Talk about ending with a bang. This last day of September 2008 (which, if I’m not mistaken, is also the last day for Grammy eligibility for next year’s ceremony) brings out some big guns (I just realized I made a bunch of firearm references in a column that strongly features an artist who just got sentenced to jail for firearms possession… I swear it was unintentional). Nevertheless, there’s something for just about everyone in stores this week. Here’s what you have to look forward to :

Robin Thicke “Something Else” : You know, a lot of folks like to say “I loved (name artist) when no one else liked them”. Robin Thicke is one of those artists I can say that about. The blue-eyed soul singer broke through two years back with his second album, “The Evolution of Robin Thicke”. Although he had to tone down his sound a little bit to get a hit, it was a pretty solid album. His third album, “Something Else” hits stores today and promises yet another collection of uptempo soul thumpers (like the first single “Magic”) and romantic ballads. Not bad for the son of Jason Seaver.

Robin Thicke's "Something Else" hits stores today.

  Ben Folds “Way To Normal” :The clown prince of pop is finally releasing the follow-up to his uncharacteristically serious “Songs for Silverman” album. If the songs I saw him perform the other night are indication, he’s got his humor back and has sacrificed none of his musical agility. Regina Spektor guests on the album’s first single, but Folds is talented enough that he doesn’t need any guest artist stunt casting to make a good record.

T.I. “Paper Trail” :He’s got the #1 single in the country (the maddeningly annoying “Whatever U Like”), so obviously someone’s looking for this one. Before heading to the pokey to serve a yearlong sentence for intent to purchase and posess firearms (in case you didn’t know, T.I. is a convicted felon), T.I. recorded this album while under house arrest. Guest artists here include Rihanna and the omnipresent Justin Timberlake. Collabos with the likes of Ludacris and Lil’ Wayne may or may not have made the album. I guess we’ll see when we get to the store tomorrow, right?

Jennifer Hudson “Jennifer Hudson” : The Oscar winner has made us wait nearly two full years for her official musical debut. She’s a diva with a big voice, but the fact that she doesn’t have much of a personality as a singer might hinder this debut. Nevertheless, Jen’s debut will contain contributions from a who’s who of today’s most popular R&B songwriters and producers, including (gulp) T-Pain. Sigh.

James Taylor “Covers” : Forgive me for thinking that the original JT had released a covers album before. From “Handy Man” to “Up on the Roof” and “How Sweet it Is (To Be Loved By You)”, he’s certainly recorded his share of them. I love love love JT, but do we really need new versions of “Hound Dog” or “On Broadway”? If you’re a Taylor fan, you might also want to check out the new album from James’s son Ben, “The Legend of Kung Folk, Vol. 1”, which came out last week.

But wait, there’s more!! Lots more, actually.

As though there aren’t enough Tina Turner compilations on the market, “Tina!” hits stores today to help promote the leggy legend’s “I Retired!! Psych!!” comeback tour. If you don’t have one of the other 3,000 Tina compilations currently available, this might be the one to have. Sentive singer-songwriter Joshua Radin, who performed at Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s wedding this summer, returns with his sophomore effort, “Simple Times”. Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello adopts his Nightwatchman persona for the second time (hey, it wouldn’t be an election year without a record from Rage or one of its’ offshoots) with “The Fabled City”, while Brit soul singer James (not Jim) Morrison follows his successful debut with “Songs for You, Truth For Me” today.

The holiday albums are starting to hit, signaling the unofficial beginning of jingle bell season. The first set of Christmas cheer comes from Melissa Etheridge, Faith Hill, and The Archies (I’m not kidding) who all have Yuletide offerings hitting stores today. Not letting J-Hud have all the fun, fellow “Idol” alum Kellie Pickler follows up her Gold debut with a self-titled album today and finally, we have the return of legendary singer/songwriter Todd Rundgren, of “Hello It’s Me”, “Can We Still Be Friends” and “(I Don’t Wanna Work, I Just Wanna) Bang De Drum All Day” fame.

You can get a full list of this week’s releases here. Happy shopping!!