The long spring of 'N Sync will likely not be affected by any of the releases for April 18. All right, we'll go far enough to say that it is metaphysically certain that none of the following will unseat 'N Sync. But we have high hopes for teen-thrush-with-a-brain Hoku, and we urge everyone - from Mouseketeer pop fans to frat-rap enthusiasts to those who like to ryde ruff - to consider the sublime Elliott Smith.

Elliott Smith
Figure 8
DreamWorks
There are times when VH1.com thinks that if we hear another sensitive singer/songwriter, our heads will explode. But no such reaction occurs when we hear Elliott Smith, the uncommonly gifted Portland, Ore., songster. Everything that would spell disaster - doleful sentiments, Beatlesque arrangements, hushed, fugue-like vocal chorales - in Smith's hands becomes a recipe for triumph. While Figure 8 makes no significant adjustments from 1998's XO, it's no problem. Because he's that good. (To read VH1.com's review of Figure 8, click here.)

Tracy Bonham
Down Here
Island

Jill Sobule
Pink Pearl
Beyond
Bonham was known in 1996 for screeching "Mother, Mother." Sobule was known for warbling "I Kissed a Girl." Now that the cultural topics of "angry women" and lesbian chic have cooled, if not become imperceptibly entrenched, so what do these two have to offer? Merely well-constructed, well-sung, well-played songs. And the day those values cease to matter is the day we turn in our music-fan licenses and spent the rest of our lives ice-fishing in the tundra.

Dalvin DeGrate
Met.a.Mor.Phic
Maverick
DeGrate, formerly of Jodeci, attempts to "do a Sisqo." Can he make Jodeci a distant memory, as Sisqo has done with Dru Hill? Stay tuned.

Hoku
Hoku
Interscope
Hoku is regularly mentioned in the same breath as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, and Jessica Simpson. Why? Because she, the daughter of Hawaiian crooner Don Ho, is a blond teenage girl. And this is a great disservice, for there is nary the taint of "clone" about her. Aguilera has said that she feels that Hoku's "Just Another Dumb Blonde" is a dis against her, but the sweet, spunky single is in fact a kiss-off to a boy who is encouraged "to find another dumb blonde."

KISS
Alive IV
Mercury
It was New Year's Eve in Canada, and the grand old men of pop-metal rang in the new by rock'n'rolling all night, and we have no doubt that the Canucks present partied all day. With KISS Alive IV, recorded that night, you are there. If Gene Simmons is to be believed, this will be the last KISS album. So you can get this album, or you can pick up tickets to see the ancient kabuki klown rockers when they show up in your town. Either way, kiss 'em bye-bye.

69 Boyz
2069
Jake/Interscope

Jay Beckenstein
Eye Contact
Windham Hill

Black Indian
Get 'Em Psyched!!
MCA

Braid
Lucky to Be Alive
Oglio

Built to Spill
Live
Warner Bros.

Cameo
Sweet Sexy Thing
Private I

Peter Case
Flying Saucer Blues
Vanguard

The Clarke & Ware Experiment
Pretentious
Mute

Anita Cochran
Anita
Warner Bros.

Dokken
Live From the Sun
CMC International

F.A.T.E.
For All That's Endured
Warner Bros.

The Groovie Ghoulies
Travels With My Amp
Lookout!

Gus Gus
Gus Gus Vs. the World
4AD/Beggars Banquet

Eric Idle
Eric Idle Sings Monty Python Live in Concert
Restless

Joe
My Name Is
Jive

Chantal Kreviazuk
Color Moving and Still
Columbia

Bill Laswell
Dub Chamber No. 3
ROIR

The Makers
Rock Star God
Sub Pop

The Mendoza Line
We're All in This Alone
Bar/None

Modernist
Explosion
Matador

Bruce Molsky
Poor Man's Troubles
Rounder

Nightmares on Wax
The Sound of N.O.W.
Matador

Maceo Parker
Dial Maceo
W.A.R.

Pimpadelic
Southern Devils
Tommy Boy

Jessica Riddle
Key of a Minor
Hollywood

Sauce Money
Middle Finger U
Priority

ShanDozia
ShanDozia
Qwest/WB

Ken Sharp
Happy Accidents
Not Lame

Shiner
Starless
Symbiotic/Platinum

Matthew Shipp
Quartet Pastoral Composure
Thirsty Ear

Todd Snider
Happy to Be Here
Oh Boy

Speedy J A
Shocking Hobby
Mute

Starling
Sustainer
Arista

Starmarket
Four Hours Light
Symbiotic/Platinum

Take 6
Live
Reprise

Tarbox Ramblers
Tarbox Ramblers
Rounder

David Thomas & Foreigners
Bay City
Thirsty Ear

Paul Thorn
Ain't Love Strange
Ark 21

Tossers
Long Dim Road
Symbiotic/Platinum

Tony Touch
The Piece Maker
Tommy Boy

Wonderland
The End of Bliss
Jericho/Sire

Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society
Stronger Than Death
Spitfire