The best new music of the week: Carly Rae Jepsen, Jordin Sparks, 'The Blacklist' and more

The best new music of the week: Carly Rae Jepsen, Jordin Sparks, 'The Blacklist' and more

By Nicholas Jennings

As music columnist for, each week I’ll bring you my selections for the best and most notable new music, albums you’re going to want to add to your collection plus a five-song playlist to try out. Happy listening!

Scroll down for playlist…


Carly Rae JepsenEmotion
Carly Rae has been dodging “one hit wonder” status ever since “Call Me Maybe” earned the ubiquitous status that comes with worldwide smash hits. It’s always a tough act to follow. But the Juno-winning native of Mission, B.C. has answered all skeptics with this potent pop album. Besides the already released singles “I Really Like You” and “Run Away With Me,” the highlights include the Madonna-like, disco-styled “Boy Problems” and the Prince-inspired “All That.” Jepsen gets adventurous on tracks like “Warm Blood,” proving there’s depth to Canada’s reigning pop queen.

Jordin Sparks - Right Here, Right Now
Sparks has certainly kept fans waiting for her third album (it’s been six long years since Battlefield). But the Grammy-nominated singer makes up for it with this 14-track collection of songs about new romance, featuring guests like rapper B.o.B on the power anthem “Work from Home” and Jamaica’s Shaggy on the island-flavored “Casual Love.”

Grace Potter - Midnight
With her band the Nocturnals, Potter belted out roots rock. On her solo debut, the 32-year-old Vermont native lends her robust voice more to pop-oriented material, which is not altogether a bad thing. Standout tracks include the gospel-inflected “Empty Heart,” the funk-edged “Instigators” and soulful “Your Girl,” which plays on sexual ambiguity.

Linda Ronstadt - Classic Linda Ronstadt: Just One Look
Pop’s most gifted and diverse vocalists gets an impressive 2-CD set covering much of her contemporary material. Although it doesn’t include her Nelson Riddle, Spanish-language or Trio work, the 30 remastered tracks feature signature tunes like “You’re No Good,” “Blue Bayou” and “Don’t Know Much,” her exquisite duet with Aaron Neville.


Various artistsTrue Detective
With 14 tracks drawn from both seasons, this is a moody compilation to match the strange crime series’ quirky quality. Leonard Cohen’s “Nevermind,” season two’s theme, is included alongside first season theme “Far From Any Road” by the Handsome Family. Besides Bob Dylan, Cassandra Wilson and Nick Cave, the soundtrack features the hypnotic songs of Lera Lynn, who appears as a singer-songwriter in the series. Legendary music producer T-Bone Burnett (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Inside Llewyn Davis) is responsible for this excellent collection.

Various artistsThe Blacklist
The TV crime drama starring James Spader features music that always seems to fit the series’ characters and crucial scenes. The eclectic soundtrack runs the gamut from well-known songs like Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown” and Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” to more obscure numbers such as Timber Timbre’s “Run from Me” and Hozier’s “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene.” Best of all is Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene,” which is featured in a weirdly slowed-down version that makes Dolly sound like a guy.


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