Album: Red River Blue (Warner Bros.)
Why we care: Mr. Miranda Lambert is finally getting his hunky time in the limelight thanks to NBC's The Voice and a big fat crossover hit, the shaggy sing-along Honey Bee. The 35-year-old Okie excels at portraying the family-friendly wild child, an incorrigible country star that your mama loves, too.
Why we like it: Shelton's baritone is rich and earthy, and when it's plugged into easy-breezy tunes from a who's-who of Nashville songwriters, it mostly makes for a chummy Friday night. The ballads flop a bit, if only because B.S. is more believable as a rapscallion. But the title track features a sweet cameo from his wife, Mrs. Blake Shelton.
Reminds us of: "You be my sugar baby / I'll be your sweet iced tea."
Download this: Sunny in Seattle
Selena Gomez & the Scene
Album: When the Sun Goes Down (Hollywood)
Why we care: Eighteen-year-old Selena Gomez — a.k.a. J. Biebs' main squeeze — is Miley 2.0, a pretty multihyphenate trying to mature past the Mouse House pixie dust without losing her tweenage fan base.
Why we like it: The actor-singer's voice is fairly robo-tuned here, but it's not without a flirty charm, especially on breathy '80s dancer Bang Bang Bang. But Gomez's so-called Scene might as well be the Pussycats, as the faceless group sounds like one big overactive synthesizer. Nevertheless, a few cuts (the girl-powering Who Says, the take-that Bang Bang Bang) will get stuck in your brainpan anyway.
Reminds us of: Gomez plays Ruth Eckerd Hall on July 30. Sorry, kids, it's sold out.
Download this: Love You Like a Love Song
Black Veil Brides
Album: Set the World on Fire (Lava)
Why we care: Behold, the Prophet! The Mourner! The Mystic! The Deviant! The Destroyer! And now marvel at this Hollywood quintet's spooky face paint and the flames licking at their rebellious auras. Oooh, so flamey! I'm sure patron saint Gene "the Demon" Simmons would approve of BVB's glam-rock leanings. Or, um, he'd sue them for copyright infringement.
Why we like it: There are worse things to want to be when you grow up than Kiss. Or, for that matter, Nikki Sixx and his gnarly grunts in Motley Crue. BVB is led by Andy Biersack (psst, he's the Prophet), the chief singer-songwriter-admirer of metal cliche. It's all a big silly mess, but the boys earnestly love their work.
Reminds us of: At least I think they're boys.
Download this: Youth and Whisky
Zooey Deschanel, M. Ward
Album: Winnie the Pooh (Walt Disney Records)
Why we care: Zooey Deschanel — she of the perpetually surprised doe eyes and curlicue vocal — is so impossibly sweet chirping the songs of everyone's favorite tubby lil' cubby, I swear I had three new cavities after one listen. But the singing actor, getting help from her She & Him partner M. Ward, is so incredibly proud and giddy to be a part of Disney's big-money Pooh reboot — the title track and So Long swing with sincere jazz zip — it's hard to fault her cheeky exuberance.
Why we like it: My 3-year-old loves this soundtrack, and I appreciate anything that keeps the wee hellion distracted.
Reminds us of: Pooh author A.A. Milne had a son. His name? Christopher Robin.
Download this: Winnie the Pooh (title track)