The LibertinesTime for Heroes: The Best of The Libertines(Rough Trade)8.3Goes well with: The Strokes, The Datsons, hard drugs, rehab
Man, this band was good. What happened? Oh, right. Crack. I guess I understand, but it's impossible not to feel that same tinge of excitement you had in 2002 when you were first introduced to Pete Doherty and his crazy, rock 'n' roll, drug-addicted ways. Sadly, there's no unreleased material in the collection, but it's still nice to get re-introduced to songs like “Don't Look Back into the Sun” and “What a Waster,” two songs with rather ominous lyrics for the then-dirty, -druggy Doherty (he's “clean” now and in Babyshambles with news of a solo album on the horizon). It's a quick album at 13 tracks and under 40 minutes, which is appropriate since that's probably how long the band lasted. Ah, Doherty, we'll never forgive you. But we won't let you go, either.
Duran DuranRed Carpet Massacre(Epic)7.5
Goes well with: The Faint, She Wants Revenge, tight pants
With the help of Timbaland and Timberlake, Duran Duran returns with their 12th studio album, updating the beloved '80s pop band with a sound made to be played in today's trendiest clubs. In fact, it's surprising just how enjoyable tracks like “Nite Runner,” “Tempted” and “Skin Divers” are. If the devil had his way, these boys would be hitting the state-fair circuit with other aging '80s bands. Instead, the band employed the talents of the two people making the best pop/dance music around and churned out a good album that will get anyone's heart racing. But, and this is a big one, this is Duran “Hungry Like a Wolf” Duran, and it's hard to break an image. It's a great listen, but you'll be hitting your '80s playlist soon after, just to hear those familiar songs again.Duran Duran will perform at Star 94.1 FM's “Jingle Ball 2007” on Sunday, Dec. 9, at San Diego Sports Arena.
PitbullThe Boatlift(TVT Records)6.5Goes well with: 50 cent, Fat Joe, girls who say “Papi” convincingly
Pitbull, the Cuban-American rapper, returns with an album called The Boatlift because, according to a message he posted on his MySpace page, he's taking us on a ride through his life. And his life is mostly about women, a little bit of drugs and, every once in a while, politics. It's almost impressive how many times Pitbull can expound on his love for the “bitches.” He does slow it down a bit in “Secret Admirer,” but it feels misplaced on an album that's more about the song “Stripper Pole.” There are guests galore (Lil' Jon, Twista, Trina), and Pit merges hip-hop beats with a Cubano flavor that can be, at times, completely infectious. But here's the infuriating thing: Pitbull proves on the shortest tracks—like “A Little Story (Intro),” “The Truth (Interlude)” and “Mr. 305 (Outro)”—that he doesn't always have to rap about “Sticky Icky” (exactly what you think) or “Dukey Love” (not what you think). There's a lot more to this guy, and I'm still waiting to hear it.