Album: Mariah Carey, Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (Mercury)

Once upon a time, Mariah Carey's albums had infantile titles like Butterfly, Rainbow, Glitter and Charmbracelet – sickly-sweet enough to be some pre-teen cartoon superheroine line-up.

Album: Muse, The Resistance, (Helium/WEA)

A politicised Muse take the path of vague resistance

Muse, The Den, Teignmouth

Seaside Special was never like this: two Mr Punches leer over the stage from posters either side, a circus ringmaster opens proceedings, yet big-top glitter and knockabout humour are way off the agenda.

Let the shuffle gods decide: Will Oldham lets his iPod do the talking

We have a date with destiny but Will Oldham is walking out of his central London hotel just as I'm going in. "Gonna get a better cup of coffee than they serve here and I'll be right back," he says, strolling out on to Tottenham Court Road. Twenty-five minutes later, Oldham returns. He is not, it seems, a man to take his beverages lightly.

Taio Cruz, Academy 2, Sheffield

Hesitant and bashful, UK R'n'B's latest hope must be more confident in the studios of America's hottest producers than at this Yorkshire venue's learner stage. At least, Taio Cruz's CV emphasises his accomplishments behind the mixing desk more than in his slowly burgeoning solo career.

Album: Ashlee Simpson, Bittersweet World (Geffen)

Few acts epitomise the failings of corporate pop as completely as Ashlee Simpson, one of those insubstantial presences who seem to emanate from the industry like marsh-gas, shape-shifting to fit whatever trends briefly catch the public ear, then evaporating to leave only a lingering whiff of inauthenticity.

Sound of the urban underground

Urban artists are turning mainstream – but will popular success kill their credibility? Matilda Egere-Cooper reports

Album: Madonna, Hard Candy (Warner)

For the record, I'm neither ageist nor a prude. But when, four tracks into Madonna's 11th studio album 'Hard Candy', the 49-year-old Queen of Pop starts monotonously cooing "see my booty get down" while Pharrell Williams pants desperately over the top, my immediate reaction is sheer, hair-standing-on-end embarrassment.

Why the music industry must keep its eye on the prize

Majors and indie labels alike must ensure that talent rises to the top in the fractured world of music marketing

Duran Duran, The Lyceum, London<br/>Daggers, Purple Turtle, London

More than 25 years after they burst on to the scene, Duran Duran show that they haven't lost the art of making great pop songs

Bryan Robson: 'I find it frustrating I haven't had a chance at a top club'

The Old Trafford icon who could have been England manager tells Nick Townsend that harder times have not dimmed his desire

Album: Timbaland & Magoo

Under Construction Part II, Blackground / Unique

Shopping: I want...A funky pair of headphones - The route to a secret world of sound

Not everybody appreciates the importance of quality headphones. Some people hold "cans" in such contempt that they would never consider owning a set, were it not for the proliferation of the personal stereo, which, of course, comes equipped with "free" ones. These people are unlikely to have ever experienced the trainspottery buzz of putting on a new CD and being delighted by the discovery that a seemingly two-dimensional song played on a cheap stereo unfurls into virtual stage play when headphones are worn. Take the intro to Timbaland's new album, for instance, wherein you find yourself strolling alongside - and having the same blushing perspective as - vocalist TK Kirkland as he observes that the woman walking ahead of him has a great future behind her.
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Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee