My Chemical Romance: "The Black Parade"
Gerard Way's knack for taking ones through emotional highs and lows, stories of life's struggles and pains is beautiful art. The backing of his four friends who with him comprise My Chemical Romance makes his artistic treasures a chest of rare gems.
On this, their third album, they sneak out the back of the scene only to return on the red carpet dressed for stage stealing cinematics. On the Queen-like "Welcome to The Black Parade," MCR colorizes floats taller than Macy's, harmonizing and strumming with a clash of thunder the likes Thor.
Not as dark, but still moody and ominous, the quintet blankets the light here, shining with something more than just thrash-and-bash, angry Rock.
John Legend: "Once Again"
John Legend makes the creation of soul music and love songs seem so easy, and it feels so right.
The Grammy-winning pianist/singer picks up right where he left off, reminding ones why his debut, 2004's "Get Lifted," took many listeners to the height of musical heights. "P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care)" stirs the soul; "Slow Dance" will make ones want to grab their lovers and coast across the floor fantastically.
Once again making love to the ebony and ivory, Legend plays the keys to conceiving more award nominations.
Diddy: "Press Play"
New York's premier hip-hop bad boy, Sean "Diddy" Combs, is back in a big way. With the best beats money can buy, this album bangs from beginning to the end. "Tell Me" featuring Christina Aguilera is amazing, ravaging speakers and ears drums. With tracks such as "We Gon Make It," "Everything I Love" and "Hold Up," ones can't help but want to move when this album is playing. Diddy, though no Nas or Phonte Coleman, does come through lyrically.
Simple, yet creative from time-to-time, he gets the job done, keeping his sometimes-corniness at a minimum – unlike label mate Young Joc.
JoJo: "The High Road"
Like most new, wholesome R&B and Pop artists, JoJo could easily have followed her successful debut with the typical sexier, more risky sophomore. Instead she chose the high road. Sticking with what made her a top-requested artists, JoJo sings – no flaunting, nasty talk or gimmicks needed – which she does to perfection on "Anything," a track about being there for the one you love, sang wonderfully over a replay of Toto's "Africa." Displaying her powerful voice ("Note To God"), more incredible production from Blackground ("This Time"), and more superb songwriting ("Too Little Too Late") makes this album even better than her first.