EW reviews three hot new albums -- We rate releases by Raul Midon, Jackson United, and Graham Parker
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Songs of No Consequence

SHORT TAKES

RAUL MIDÓN State of Mind (Manhattan) Just when we thought simple songs of hope were passé, along comes Midón. Maybe it’s his supple blend of soul crooner, folk bard, and Latin sonero that melts our cynicism. Maybe it’s his crisp guitar playing. Either way, with heartfelt tunes like ”Keep on Hoping” (with Jason Mraz) and ”Expressions of Love” (with Stevie Wonder on harmonica), he just might usher sincerity back into fashion. A-Larry Blumenfeld

JACKSON UNITED Western Ballads (Magnificent) California power pop, courtesy of Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett’s side project. Two of the best cuts — ”All the Way” and ”Fell Into” — come from a 2003 EP the band recorded as Jackson, before a legal kerfuffle with the King of Pop over the name. Of course, he hasn’t put out anything this catchy in years. BWhitney Pastorek

GRAHAM PARKER Songs of No Consequence (Bloodshot) Parker can still channel his youthful indignation into sharp shocks to the system — literate songs that dissolve bitterness into sweet melodies. In fact, the snarling tracks on this, his 19th album — including the anti-media rant ”Vanity Press” — are not far removed from the glory days of the renowned rocker’s mid-’70s work. In other words, don’t take the CD title literally. B+Marc Weingarten

Songs of No Consequence
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