Kelly Rowland -- Ms. Kelly (Columbia) There are moments on this CD -- particularly the Scott Storch-produced "Work," a rump-shaking retread that's essentially "Dangerously in Love" 2007 -- where Rowland follows a little too closely in former band mate Beyonce Knowles' spike-heeled footsteps. And among the other club offerings, only the synth-and-percussion-charged "Like This" avoids crunk-inspired cliches.
But those tunes sound like what they likely are: window dressing tacked onto the body of this disc as a sales-motivated afterthought.
Sinead O'Connor -- Theology (Koch) Although she's no longer riding heavy reggae rhythms or borrowing Rastafarian battle cries, as she did on her last album, Throw Down Your Arms, Sinead O'Connor still has Jah on the brain.
Just as her detour into Jamaican music was a chance to cast her faith in a new light and further separate God from the confines of traditional Christianity, Theology is two CDs of spiritual longing and questioning.
The first disc, recorded in Dublin, Ireland, presents O'Connor's latest batch of songs in threadbare acoustic form, while the second, recorded in London, adds drums, electric guitars and violins.
Electrified or not, none of the songs leaves much of a lasting impression, at least not musically. Their strength lies more in their honesty and austere poetry. ...