Tropicalia Essentials Have you read a lot about the brightly colored, subversive '60s Brazilian pop called Tropicalia, but you're not sure where to begin diving into the music that's had a heavy impact on the likes of Beck and David Byrne? This 14-cut sampler will put some of the movement's key tracks in your hand, providing both an introduction and one giddy, gorgeous listen. Basically a pocket version of the five-CD Brazilian release Tropicalia: 30 Años, Essentials earns its title with recordings such as the studio version of Caetano Veloso's controversial collaboration with Os Mutantes, "E Prohibido Prohibir"; Gal Costa's wonderfully over-the-top cabaret performance "Divino Maravilhoso"; a Veloso-Costa duet on "Baby," the genre's anthem; and Gilberto Gil's wistful "Luzia Luluza." Finally, printed English lyric translations (often missing from imports) make this a disc that even many connoisseurs will want to own. --Rickey Wright
These days, if you look up Nickelback online, you'll find plenty of places to download music videos and listen to the band. Their beginnings were less than auspicious, however. This Canadian band was started up by four musicians, Chad, Brandon and Mike Kroeger and Ryan Peake, in Alberta.
With his unique blend of West African musical influences, Southern beats and East Coast inflections along with a dazzling presence that attracts those who watch music videos by the singer, Akon has gone from an unknown alleged convict to a music star in just a few short years.