Classic rockers take the 'Long Road Out of Eden,' Carrie Underwood's 'Carnival Ride' is forgettable fare, Dave Gahan steps outside Depeche Mode for second solo album.
Dave Gahan – Hourglass (Virgin): Dave Gahan's much-documented struggle with drug addiction may be several years in the past, but the afterimage lingers as a ghastly blur on the Depeche Mode frontman's second album. "Hourglass" is full of lyrical imagery about despair and obsession. The album starts with a soulful vocal on "Saw Something" that leads into a gorgeous guitar solo by John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chili Peppers. And the anthemic single, "Kingdom," is better than anything on the most recent Depeche Mode album. But, for the most part, it's as bleak as Anton Corbijn's black-and-gray sleeve photographs suggest. Musically, the album is a drone of wasp-buzz electronica that feels increasingly oppressive. It's more dankly atmospheric than melodic. File under: Uneasy Listening. Grade: C+ – Stephen Humphries
The Eagles – Long Road Out of Eden (Eagles Recording Co.): Good news: The Eagles haven't changed a bit. Bad news: The Eagles haven't changed a bit. On their first new album since 1979, the country-rock pioneers still sound awfully yesteryear. 1970s synths, reverb-drenched vocals, and paint-by-numbers guitar riffs abound. You'll get super-earnest vocals with "never be untrue/never make you blue" rhymes by the yard. (You were expecting maybe Radiohead?) Most of the cast is unchanged. You've still got your sad-sack, crabby guy in Don Henley (the overwrought, 10-minute title-track opus), your eternal optimist guy in Glenn Frey (the twinkly "No More Cloudy Days"), and the wacko/goofball – "so what's he doing in this group, again?" – guy in Joe Walsh (the unfunny "Guilty of the Crime"). None of the songs on "Long Road Out of Eden" would unseat a single one of their catchier greatest hits, so I must report one more bit of bad news: It's a double album. Grade: C – John Kehe
Carrie Underwood – Carnival Ride (Arista): If your life had a soundtrack, Carrie Underwood's new album "Carnival Ride" would likely provide background music for those moments when you're counting out quarters at the laundromat – it's about as memorable as the sound of wet jeans clanking in the drier. Despite the runaway success of her first album, the "American Idol" winner's sophomore record doesn't rise above the pastiche fare of Top 40 stations, which is likely where many of these tracks will end up. The young country star does, however, show promise in "Last Name," a fun ditty about a scandalous encounter that ends in a Vegas-style marriage. Grade: C+ – Tom A. Peter