Music Article

Albums: July 1, 2011

Reviews of new releases from Billy Ray Cyrus, Limp Bizkit, and more

Billy Ray Cyrus, I'm American
Emphasizing his down-home roots following a year of family strife, Cyrus goes R.O.C.K. in the USA to varying results: ''Keep the Light On'' shimmy-shakes like vintage John Mellencamp, but ''Stripes and Stars'' achy-breaks under the weight of its cornball sentiment. B-Mikael Wood

Big Sean, Finally Famous
After three years under Kanye West's wing and a series of brash aspirational mixtapes, Sean's become an album-ready rhymer. His debut, helmed mostly by West's soulful mentor No I.D., is a charming start, chronicling his journey from pauper to hip-hop prince. B+Brad Wete

Marianne Faithfull, Horses and High Heels
The swinging-'60s icon may now be a sexagenarian teetotaler, but on her second covers-heavy album in as many years, she brings her raw-throated gloom — and, on two tracks, guest Lou Reed — to a mixed bag of jazzy throwbacks. The result is far from geezer rock. BChristian Blauvelt

Limp Bizki, Gold Cobra
Fred Durst no longer wears his trademark red cap, but he's still doing it all for the nookie on this oft-delayed, petulant, and hook-devoid ''comeback'' from the onetime champions of early-aughts nü-metal mania. C-Kyle Anderson

Shabazz Palaces, Black Up
With beats this murky and unsettling, it's a shame that Palaceer Lazaro (once known as Butterfly, of '90s jazz-rap cool kids Digable Planets) uses his new project to spit flimsy verses about back-in-the-day clichés. B-KA

Taking Back Sunday, Taking Back Sunday
The post-emo powerhouses have their classic lineup back, which must please frontman Adam Lazzara: Even when he's maiming his vocal cords over chaotic guitar crunch, he still sounds enraptured. B+KA

Originally posted Jun 24, 2011 Published in issue #1161 Jul 01, 2011 Order article reprints
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