Carlos Pericas
Mikael Wood
March 20, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Radio Music Society

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Esperanza Spalding
music label
82358
genre
Jazz

We gave it a B

On her first release since swiping last year’s Best New Artist Grammy from poor, defenseless Justin Bieber, the singer-bassist sounds eager for a pop crossover — check out her funky take on Michael Jackson’s ”I Can’t Help It,” and ”City of Roses,” a soulful pair-up with Q-Tip. But Radio Music Society is no dumb-down job: Closer ”Smile Like That” finds her brandishing sour notes (and revered sideman Jack DeJohnette on the drums) with jazz-nerd verve. B

Best Tracks:
Lustrous lead single Black Gold
Horn-enriched Radio Song

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