Album: Funhouse (LaFace/Zomba)
In stores: Now
Why we care: No surprise here that Pink's "breakup" album (she divorced motocross star Carey Hart this year) is tough, raw and head-snappingly bipolar. In an ephemeral pop wasteland, the lovable malcontent born Alecia Moore doesn't suffer fools or lousy husbands, and she gladly lets 'em know about it. I wonder if they sing along, too?
Why we like it: Irresistible first single So What ("I guess I just lost my husband / I don't know where he went") is a raucous, thumbed-nose arena chant. But soon enough, Pink, whose growl is as effective as her croon, breaks down beautifully, especially on ballad I Don't Believe You ("So don't pretend to not love me at all").
Reminds us of: Joan Jett with a Mystic Tan
Download these: So What, I Don't Believe You
Album: Black Ice (Columbia)
In stores: Now (available only at Wal-Mart)
Why we care: Eight years have passed since AC/DC's last crack of heavy-metal thunder, but this much remains true: The schoolboy uniform still fits, and Angus Young can still lay down a reinforced riff like no other. Sure, for every fist-pounder there are two more that sound just like it. But trust me, this plus a six-pack will make for a fun Friday night.
Why we like it: Producer Brendan O'Brien is obviously a fan, and he properly isolates all those bloozy licks and defibrillating drum pounds. The best song, Anything Goes, is sweet and sinister, a new trick from old dogs.
Reminds us of: My unrequited sixth-grade crush once played Back in Black during gymnastics. This should explain everything.
Download this: Anything Goes
Album: Break Up the Concrete (Shangri-La)
In stores: Now
Why we care: At Chrissie Hynde's VegiTerranean, a vegan restaurant she opened in her Akron, Ohio, hometown, the menu and dining room are based on high-falutin' food and fashion. Her approach to rock 'n' roll, however, is the total opposite: messy, swaggery, built in an oil-slick garage with bad lighting. No matter what the 57-year-old does, though, the result is tasty.
Why we like it: From the jackknife bliss of Boots of Chinese Plastic to strutty Don't Cut Your Hair, Hynde and super-drummer Jim Keltner run rockabilly through the '60s up to now.
Reminds us of: If you go to VegiTerranean, order the hot Italian banana peppers with soy mozzarella and herb risotto. Unbelievable.
Download this: Boots of Chinese Plastic
SONG OF THE WEEK
Song: I Want It All
Album: High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Disney)
In stores: Now
Why we care: With the High School Musical franchise ready to graduate its original cast of stars, it'll be interesting to see who stays famous post-Disney — and who hosts sad game shows on Animal Planet. My bet? Ashley Tisdale, as HSM's Veruca Salty rich kid Sharpay, outlasts 'em all. For proof, check out I Want It All, High School Musical 3's bonkers salute to the universal hunger for fame.
Why we like it: Throughout the series, Sharpay's material-girl songs have always scored because they dilute the drippiness of the lead couple's ballads. Tisdale has a pinched voice and wobbly legs, but she's funny and quick and knows how to sell Bob Fosse-style snap and 'tude. Fabulous, indeed.
Reminds us of: The great Madeline Kahn