This multi-platinum-selling R&B darling who became the biggest multimedia star to emerge in the early '90s is back with a new album that dares to do what Britney Spears could not: convincingly bare her adult self. Brandy walks her man through love-making and confronts doomed relationships over grooves as big as Notorious B.I.G. and as smooth as Michael Jackson. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Brandy's hefty 17-track follow-up to 1998's ``Never Say Never'' - an album that featured the Grammy-winning duet ``The Boy Is Mine'' with Monica - finds the 23-year-old singer, actress, model and newlywed, who is expecting her first baby, primed to pick up from where she left off. In fact, the only part of the adult Brandy that might take some getting used to is her new rap moniker that listeners are made privy to in the opening ``BRocka Intro.''
- Sandra Barrera
NORAH JONES ``Come Away With Me''(Blue Note) Four stars
Norah Jones seems too good to be true after listening to the buzz, but you won't think so after listening to her debut album. Despite her youthful years (22), Jones displays a musical sophistication in her timing and phrasing that most singers would kill for, and her voice has the timbre of an old soul. While she could have opted to do an album of standards and given herself an easy jazz-pop fan base, Jones decided to record mostly compositions that either she or her bandmembers wrote. Only three of the 14 cuts - Hank Williams' ``Cold Cold Heart,'' J.D. Loudermilk's ``Turn Me On'' and Hoagy Carmichael's ``The Nearness of You'' - are covers, all of which she makes her own. While none of the originals are going to knock your socks off, Jones inhabits them so well that listening to the album is like spending a lovely afternoon with a good friend and a bottle of fine wine.
- Rob Lowman
VARIOUS ARTISTS ``Moulin Rouge 2''(Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp./Interscope Records) One and one half stars
Not enough good can be said about the original soundtrack to the eight- time Oscar-nominated film ``Moulin Rouge.'' It was, to borrow a line from the movie, spectacular spectacular. If only the same were true of the latest installment of music from Baz Luhrmann's modern pop opera starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. ``Moulin Rouge 2'' features 11 tracks of mostly filler; songs that without cinematic accompaniment, such as the hilarious ``Like a Virgin'' performed by the wheeling, dealing Jim Broadbent and sinister Richard Roxburgh, are no fun to listen to over the headphones.
- Sandra Barrera
INDIGO GIRLS: ``Become You'' (Epic) Three stars
Blending their voices in powerful harmonies over acoustic and electric guitars, the Indigo Girls have attained a degree of pop success rare for artists so firmly rooted in folk and women's music. Amy Ray's rough alto and moody rock songs provide an edgy balance to Emily Saliers' warm soprano and folkish compositions. Compared to 1999's genre-jumping ``Come On Now Social,'' ``Become You'' (in stores Tuesday), the duo's eighth studio album, is a stripped-down, acoustic recording. Ray's lyrical and vocal talents shine on ``Moment of Forgiveness'' and ``Nuevas Senoritas,'' an evocative ballad inspired by a trip to Chiapas, Mexico. Saliers takes her turn in the spotlight with ``Deconstruction,'' ``Collecting You'' and ``Our Deliverance.''
- Phillip Zonkel
KYLIE MINOGUE ``Fever'' (Capitol Records) Two and one half stars
A 1988 rendition of Little Eva's ``Locomotion'' propelled this Aussie soap actress into a dance-pop icon of international proportion. Though her visibility has been greater outside the U.S. over the years, Kylie Minogue's grooving new ``Fever'' could be her entree back into the teen dance-pop dominated land of Britney Spears, on the strength of ``Love at First Sight,'' ``Your Love'' and the title track alone.
- Sandra Barrera
(1) no caption (Brandy)
(2 -- 5) no caption (CD covers)