Tha Carter III
With the exception of the gloriously overproduced “Mr. Carter,” the best tracks — “A Milli,”
“La La,” “Let the Beat Build” — feature Weezy's syzzurpy stream-of-
consciousness rasp over minimalist bizzaro beats. The album falls short of classic status though, when Wayne leaves his comfort zone and forces a ballad (the lame “Comfortable,” and the well-meaning but cheesy “Tie My Hands”) or shits out a club track (the Rasta-lite “Got Money,” the ridiculous “Mrs. Officer”). Combine the best here with the awesome leaks (“I Feel Like Dying,” another “La La”), and you nearly have an album worthy of the self-proclaimed "best rapper alive."
All I Intended to Be
Her voice has lost a bit of its strength over the last 30 years, but country music’s sexiest sexagenarian capitalizes on all that life experience in her latest release. Lost-love weepers “Shores of White Sand” and “Moon Song” resonate with genuine regret, and the three-quarter-life crisis in “Hold On” will guilt you into calling your grandma. Harris sounds her age on “Old Five and Dimers,” but “Gold” teams her up with fellow fogeys Dolly Parton and Vince Gill to kick ass before the Denny’s early-bird special. And if the depressing dirges “Take That Ride” and “Not Enough” sound like they were recorded from a self-dug grave, the genuine hope evident in “Sailing Round the Room” and “Beyond the Great Divide” is reassuring no matter what your beliefs. Old people are good for something, after all.
¿Cómo Te Llama?
Albert Hammond Jr.
The sophomore solo release from the Strokes’ rhythm guitarist mostly stays within his band’s stencil. Most songs ride on the stuttering riffage and broken-mic vocals that made Is This It? king shit, but Hammond tweaks the template enough to avoid copyright infringement. His sunny guitar fills and pop sensibility make songs such as “You Won’t Be Fooled by This” and “The Boss Americana” better than most of First Impressions of Earth, and the longish instrumental “Spooky Couch” makes great background noise.