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World Famous Headliners

“World Famous Headliners”

Label: Big Yellow Dog Music

Genre: Rock

Three singers. Three songwriters. Three guitarists. That should be three strikes against the World Famous Headliners. Instead, the chemistry created in this collaboration is captivating. Big Al Anderson, Shawn Camp and Pat McLaughlin - with plenty of help from bassist Michael Rhodes and drummer Greg Morrow - have made an album that justifies the band‘s hyperbolic, tongue-in-cheek name.

The group employs an unusual approach to song arrangements: Anderson, Camp and McLaughlin often sing in unison. And when the trio transitions from unison to three-part harmony, it‘s goose-bump good.

There’s tasty guitar throughout, and the composer cooperative - with every song credited as a three-way effort - produces first-rate material with plenty of variety. “Give Your Love To Me” is a loose, ZZ Top-style boogie, “Can I” soars over a Tom Petty-esque guitar bed, the slow waltz “Take Me Back” recalls The Everly Brothers and the closer “Ding Dong” is 1950s rock worthy of Leiber and Stoller. Check this track out: The swampy country blues “Too Fast For You” benefits from scooped vocals and ragged but joyous three-part harmony, which give way to a guitar solos. AP


“Beautiful Surprise”

Label: Plus 1 Music Group

Genre: R&B

Tamia, whose voice is one of music’s most powerful - and underrated - should be among the ranks of divas like Aretha, Mariah and Beyonce. But her 17-year career hasn’t translated to chart-topping songs and multiplatinum sales.

Despite that, the R&B songstress - best known for “Stranger in My House” and “Into You” with Fabolous - has released four outstanding albums, including her 1998 self-titled debut, that feature production work by Quincy Jones and Jermaine Dupri. Tamia’s fifth release, “Beautiful Surprise,” is another consistent effort, filled with soulful ballads and midtempo grooves.

The album’s biggest - and best - surprise is Tamia’s take on country music. She nicely remakes Wynonna Judd’s “Is It Over Yet’’ and “Still’’ is a beautiful, twang-inspired version of a song from her third album, “More.’’ Her bold leap into a new genre makes up for some of the album’s shortcomings, including the lukewarm first single and title track, produced by frequent Amy Winehouse collaborator Salaam Remi. Jazmine Sullivan co-writes and sings background on the power ballad “Still Love You.” AP


“Chapter V”

Label: Warner Music

Genre: R&B

If I were to name one pop artist who stayed true to R&B roots, it would be Trey Songz. Artists like Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and even Usher sidetracked to the EDM wave, setting aside the genre that made them stars. Songz has gained a plethora of fans in Korea, especially with his “Can’t Help But Wait” being played in the movie “Step Up 2” and being named as Korean boy band Big Bang member Taeyang’s “role model.”

Since his debut in 2005, Songz has collaborated with various artists not only in the R&B genre, but in hip-hop. Possibly because of such collaboration with artists from diverse genres, Songz seems like he has found what really defines R&B, as his latest album “Chapter V” shows that he really managed to stay true to the music he’s always made.

If you are trying to learn how to woo the object of your affection, get your pen and paper ready and take note of the album’s second track, “Dive In.” On the other hand, you fellas who go only for the pretty girls and get heartbroken should pay attention to “Pretty Girls Lie,” as it will teach you a lesson about why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. By Yim Seung-hye
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