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PLAY > SKIP: New Music for Oct. 12

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This week Big Time Rush makes a run for the boy-band crown, Darius Rucker completes his country conversion, Lil Wayne drops a hip-hop bomb from behind bars, Belle & Sebastian make the world safe for pretty pop songs, and Sufjan Stevens buries the meaning below a mound of electronica.

WATCH: Check out this week's must-play pick: Belle & Sebastian.


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PLAY: Darius Rucker, "Charleston, SC 1966"

Darius Rucker continues to distance himself from his Hootie & the Blowfish past by releasing a second country album. He plays the part well. "Charleston, SC 1966" stands with the best of Nashville country-pop songwriting and makes Rucker's country conversion complete. Bye-bye, Hootie.

WATCH Darius Rucker's single "Come Back Song."

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PLAY: Lil Wayne, "I Am Not a Human Being"

Lil Wayne's latest is a keepsake for fans until Weezy gets out of jail (he recorded it before his lockup). "I Am Not a Human Being" is just as crude as you'd expect, if not a little uneven. I can give the guy a break -- he probably had a lot on his mind. Still, it's worth a play while you wait for "Tha Carter IV."

WATCH Lil Wayne's single "I Am Not a Human Being."

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SKIP: Big Time Rush, "B.T.R."

Nickelodeon's answer to the Jonas Brothers takes a little longer to grate on your nerves, but the net effect is just the same. It's more tween Auto-Tuned sludge from the tween sludge factory. Is there some kids TV law that says kids TV show bands can't have some soul?

WATCH Big Time Rush's single "City Is Ours."

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PLAY: Belle & Sebastian, "Belle & Sebastian Write Songs About Love"

Belle & Sebastian continue to make the world a safer place, one pretty pop song at a time. Their latest is filled with lush arrangements, romantic chords, and a smartness that won't hurt your head. The critics love 'em. You should too. Give their latest a spin and thank me later.

WATCH the music video for Belle & Sebastian's single "I Want the World to Stop."

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PLAY: Sufjan Stevens, "The Age of Adz"

Sufjan Stevens is the Irving Berlin of indie unpredictability. "The Age of Adz" makes you work a bit harder than Belle & Sebastian do. Stevens pushes the Brooklyn envelope with dense electronica, serious orchestration, and hip-hop undercurrents. It's a masters class in song-craft, but there are some beautiful ideas buried under those strange sounds.

WATCH Sufjan Stevens perform "Impossible Soul" live.