Lucinda Williams, Blessed – Lucinda Williams is an acquired taste, but to those with the taste, she’s a goddess. Her voice and musicality are aptly described by the title of her 1998 breakthrough album Car Tires on a Gravel Road; not pretty, but beautiful. She’s also responsible for some of the most gut-wrenching love/loss songs recorded, which left fans to wonder what a new album might sound like now that Williams herself is happily married. Blessed answers that question with songs addressing familiar themes, but also delves into the broader range of human experience. March 1.
R.E.M., Collapse Into Now – It’s hard to believe the seminal alternative rock band has been around for 30 years. It’s even more noteworthy that they’ve managed to stay relevant and continually evolve with the times and changing tastes while maintaining their identity. The band’s 15th studio release carries on with a collection of tender ballads, mid-tempo songs and rocking crowd pleasers. Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder and Peaches are among the collaborators on the album. March 8.
Britney Spears, Femme Fatale – Love her or not, there’s no denying the pop star’s power and remarkable ability to come out on top. She’s done it again with an edgy, urban dance album that may not push any boundaries, but is far from recycled. Ke$ha and will.i.am collaborated with Spears on the album. March 29.
Snoop Dogg, Doggumentary – In true Dogg style, the veteran rapper, producer, actor and ubiquitous collaborator has kept fans guessing about his 11th album – he’s changed the title twice and fueled speculation about collaborations and duets. The result reunites Dogg and rapper/producer Swizz Beatz for an album that ranges from old school to new, gangsta to R&B to hip hop. Kanye West, Gorillaz and R. Kelly join in the party. March 29