Susan Boyle, 'Someone to Watch Over Me'
The 50-year-old Scot gained renown after a much-YouTubed 2009 audition on "Britain's Got Talent," in which she sang a stunning rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream," comically and predictably wiping the smirk off Simon Cowell's face. The ensuing media buzz about appearance vs. talent overshadowed an important fact: Boyle is actually a pretty versatile performer for having such a novelty path to fame. Her third studio album, a collection of familiar pop vocal staples (Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now") and some more offbeat choices (Tears for Fears' "Mad World"), is an ultimately accomplished—if eclectic—mix. Boyle implements a purring, loungy voice in songs like the title track and "Lilac Wine," and—shockingly—it works. It's nice to see someone who gained fame after a operatic performance of a "Les Miserables" ballad adapt swimmingly to such disparate styles. Boyle already had the best-selling U.K. debut album of all time, and this addition to her catalog should be a competitive release as well. –LM
Official website: http://www.susanboylemusic.com