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Sound Check


Erykah BaduErykah Badu
“But You Caint Use My Phone”

Erykah Badu is one of those artists for whom greatness is seemingly effortless. “But You Caint Use My Phone” is a self-released mix tape. Recorded over a long weekend, its 11-song menu plays itself out in less than 40 minutes, and half of the track consists of either full-on covers or blatant homages to her own past work. And yet, for all that, the album still manages to sound like one of the sexiest, most polished releases of the year. There are a couple of missteps — rapper ItsRoutine does his level best to ruin the song he shows up for — but there are also moments of crystal-clear beauty. “Cell U Lar Device” is a groovy playground anthem, but the best track on the album might be closing track “Hello,” featuring Andre 3000. The pair has a long, personal history, and their vocal interplay here has all the warmth and familiarity one would expect. CV

“A Head Full of Dreams”

There are rumors swirling that “A Head Full of Dreams” could be Coldplay’s final album. Time will tell if that is true or not, but for the time being, they are still a band, and this album is the latest effort to shake off the doldrums brought about by a number of outside factors. “Head Full of Dreams” includes guest appearances by Beyonce and Noel Gallagher, as well as self-indulgent backing vocals by front man Chris Martin’s ex-wife and new girlfriend. This album is a lot more light-hearted and fun than the band’s dour previous release, but the core problem remains: No matter what emotion the band is trying to convey, Martin’s wispy vocals are rarely enough to carry the day. CV

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