DEVENDRA Banhart is regarded as the flagbearer of the American freak-folk movement, complete with a wiry beard and a penchant for quivering chants.
With influences ranging from psychedelia and Brazilian Tropicalia to jazz and even a little 1960s rock 'n' roll, many have called his sound just plain weird.
This, despite 2002's Oh Me Oh My and its 2004 follow-up, Rejoicing In The Hands, carrying the lyrical wit of a budding troubadour matured decades before his time.
At 29, the Venezuelan-Texan now breaks out of his niche to make himself more palatable to the everyday listener.
On What Will We Be - his first major-label release which features the same line-up of musicians as Smokey Rolls - Banhart, who also performs with folk band Vetiver, aims his guns firmly at the mainstream.
The first three tracks prove to be the album's strongest, with Can't But Smiling's school-hall dance vibe, Angelika's sudden switch mid-song to bossa nova and Baby's Motown jive.
His closest venture into the territory of contemporary British indie pop-rock is on 16th & Valencia Roxy Music, and it's perhaps his best shot at making it onto radio airwaves.
Its lyrics, in his typical fashion, leave you scratching your head: "Riding six white horses/ Wearing them pressed blue jeans/Gonna behead the king/ And give the queen everything."
It's amazing how Banhart has managed to retain his kookiness over the years even while he bends his own rules.
And he does it without jeopardising the aura of mysticism that surrounds him.
Before I Self Destruct (Universal)
ORIGINALLY planned for release in 2007, 50 Cent aka Curtis Jackson gives listeners a tracklist of 16 gangsta-rap offerings that drip with murder, crime and violence.
While he abstains from an overload of collaborations, guest star Eminem gives a push on Psycho - a monotonous mix of beeps and beats - while R. Kelly softens the mood on Could've Been You.
Nothing Also Happy (Budak Pantai)
THEY'RE touted as Singapore's current-affairs singing group who take a humorous jab at everything local, from the economic downturn to Pedra Branca.
They take a satirical spin on rewritten lyrics for Unbreak - a cover of Toni Braxton's Unbreak My Heart - and the tongue-incheek Nipples.
This is guaranteed to bring on the chuckles.
I Dreamed A Dream (Sony)
THIS finalist of reality-TV competition Britain's Got Talent's debut has become the fastest-selling album of all time in Britain.
The album also hit No. 1 in the United States. And it's no wonder.
Her operatic vocals wow on I Dreamed A Dream, the song that got her international attention and made her a YouTube star.
But her clarity also unexpectedly shines on a cover of The Rolling Stones' Wild Horses. A gem for the festive season.
Battle Studies (Sony)
FANS besotted with John Mayer's 2006 Grammy-winning Continuum and his work with his trio will be hard pressed to find many blues tracks in this latest release.
He now banks heavily on pop, running in the vein of his sophomore release, Heavier Things.
This is clearly heard on lead single Who Says and Half Of My Heart which he duets with Taylor Swift.
Still, the shining moment appears on Robert Johnson's classic, Crossroads.