Splitting from his longtime label Arista, Alan Jackson sets up his ACR Records imprint at EMI and releases Thirty Miles West, his 15th collection of new songs. Jackson doesn't use this opportunity as a rebirth but rather a continuation, stripping away the barest hint of extra fat left upon his 2010 Arista farewell Freight Train and delivering his leanest hard country album in years. Unlike his albums of the 2000s, which flirted with the digital age via cutesy novelties like "www.
THE BEACH BOYS “That’s Why God Made the Radio” (Brother/Capitol) The Beach Boys strive to smile together through “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” the reunion album tied to the band’s 50th-anniversary tour. This album could easily have been a throwaway: the cynical souvenir suggested by the song “Spring Vacation,” on which the group and studio vocalists sing: Good vibrations Summer weather We’re back together Easy money, ain’t life funny. Instead, and sometimes despite itself, it’s a reflection on aging and memory, on longing and mortality.