Sounds like: The Barbadian bad girl’s seventh is a slower, deeper collection with a few too many dubstep touches, but far from disappointing—like Rated R.
Free association: It has to be said: The Chris Brown collaboration is excellent.
For fans of: Kelis/Katy/Ke$ha x Cassie/Ciara, Beyonce + Gaga, expensive production. (Bill Chenevert)
Sounds like: The 41-year-old’s ninth is a self-produced mess after Rick Rubin made him sound all right two years ago. A tough listen if you’re not a fan.
Free association: At a certain point, in some careers, you just want to say “STOP.”
For fans of: Uncle Kracker x Lynyrd Skynyrd + Guns n’ Roses, Harleys, hos and ‘dro. (B.C.)
Sounds like: This handsome Cuban has really started to hone his Top 40 game with this club-friendly Miami pop, perfect for licensing and radio.
Free association: Do you think the title is political or science-y even a little bit?
For fans of: LMFAO + Flo Rida, Jennifer Lopez, Lil Jon, bald-headed Latinos. (B.C.)
Woman to Woman
Sounds like: The 31-year-old’s fifth is a record for fans who’ve been wronged by all those bad men out there and look to Keyshia for support and guidance.
Free association: There’s something unintentionally hilarious about that cover art.
For fans of: Jazmine Sullivan x Faith Evans/Mary J./Mariah/Brandy, door-knockers. (B.C.)
Koi No Yokan
Sounds like: The aging-well metalheads from Sacramento nail it on their seventh, a dynamic, impressive and loud blend of tempos, tones and moods.
Free association: Nearly single-handedly proving metal-haters wrong for 15 years.
For fans of: Fuel/Tool/Isis/Incubus x Metallica, Faith No More, metal with nuance. (B.C.)
Lana Del Rey
Sounds like: Big-lipped gangsta Nancy Sinatra quickly follows up the stellar Born to Die debut with a dark, weird and mediocre long EP with laughable moments.
Free association: Forever the record where she told us her pussy tastes like Pepsi.
For fans of: Scarlett Johansson x Hope Sandoval, Connie Francis, blow-up-doll girls. (B.C.)
Sundays, 9pm, ABC
Captive audience: Former fans of Lost , Alias and The Hills ; girls with daddy issues.
Moment of truth: The no-way-can-they-make-this-episode-better-than-last-week’s-episode show returns for a second season, following Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) on her one-woman quest for vigilante justice. Our stylish and proper protagonist seems the typical Hamptons darling, but she’s really a fearless, ass-kicking ninja whose blood-thirst for revenge slowly unfolds each week on screen. Each episode is a mini-Lifetime movie filled with salacious twists and crazy turns, as ex-strippers, desperate housewives and former flames threaten to derail our heroine’s plans.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (Anastasia Barbalios)
Wednesdays, 9pm, ABC
Captive audience: Traditional sitcom lovers, Al Bundy fans, guys who really have a thing for loud Latin women.
Moment of truth: Even though it’s been universally acclaimed by critics and has won multiple Emmys, I always found this sitcom to be merely adequate. Now that it’s in its fourth season, the show seems to relying more on farcical gags and turning its once-adorable characters into grating caricatures. Big poppa Jay (the invaluable Ed O’Neill) has gotten more grumpy now that trophy wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara, as ethnic as ever) is with child. Super-mom Claire (Julie Bowen) is even more of a controlling bitch. And all those kids are still fuckin’ annoying. But, hell, it’ll probably once again win a bunch of Emmys next year.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Do you even have to ask? (Craig D. Lindsey)
Fridays, 9pm, truTV
Captive audience: Basically, people who just love seeing people humiliated all to hell on TV.
Moment of truth: This titillating yet just-plain-wrong extreme stunt/singing competition hybrid, hosted by Jackass’ Steve-O, has people competing for $10,000 by singing songs while taking part in gnarly challenges (sitting in an ice-cold water tank filled with snakes, getting your whole body waxed, etc.). Of course, whether or not these people actually have vocal chops is beside the point. There is something shamelessly entertaining about watching these folks go through all this inventively messed-up shit for money. And, yet, I feel sort of ashamed about the whole thing.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. But I still feel phlegmmy about it. (C.D.L.)
Gabriel García Márquez, 1927-2014