I’m scared of the new Maroon 5 album, “Hands All Over” (purchase on Amazon mp3). The first single, “Misery”, seemed like the height of laziness to me. If you stuck “This Love” and “Makes Me Wonder” in a blender, the result would be “Misery”, and despite the critical arrows that seem to get slung Adam Levine and co.’s way, they’re definitely better than that. However, no less an authority on music than Popdose’s Grand Poobah Jeff Giles Y’all has deemed M5’s third studio effort, “Hands All Over”, to be a solid effort, so I’m holding out hope.

It’s rare that I get to review an album before it actually comes out, and the fact that it was covered yesterday bumps John Legend & the Roots’ “Wake Up!” down to second place on today’s hot list. Never mind it’s placing on the list, though. Walk, not run to your local music emporium and pick this joint up. You will not regret it.

For the second straight week, there is a veritable cornucopia of new music coming out. I’ll actually go straight to albums you should probably avoid, including the sophomore release from Rihanna rip-off Shontelle, an album no one asked for by Tommy Lee side project Methods of Mayhem, and a new album by Santana, on which he and Clive Davis spin a wheel around your local Top 40 radio station and pick whatever vocalists the arrows land on to help cover some of classic rock’s most sacred cows. Among the artists featured here: Chris Daughtry, Rob Thomas (who must feel like he owes Carlos such a huge favor for “Smooth” that he appears on all of Santana’s albums), and Nas, who is completely overpowered (and sounds listless anyway) on a version of AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, a song that God’s Son should theoretically kill. (anyone remember what he did to “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” TWICE?). Major fails here.

On a brighter note, last year’s Best New Artist Grammy winners Zac Brown Band return with their attempt to beat the sophomore slump with their latest effort, Michael Franti & Spearhead try to capitalize on their unexpected pop smash “Say Hey (I Love You”) with their latest effort, “The Sound of Sunshine”, and there are also new efforts from Selena Gomez & the Scene (which your tween sister or niece is gonna go gaga apeshit over), former System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian, and UB40, although they’re doing it without longtime frontman Ali Campbell.

Make sure you’re checking out Pause and Play for all your new release needs (at least the ones that I can’t help you out with). Happy Tuesday!

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