Robbie Williams
The Animals at Night , self-titled, (self-released), Rating : Buy

The first proper Animals at Night release (or so says Graig Markel), this


Record Reviews: New Releases From Virgin Islands, Norah Jones, Paul McCartney, The Animals at Night, and a Doozy From Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams
The Animals at Night, self-titled, (self-released), Rating: Buy

The first proper Animals at Night release (or so says Graig Markel), this lounge-y New Waveish synth pop may not be everyone's cup of tea, but there are some truly arresting compositions on this record. SARA BRICKNER

Norah Jones, The Fall, (Blue Note) Rating: Stream

If you're predisposed to dismiss anything she puts out, don't bother giving it a listen. But if you're curious as to how this faint songstress with a trophy room full of Grammys is flirting with Stevie Nicks territory, give it a listen. You'll be surprised, if not converted. You still don't get the feeling that Jones is exercising her considerable pipes to their full potential, but for an artist who's already achieved as much commercial success as she has, Jones is showing a lot of promise. CHRIS KORNELIS

Paul McCartney, Good Evening New York, (Hear Music) Rating: Stream

The 10 most exciting minutes of the 123 Paul McCartney's issued on Good Evening New York include no Beatles tunes. It is the one-two punch of "Let Me Roll It" (Wings) that's slowed down just a tad and finds McCartney sounding truly animated and even going off the teleprompter for a growl or two, followed by a raucous "Highway" (The Fireman). The record reminds us yet again that McCartney's a better songwriter than the rest of us get to be at anything. But that doesn't mean every release is worth picking up. We really don't need another live version of "Live and Let Die," "Back in the USSR," or "Jet." Though I must admit, "Helter Skelter" has lost none of its potency. CHRIS KORNELIS

Virgin Islands, The Age of Anxiety EP (Mt. Fuji), Rating: Buy

Yes, it sounds more or less like the Cops redux, but because the Cops are good, it is worth purchasing. SARA BRICKNER

Robbie Williams, Reality Killed the Video Star, (EMI), Rating: Buy

Williams' voice is still on par with his ego, which is to say he has nothing to be self conscious about, which allows him to tackle subjects like Christian salvation in a pop tune like "Bodies," unlike anyone has in recent memory. It would be a tragedy for this record not to make him a star in the states--or at least larger than the Pussycat Dolls. CHRIS KORNELIS

Our rating system is pretty self-explanatory: Skip (the record is worth, um, skipping); stream (it's worth a listen, if not $15); Buy (recession be damned, get one for keeps).

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