Candice GloverMusic Speaks/Interscope/19 Recordings

Candice Glover originally planned to release her debut two months after she won "American Idol" last May. She postponed it - twice.

Time is definitely on her side though: "Music Speaks" is one of the better "Idol" debuts.

Glover, to no one's surprise, is a vocal powerhouse on the 12-track set, which is full of pop ballads and R&B numbers that fit together nicely. Most post-"Idol" albums, and those from other TV talent contestants, lack personality and a sense of cohesiveness. But Glover paints an intriguing portrait of a woman lost in love, and all the emotional highs and lows that come with that condition.

The South Carolina native kicks off the album with the top-notch "Cried," co-written by one of her contemporary influences, Jazmine Sullivan. "Die Without You" echoes Brandy, but with stronger vocals, while "Same Kind of Man" and the powerful "Forever That Man" mirror Fantasia.

The 24-year-old hasn't found her voice entirely, and all of the songs aren't complete winners (like the Mike WiLL Made-It-produced "Passenger"), but Glover demonstrates promise as she shows she's more than a balladeer: She coos beautifully on "Kiss Me," which sounds like a future radio hit; she shines on the beat-driven, Southern hip-hop-flavored "Coulda Been Me," co-written by Ester Dean; and "In the Middle" surprisingly interpolates Shabba Ranks' "Ting-A-Ling" in a good way.

On the piano-tune "Damn," she nails the song when she sings of falling in love with another woman's lover in a calm tone.

Glover stole the show on "Idol" when she adapted her voice to a wide-range of songs, from Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" to the Cure's "Lovesong," which she includes on the new album. Her debut is similar, it proves just how much potential she has.

By Mesfin Fekadu, Associated Press

Eric ChurchThe Outsiders/EMI Nashville

Eric Church is developing two separate and distinct personalities that seem to wrestle each other in a glorious battle royal on his fourth and best album, "The Outsiders."

There's that guy Chief, with the hat and sunglasses and the love of rock 'n' roll, whiskey, stubborn streaks and fistfights.

And then there's the version of Church who wins (or loses) the girl, stirs moments of universal reverie and tickles the funny bone with hits that appeal to country music's bedrock fan base.

Both these guys are at their best on "The Outsiders," one-upping each other with songs that embrace the breadth and history of country music while ignoring those conventions to explore far afield.

Managing this trick requires a delicate touch, and Church and producer Jay Joyce push the limits while maintaining a balance that leaves a little something for everyone.

Don't like the heavy rock riffs and leather jacket-clad message of the Black Sabbath-leaning title song? Well, there's the tear-jerker ballad "A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young."

Tired of the paint-by-numbers party songs that flood radio? His answer is "Cold One," which offers a twist on a tired theme.

Need a couples song for you and your new country gal? Try "Talladega," which somehow turns auto racing into an epic love poem.

"Give Me Back My Hometown" is straight up nostalgia. And if that's not your thing, there's the rock-informed "Dark Side," "That's Damn Rock & Roll" and "The Joint" to go with your shot and beer back.

Tempo-shifting "Roller Coaster Ride" and funky country "Broke Record" use sonic interpretations of Church's lyrics to rev up things. The organ on "Like a Wrecking Ball" and the trumpet at the end of "The Joint" are delightful moments that show Church is confident that his listeners are his to command.

He even tries his hand at spoken-word noir on "Devil, Devil." The album is full of little flourishes like these that aren't necessary but show a restless creativity that requires repeated listening.

"The Outsiders" is the rare album that invites debate, and asks us to take sides. In this case, pick freely. You can't lose.

By Chris Talbott, Associated Press