Listen to this

A look at some new music.

Published November 5, 2006

My Chemical Romance

Album: The Black Parade Reprise

In stores: Now

Why we care: Album of the year? Could be. On the quintet's most ambitious disc yet, those dark, decadent Jersey boys whip up a crazy, consistently rockin' concept album about a war-torn, blood-soaked world where disenchanted Generation Next is sick and tired - and really in the mood for some Queen. Oh yeah, this one's epically weird.

Why we like it: Behold the melodic grandeur, lyrical bite and genre-crashing bravado (opera, punk, burlesque, Broadway, prog, '50s rock), all of which singer Gerard Way ringleads with dramatic aplomb. The big, sweeping ballads get you right in the gut. And as far as we're concerned, that cheeky cameo by Liza Minnelli (Liza Minnelli?!) on the us-vs-them rage of Mama is the disc's pure-genius moment. Then again, that Cabaret-inspired hidden track is bizarro cool, too.

Reminds us of: American Idiot (in other words, when Green Day suddenly became so much more than smart, snotty punks - and suddenly became one of the biggest bands in the world).

Download these: Welcome to the Black Parade, I Don't Love You, Mama

Grade: A


Lupe Fiasco

Album: Food & Liquor (Atlantic)

In stores: Now

Why we care: This Chicago hip-hopper first made waves after guesting on fellow Windy City stud Kanye West's Touch the Sky. But Lupe's relationship with mentor Jay-Z, who co-produced this endlessly smart debut, is the one that will pay the biggest dividends.

Why we like it: An Islamic black belt who'd rather kick-push a skateboard than bounce in a Benz, Lupe is a nimble, poetic rhymer who tells complex tales from the 'hood without spilling blood or spitting bullets. For a revelatory five-song stretch on Food & Liquor, Lupe and a who's who of hot producers (the Neptunes, Mike Shinoda) blend rap, rock, indie, funk, soul - and make his coming-out party one of the freshest hip-hop experiences in recent memory.

Reminds us of: A more humble Kanye West - or is it a less-dictatorial Jay-Z? Either way, that's killer company.

Download these: Kick, Push; I Gotcha; The Instrumental

Grade: A


Corinne Bailey Rae

Album: Corinne Bailey Rae (Capitol)

In stores: Now

Why we care: One of the hottest debuts of '06, this British rookie of West African heritage is a smoldering, Sunday-morning blend of Billie Holiday, Sade and Norah Jones.

Why we like it: The lithe, lovely chanteuse is being called this year's Joss Stone, but she sounds decidedly more authentic than that tall blond bombshell. Rae doesn't just sing her songs; she inhabits their cozy, soul-kissed confines. And we totally dig that British accent sneaking into her lazy-river delivery. Very sexy.

Reminds us of: The perfect duet partner for John Legend, another hot young crooner who puts new spin on classic baby-making R&B.

Download these: Put Your Records On, Trouble Sleeping

Grade: B

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8467. His blog is at blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic.