This CD cover image released by Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records shows Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head by T.I. (AP Photo/Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records)
This undated publicity photo provided by EMI Music shows the soundtrack album cover of the film, "This Is 40." (AP Photo/EMI Music)
Girls Soundtrack Volume 1: Music From the HBO Original Series
Fueled by Ramen; $12.70
Lena Dunham’s “Girls” is a cult TV phenomenon, so it’s only right that the soundtrack matches the quirkiness of the on-screen action. The soundtrack is littered with indie anthems, opening with the dance floor smash “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn, which accompanies a standout moment in the HBO sitcom where Dunham’s character gets caught dancing on her own. Other highlights include The Vaccines’ bellowing “Wreckin’ Bar” and “I Don’t Love Anyone,” a twinkling, whimsical ditty from Belle & Sebastian. A weaker moment surprisingly comes from pop-rock trio fun., whose lyrics on “Sight of the Sun” seem disjointed and inconsequential. However, the soundtrack stands alone as a great collection of tunes, and as we wait for Sunday’s premiere of season two, we can enjoy the soundtrack to season one.
This Is 40 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Capitol Records; $14.99
It doesn’t matter if you’re 40 or a fan of Judd Apatow, the soundtrack for the writer-director’s latest film, “This Is 40,” is worth checking out.
Among its 16 tracks are new and original songs from Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, Graham Parker and Lindsey Buckingham, plus new takes on old songs by Wilco and Ryan Adams.
It’s a folksy blend of indie tunes, and as the film deals with the challenges of marriage and midlife, there are some heart-wrenching ones in the mix.
Jones’ track is a standout, with a happy, dancing piano that contradicts its stark refrain: “Always judging, never loving.” Another highlight is among three new songs Buckingham contributes: “Sick of You” is a showcase for his signature guitar melodies.
There’s bright love on the album, too, most cheerfully on Wilco’s “I Got You,” a new version of the band’s 1996 song with Jones on backing vocals, and Yoko Ono’s fairytale love song, “Yes, I’m Your Angel.”
Songs by composer-producer Jon Brion, Paul McCartney, Loudon Wainwright III, the Avett Brothers and Paul Simon round out the album.
Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head
Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records; $11.99
After a lackluster response to 2010’s “No Mercy,” some questioned whether T.I.’s rap presence was still strong. But the Grammy winner shows he hasn’t lost a step, delivering an assortment of quality songs on his eighth album, “Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head.”
The self-proclaimed “King of the South” lives up to his billing with one of his best pieces of work, featuring stellar production from Pharrell, No I.D., T-Minus and DJ Toomp, and guest appearances from Lil Wayne, Pink, Andre 3000 and CeeLo Green.
The 16-track album, which was inspired by Marvin Gaye’s 1972 album “Trouble Man,” details T.I.’s struggles to overcome his continuous missteps. On three interludes, he reenacts some of those moments, including his arrest before the 2008 BET Hip-Hop Awards and when his best friend, Philant Johnson, was killed in a 2006 shootout in Cincinnati.
But despite his mishaps, T.I. is unapologetic to his critics. He’s certainly that way on the Jazze Pha-produced “Sorry,” featuring Andre 3000, who blesses the track with his superb rhymes.
On the top-notch “Can You Learn,” with R. Kelly, T.I. asks his woman if she could support her mate who often finds himself in trouble. Pink’s vocals soar on the melancholy “Guns and Roses,” while “Trap Back Jumpin’” and “Go Get It” are definite street anthems. The easy-riding “Hello” and “Hallelujah” are standouts as well.