Alicia Keys Girl on Fire

Girl on Fire, the fifth studio release from the multiplatinum singer/songwriter, is in stores today. The 13-track album features several collaborations, which includes cowriters and producers like Emeli Sandé, Janie XX, Rodney Jerkins, Dr. Dre, Frank Ocean and more. Keys’s sound is somewhere between acoustic soul and heavy on the funky synths—and, of course, she flexes her piano skills periodically. In the three years since Keys released The Element of Freedom, there’s been a lot of change in her life. She got married and became a mother, and her sound and lyrics reflect the added maturity. Some may find fault with the fact that the title track is probably the most upbeat song on the album, but overall, it’s a solid project worthy of a listen.

Check it out here.

Green Street All in a Day’s Work EP

All in a Day’s Work is the result of a spontaneous experiment put together by various New York City-based artists who were invited to record at Converse’s Rubbertracks studio in Brooklyn. The project, recorded over the course of a day, features indie favorites like TreZure Empire, Suede Jury, Sunny Jones and others. Sonically speaking, the five-song EP is a mash up of jazz, hip-hop, grit and boombappy goodness.

More about the project and the artists can be found here

Keyshia Cole Woman to Woman

Keyshia Cole’s fifth studio album is different for a couple of reasons. This is Cole’s first album without the assistance of longtime collaborator Ron Fair, and without the help of her now former manager, Manny Halley. Cole also presents herself in a more mature way, which is appropriate considering that the now married mom seems to be in a happier place. Tracks like “Hey Sexy” (produced by The-Dream) and “Enough of No Love” (featuring Lil Wayne) are sexy, sensual and ooze confidence.

Available wherever music is sold.

Avant and KeKe Wyatt “You and I”

Anyone who has watched TVOne’s reality show R&B Divas got to witness the studio session that produced this romantic track. However, the video for this lovely tune is finally out. Avant and KeKe Wyatt’s musical chemistry is the best in the business right now, and has been since we met them 10 years ago via the duet that got us hooked, “My First Love.” But about that video… it has a Harlem Renaissance meets new millennium kind of vibe.

Watch here.

Solange Knowles “Lovers in the Parking Lot”

“Lovers in the Parking Lot” is the latest offering from Solange’s True EP, which is available digitally today. “Lovers in the Parking Lot” is a melodic tune about lovers playing games. “I’ve been playing around with your heart too long/And I now I played around and got caught,” she sings. “Played around with your heart/I guess I played myself from the start.” It’s a solid song that sounds like it was inspired by the late Aaliyah, but until Solange Knowles confirms, we’ll just have to speculate. As far as True, the seven-track EP is a collaboration between Knowles and British musician Dev Hynes.

Listen here.  

Norah Jones “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”

It wouldn’t be right not to include a holiday song in the mix, especially if Norah Jones is the vocalist responsible. The sultry siren revamped the classic holiday song—which is great, because we know how corny holiday music can be. This version is hypnotic, jazzy and acoustic.

Available for free download on iTunes.

Starrene Rhett Rocque is a pop culture junky who often fantasizes about becoming a shotgun toting b-movie heroine, and aspires to save the world from the impending #ZombieApocolypse… In reality she’s a freelance entertainment journalist/blogger who muses about music, TV, movies and love. Follow her on Twitter@GangStarrGirl.