imageProfessional fraternity man by day and roving entertainment reporter by night, Buck Cooke moved to Atlanta in 2000. Armed with a passion for pop culture and rabid appetite for music, Buck scours the entertainment landscape for treasures in music, TV and cinema.

What do you get when you mix Racal Flatts with Erasure, sprinkled with a little James Taylor? New CDs released this week and a whole lotta fresh stuff for that iPod.

imageARTIST: Rascal Flatts
TITLE: “Unstoppable”

Lovers of country pop have another reason to celebrate thanks to the latest album from Rascal Flatts. Following recent releases from Keith Urban and Martina McBride, “Unstoppable” contains plenty of barn burners and slow turners.

Lead single “Here Comes Goodbye” cracked Billboard’s Country Singles Top 10 and reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, while follow-up single “Love Who You Love” is currently climbing the charts. Other highlights from the trio’s sixth album include the feel-good “She’d Be California” and “Summer Nights,” which is sure to be ubiquitous on country radio in a couple of months.

imageARTIST: James Taylor
TITLE: “Other Covers”

Last year, Taylor released “Covers” and hinted that a follow-up might be in store. This EP contains seven songs, including a soulful “In the Midnight Hour,” a sleepy “Shiver Me Timbers” and a downright somnambulistic “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.”

Taylor has balls, though. He also included a rambunctious version of “Knock On Wood.” Yes, that “Knock On Wood,” the disco one. While this EP is sure to disappoint some Taylor fans, it’s not a bad collection of his unique take on these songs.

imageARTIST: Erasure
TITLE: “Pop! Remixed”

This digital-only release contains 10 remixes of Erasure’s biggest hits from the past 24 years. The 2009 Remix of “Always” remains pretty faithful to the dreamy original and some remixes are delivered from way back in time, like the Vince Clark 82 Synch Remix of “Stop!”

Highlights include the trippy Martin Pichiotti Strumapella Remix of “Freedom,” a fantastic Manhattan Clique Remix of “Always,” and the high-energy Avantara Remix of “A Little Respect.” Masterbeat features a bonus track, the kick-ass Dogmatix Dramatic Remix of “Drama!” If you’re dying for a physical CD, you can order the import version online.

imageARTIST: Erasure
TITLE: “Total Pop!” – Deluxe Box

Vince Clark and Andy Bell have been glamming it up since 1985 and this boxed set spans three CDs and one DVD and compiles their biggest hits. Disc one is a remaster of their 1992 collection, “Pop! The First 20 Hits,” which includes “Who Needs Love Like That,” “Chains of Love,” “Oh L’Amour,” and “A Little Respect.”

Disc two brings collects their greatest hits from 1992-2007, including “Breathe,” “Always,” “Don’t Say You Love Me,” and “Sunday Girl.” Disc three is a collection of live versions of their hits taken mostly from tours ranging from 1987’s Circus Tour to 2007’s Light at the End of the World Tour.

The DVD features 26 of the duo’s live appearances on British television and collects 26 of their hits live. This set is a godsend for fans because “Pop! The First 20 Hits” was screaming to be remastered and it is great to have a collection of Erasure’s hits. We’re ready for new material from Bell and Clark, though, so bring it on, boys.

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