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The Inbox

The Inbox: Lil Wayne, Blake Shelton, The Strokes and More

by Rob Harvilla

The Inbox: Lil Wayne, Blake Shelton, The Strokes and More


Welcome to The Inbox, a recurring feature in which we take a spin through the week's hottest new releases (along with a bit of Napster's own reviews) and pair each album with the weirdest, coolest, (sometimes unintentionally) funniest stuff we can find on the Internet. Enjoy.

Chart-Topping Superstar Rap from a Guy We're Just Thrilled Is Still Alive to Enjoy It:

Lil Wayne, I Am Not a Human Being II
On IANAHB II, Lil Wayne doggedly sticks to his path as a young, rich and tasteless rhyme animal. His producers nod to neo-trap ("Beat the Sh*t" with Gunplay) and chopped and screwed beats ("Gunwalk" with Gudda Gudda), but his firewall against irrelevance is his female following ("Love Me"). [Mosi Reeves]

Swaggering but Deeply Romantic Pop Country Blockbusters from a Guy Who Can Thankfully Take All Those Tabloid Rumors in Stride:

Blake Shelton, Based on a True Story
Blake Shelton sounds full of confidence and swagger. Based on a True Story is split between romantic songs to make the girls swoon and up-tempo jams to show off his rebellious side. "Boys 'Round Here" builds off a drum loop and acoustic guitar riff that vaguely recalls Meredith Brooks' '90s hit "B*tch." [Linda Ryan]

Americana Jams with Both Literate Verve and Laid-Back Wit, as Evoked by This YouTube Gentleman Hand-Farting His Way Through a Mumford & Sons Song:

Phosphorescent, Muchacho
After taking an extended sojourn through the American South with both To Willie (2009) and Here's to Taking It Easy (2010), Phosphorescent main man Matthew Houck returns with a more straightforward indie pop style. Muchacho opens with an electro-folk number ("Sun, Arise!") that sounds like Fleet Foxes meets My Morning Jacket. [Justin Farrar]

Moody Synth-Pop Grandeur from a Classic Band So Appealing They Can Even Get An Idiot Abroad's Karl Pilkington Excited:

Depeche Mode, Delta Machine
In their 33rd year, Depeche Mode don't particularly sound like they feel lucky on their 13th album, Delta Machine, which strips away the lush atmospheres of 2009's Sounds of the Universe in favor of sizzling guitar riffs and skeletal synthesizer figures; on the contrary, they grovel in grit and wallow in the blues, like the good S&M fans they've always been. [Philip Sherburne]

Cool but Secretly Lovesick and Yearning Pop Trifles That'd Fit in Well in a New Girl Episode:

OneRepublic, Native
When you've made a career of sad-sackery (albeit sleek, hip-hop-infused sad-sackery), finding new ways to mope is paramount. Ryan Tedder's Timba-fueled heyday may be over, but his band is still plugging away at that goal -- and succeeding. Native finds the sensitive gents overlaying their shimmery hip-rock with some interesting new ideas. [Rachel Devitt]

Bonkers Norwegian Metal That Makes an Ideal Soundtrack for Your Game of Thrones Season Premiere Party (Dragons!):

Kvelertak, Meir
They grunt like Celtic Frost and blaaargh like black-metal demons on top of it all, but these Norwegians' bottom end is garage-rocking punk, more indebted to their countrymen Turbonegro than to their countrymen Satyricon. Their rock side emerges as the album progresses … now and then, they dance a jig in the woods. [Chuck Eddy]

New Wave Gems from Laid-Back Rock Veterans Who Are Nonetheless Still Way Cooler Than You:

The Strokes, Comedown Machine
On their fifth album, The Strokes coolly straddle the line between their earlier art punk and their later electro-pop experiments. It's a great juxtaposition: Synths perpetually undulate, but guitars slash through it all with a vengeance. (They are a rock band first and foremost.) [Stephanie Benson]