sharpest album of his career. It needed to be. He stands large in the history of Atlanta's hip-hop scene, soulful Southern rap, and showy, adventurous R&B. He was a popular coach on NBC's "The Voice." His stature suffered after a felony charge for furnishing Ecstasy to a woman without consent, then tweeting his personal, tangled view on rape, which cost him his reality TV show. "There ain't no problem music can't solve," Green sings in "Working Class Heroes (Work)," one of several hook-laden homages to the synth-driven New Wave and hair metal of his youth. Other touchstones of Green's past include the jazzy Bob James samples on "Sign of the Times." Some platitudes threaten to oversweeten CeeLo's comeback, but velvet melodies and vocals save the soft-disco "Better Late Than Never" and the summer-breezy soul jam "Race Against Time."

A.D. Amorosi, Philadelphia Inquirer


The clip of the twangy pop "Dog" by Missouri's Bottle Rockets features shots of such stars as Neko Case, Carlene Carter and Robbie Fulks with their dogs.