Petra Haden is known for mad-brilliant covers (Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," the entire The Who Sell Out LP) in which she replicates each instrumental part using only her voice. On this long-brewing project with ex-Cibo Matto sound scientist Yuka Honda, she uses her soprano more conventionally but still makes magic, mixing feathery, Minnie Riperton-style soul singing with wind chimes, Fender Rhodes, and other trip-hoppy atmospherics (including guitar colors by Wilco's Nels Cline.) On "Eliza," a duet with David Byrne, she sings elliptically about a girl who is "big and strong." But elsewhere, her swirling, untranslatable phonemes suggest a goddess who rules the cosmos. Listen to "Eliza": Gallery: Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos .
If By Yes is the product of two major-label bands that were also-rans in the great 1990s alternative rock sweepstakes. Vocalist Petra Haden was a member of That Dog (more properly known as that dog. ) and had a minor career afterwards by covering The Who Sell Out in its entirety, right down to its fake commericals.
BRITNEY SPEARS “Femme Fatale” (Jive) There’s something irretrievably last-decade about Britney Spears, once the bionic princess of the pure pop revival and now a relic of quainter times. For today’s female stars, pop is the medium, but the modes of delivery are convoluted, even counterintuitive: Lady Gaga’s moody, dizzying performance art; Kesha’s wastoid slacker rap; even Katy Perry’s doe-eyed stumbles toward complexity. Ms.