Duran Duran Astronaut (Epic)
Duran Duran's latest effort, Astronaut, proves that they are more than just washed-up, 80's, gender bending, where-are-they-now has beens. Duran Duran, back with all five original members, deliver an album reminiscent of their early stuff ("Planet Earth," "Girls on Film"), with a mature sound and more meaningful lyrics. Newcomers will enjoy this heaping helping of Duran Duran without all the extra '80s cheese. Closet Duranees will get all nostalgic and wish for the good ol' days of leg warmers and mullets. This is pure feel-good music.
Bobby Darin Aces Back to Back (Hyena)
Watching Bobby Darin woo audiences with his charm makes one wish for the pre-MTV days where performers could actually sing and dance. Aces combines live recordings and a DVD of live performances that reveals the magic Darin possessed. Darin sings "Mac the Knife," "If I Were a Carpenter," and "Beyond the Sea" in his signature, unpredictable style. Aces includes a lost footage documentary, which reveals Darin's relentless perfectionism and versatility as a musician. The only thing lacking is a complete collection of his greatest hits. Darin once said, "My goal is to be remembered as a human being and a great performer." That he is.
Tears for Fears Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (New Door)
Who would have thought that the same guys who brought you the '80s hits "Shout" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" would deliver an album with a heavy Beatles influence (in their Let It Be, Abby Road days). In this Beatlesque album, the old sound of Tears for Fears is nearly obsolete. Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, which demonstrates Tears for Fears' versatility, delivers beautiful melodies and deep lyrics. However, if you're expecting Songs From the Big Chair, save your money.