New tunes: Ciara, Jewel, Kreis, Yamin

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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.

Ciara envisions herself as a super heroine while Levi Kreis lends himself to commercial success. Jewel goes family-friendly. It’s all in new tunes now ready for your consumption.

imageARTIST: Ciara
TITLE: “Fantasy Ride”

For her third album, Ciara envisions herself as a super heroine, fighting for crunk beats, party anthems, and dance floors everywhere. The lead single, “Love Sex Magic” featuring Justin Timberlake, was a smash and bodes well for the rest of the oft-delayed album.

Another collaboration that strikes the right notes is “Turntables” featuring Chris Brown (yes, that Chris Brown) and one can only hope Brown kept his hands to himself in the recording studio. “Never Ever” samples lyrics from the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ classic “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and features Young Jeezy.

“G is for Girl (A-Z)” is a romp through the alphabet chronicling the ways women can fulfill your dreams (if you’re into that sort of thing). iTunes features a deluxe version of the album with two bonus tracks and six videos of behind the scenes and making of music videos.

imageARTIST: Jewel
TITLE: “Lullaby”

Trouble getting to sleep? Check out this album. “Lullaby” is Jewel’s first independent release and she definitely went the family-friendly angle. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Brahms Lullaby” accompany original songs from the Alaskan singer/songwriter, who collaborated with Fisher-Price on the release of this album.

imageARTIST: Levi Kreis
TITLE: “Where I Belong”

Hot, gay, Christian and talented is a good combo and Kreis has all four in spades. With this new album, he’s poised to be the next “It” Boy.

“Gonna Be Alright” is affirming and soulful but accessible for the current pop radio market. “This Girl” is a scandalous ode to chemistry with a hot chick (Kreis is openly gay and married to a man, after all, so that is a little scandalous) while “Stained Glass Windows” stirs the soul and moves the spirit within.

Kreis has a way with writing songs, but delivers his most consistent and bankable body of work on “Where I Belong.” It lends itself to commercial success, but don’t think he compromised his faith or artistic style. Read more about Kreis in his interview with Project Q Atlanta.

imageARTIST: Elliott Yamin
TITLE: “Fight for Love”

Surprisingly, this “American Idol” alumnus from Season Five did a good job on his sophomore album. Yamin made a name for himself post-“Idol” in the blue-eyed soul genre and worked with some of the biggest producers in the business today on his new album, including Johnta Austin, StarGate, Jermaine Dupri, and J.R. Rotem.

“Let Love Be” is a slick, midtempo groove, “You” is a beautifully orchestrated declaration of love, and “Can’t Keep on Loving You (From a Distance)” is a great modern ballad with a nice backbeat and tempo. iTunes features a version of the album with two bonus tracks, “Doorway” and “Forever in You.”

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