This Week in New Music: Gwen, Ciara, Dreamgirls


Today several of pop music’s divas (or princesses, depending on how you see it) are releasing new music:

The Sweet EscapeGwen StefaniThe Sweet Escape: Stefani’s second solo album tries to recreate the magic of Love. Angel. Music. Baby. by delivering more pop confections, but the lead single, “Wind It Up,” ain’t no “Hollaback Girl.” On the other hand, “Early Winter” and “Wonderful World” have that weepy, self-indulgent moodiness that I find irresistible in a pop song. And “Yummy” does have a cool retro-industrial (like early Depeche Mode) beat wrapping it up at the end.

Ciara: The EvolutionCiaraThe Evolution: I could not resist “Goodies,” but I’m finding The Evolution a bit less addictive. The album kicks off with a Lil’ John collaboration, “That’s Right,” that kind of just annoys me. But there are a few fun tracks, including “Like a Boy” in which Ciara declares “Sometimes I wish I could act like a boy” (My question: What’s stopping you?), and “I Proceed” has a fun, minimalist beat. “Make It Last Forever” samples Rob Bass’ classic “It Takes Two,” but unfortunately the song ends up sounding like a second-rate Janet Jackson number.

DreamgirlsDreamgirls Soundtrack: I’m not really a fan of musicals, but I loved Jennifer Hudson  when she was on American Idol and I’m definitely planning to see this movie when it premieres on Dec. 15. The soundtrack comes out today so you can get a sneak peek of Ms. Hudson’s amazing vocal range if you’ve forgotten what she sounds like.

But don’t take my word for it: Listen to all three albums yourself; they’re all streaming at AOL.

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