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2010 Q1 A-List: Corinne Bailey Rae, Johnny Cash, Envy on the Coast

In between all the snowstorms and flooding and talk of health care reform and Sandra Bullock’s love life, some pretty good music came out in the first quarter of 2010.

Here’s a look at what we’ve heard from the year so far:


Corinne Bailey Rae, “The Sea” (Capitol, 1/26/10): " The sadness that permeates Corinne Bailey Rae's sophomore album, "The Sea" (Capitol), is expected. She was in the middle of working on it when her husband, Jason, died of an apparent methadone overdose in 2008. The strength and the depth? Those are true surprises."

Johnny Cash, “American VI: Ain’t No Grave” (American/Lost Highway, 2/23/10): " The Man in Black did not fade. Now, more than six years after his death, "American VI: Ain't No Grave" (American Recordings/Lost Highway) arrives as spectacular proof."

Envy on the Coast, “Lowcountry” (Photo Finish, 3/30/10): "The resulting album is more mature than "Lucy Gray," as the band tackles issues that are close to its heart, as well as giving its more experimental side a sturdier structure. Though "Lucy Gray" succeeded through brute strength and raw nerve, "Lowcountry" sounds more accomplished. It also sounds more commercial, with "Head First in the River" and "The Great American T-shirt Racket" ready to fight for slots on rock radio next to Incubus and Nine Inch Nails."


Erykah Badu, “New AmErykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh” (Control Freaq/Universal Motown, 3/30/10)
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, “Preservation” (Preservation Hall, 2/16/10)
The Rocket Summer, “Of Men and Angels” (Island, 2/23/10)
Spoon, “Transference” (Merge, 1/19/10)


Drive-By Truckers, “The Big To-Do” (ATO, 3/16/10)
Gorillaz, “Plastic Beach” (Virgin, 3/9/10)
Sade, “Soldier of Love” (Epic, 2/9/10)
She & Him, “Vol. 2” (Merge, 3/23/10)
The Whigs, “In the Dark” (ATO, 3/16/10)


Peter Gabriel, “Scratch My Back” (Real World, 3/2/10)
Ke$ha, “Animal” (RCA, 1/5/10)
Ludacris, “Battle of the Sexes” (Disturbing Tha Peace, 3/9/10)
Magnetic Fields, “Realism” (Nonesuch, 1/26/10)
Massive Attack, “Heligoland” (Virgin, 2/9/10)
Motion City Soundtrack, “My Dinosaur Life” (Columbia, 1/19/10)
OK Go, “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky” (EMI, 1/12/10)
Usher, “Raymond v. Raymond” (LaFace/Jive, 3/30/10)


Justin Bieber, “My World 2.0" (Island Def Jam, 3/23/10)
Lil Wayne, “Rebirth” (Cash Money/Universal, 2/2/10)
Story of the Year, “The Constant” (Epitaph, 2/16/10)
Vampire Weekend, “Contra” (XL, 1/12/10)


Danny Gokey, “My Best Days” (19/RCA Nashville, 3/2/10)
Nick Jonas and The Administration, “Who I Am” (Hollywood, 2/2/10)


Katharine McPhee, “Unbroken” (Verve, 1/5/10)

PHOTO: Corinne Bailey Rae by Associated Press

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