Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
'Take Me Home' sees One Direction collaborating with a whole host of first class writers and producers. As well as reuniting with the likes of Rami Yacoub & Carl Falk and Savan Kotecha, Ed Sheeran and McFly's Tom Fletcher, the record features input from Dr Luke, Shellback and Toby Gad. One Direction made US Chart history again by achieving the highest selling first week single sales by a UK artist with "Live While We're Young." The lead single from TAKE ME HOME entered the Billboard Digital Track and Song Charts at #1 with over 341k sold in its first week making it the biggest opening week sales for a single by a non-US artist ever.
Manufacturer: Warner Bros. / MCA / Geffen
Brand: Somerset Entertainment
The first-ever career-spanning Cher compilation, sampling 21 of her biggest hits. Covers almost four decades, from the Sonny & Cher era and beyond the 1999 global hit "Believe." Also features "If I Could Turn Back Time," "Just Like Jesse James," "I Got You Babe," and 18 more favorites. THE VERY BEST OF CHER presents more than 70 minutes of star-powered music on one essential disc. Given a five-decade career that's been one long series of critical write-offs and subsequent comeback triumphs, it's tempting to argue that the natural elements are actually earth, wind, fire, water--and Cher. Anchored by her 1998 international mega-success "Believe" (the song that made Cher the oldest woman to score a chart topper) and its equally club-savvy contemporary collaborations with producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawlings, "Song for the Lonely" and "A Different Kind of Love Song," this 21-track anthology is indeed the first to contain all her No. 1 hits, stretching back to her epochal 1965 duet with Sonny Bono on the faux-Dylan "I Got You Babe." And if it shortchanges her Phil Spector-rooted origins and a true perspective on her '60s and '70s career (though kitsch classic chart toppers "Dark Lady," "Half-Breed," and "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" are all here) to focus on her string of '80s and '90s pop successes in service of writers like Diane Warren ("If I Could Turn Back Time") and Desmond Child ("Just Like Jesse James"), it's good to remember that, according to the pop soothsayers, none of them were even supposed to happen, let alone make her an icon for a whole new generation. It's a tribute to sheer, fashion-defying willpower--and as unlikely an argument for the notion of "the singer, not the song" as one is likely to find. --Jerry McCulley
Moon Safari French duo Air's debut album is a superlatively happy collection of experimental disco-mood sound nestled between ambient soundscape and breathy pop. It's jazzy and melodic, and mostly laid-back, but not excessively so. There are a few shake-it, shake-it numbers, too, like the absurdly daft hit "Sexy Boy." It's snap your fingers and hang out (while reading) music or dance around sexy-slow with your mate music. It's also the perfect music to do your ironing or some other chore to; it's hypnotizing wallpaper music. It slips in and out of your consciousness, forcing you to move around with a relaxed smile before you even realize it. Oh, and contrary to sampler fashion, Nicolas Godin and Jean Benoit Dunckel played the instruments themselves. Bravo. --Mike McGonigal
EU LP pressing. French postmodernists Air raid every aspect of retro pop music, from the sublime to the ridiculous, in fashioning their sonic bricolage. Everything from Krautrock-inspired electronics to 1960s lounge music is incorporated into the work of Nicolas Godin and J.B. Dunckel. Their full-length debut, 1998's Moon Safari, earned massive critical plaudits and put the duo at the forefront of modern, electronic-oriented pop.
FURTADO NELLY WHOA NELLY! Blame it on the bossa nova, but this chick has got soul. By filtering her Portuguese roots through the trip-hop she was weaned on, Nelly Furtado creates a hypnotic form of R&B/alternapop that at times sounds like Fiona Apple, Macy Gray, and Gwen Stefani all rolled into a Portishead song. Cutting her teeth at four Lilith Fair dates before even having a record contract, Furtado seems accelerated far beyond her 21 years. Listen, and you can hear the Portuguese fado tradition, Brazilian beats, flashy urban rhymes--enough snap, crackle, and pop to fill your breakfast bowl. Put your ear closer to the speaker, though, and you can sense that this is the sound of a multicultural young woman finding her own identity through all the pop she's been fed. If you're someone who likes to sing along to soaring vocals or who likes to get hip to a new star before she goes supernova, this is an album to own. --Heidi Sherman
Special 2008 edition Two CD set. This is the classic double platinum 2000 album release Whoa, Nelly! remastered and reissued with a second disc of unique versions previously available as bonus tracks outside the U.S. or on CD singles. This is the remarkable debut DreamWorks album by this Canadian songstress that produced the smash hits 'I'm Like A Bird' and 'Turn Off The Lights' and it has been a remarkably steady seller since. Multi-million selling debut album by Nelly Furtado is expanded and it features five hard-to-find versions and remixes, including the original, an acoustic version and a remix of Nelly's across-the-board smash 'I'm Like A Bird' plus 'Turn Off The Lights'.
11-track version includes 'It's a Fire' not featured on the 10-track version. Universal. 1994. The collaboration of studio whiz Geoff Barrow and singer Beth Gibbons, Dummy was made at the same time as a short film noir called "To Kill a Dead Man," and the same approach--gloomy, tormented, and wildly melodramatic--permeates the album. "Sour Times" (the hit in which Gibbons cries, again and again, "Nobody loves me, it's true") and the more cryptic "Glory Box" are the linchpins of the album, defining its sound: dark flashes of old soul and film music, dehumanized electronic bleeps, Gibbons emoting like she's consumed by shame, and a bass-and-beat pulse derived from the slow bump and grind of the Bristol scene that spawned Barrow's old collaborators, Massive Attack. --Douglas Wolk