It’s hard to believe that the year is half over already, isn’t it? Well, labels are starting to tentatively map out their 4th quarters, and a couple of big names have already signed on to release new music in the last few months of the year.

News reports are saying that Whitney Houston’s long-awaited, much discussed comeback album will finally come out on September 1st. This will be Whitney’s first album of new material since 2002’s “Just Whitney”. A song with Akon entitled “Like I Never Left” popped up on the interwebs last fall, but there’s no telling whether that song (which was actually pretty good) will make it onto the album. I don’t think Whitney’s totally squandered her goodwill. I think that with the right material and a sound that’s contemporary while still age-appropriate and classy, she can return to her former glory.

Also coming out in September, allegedly, will be Jay-Z’s “Blueprint 3”. Originally scheduled to come out at the end of 2008, B3 will be Jay’s first album in two years, following the platinum-selling “American Gangster”. It will also be Jay’s first album since leaving Def Jam, his home for the last 12 years. Now, here’s an interesting factoid. “Blueprint 3” is tentatively scheduled to come out on September 11th, which will mark eight years to the day since the first “Blueprint” was released. Does Jay still have enough juice to pull out a Friday release date? If these dates remain the same (which we both know they probably won’t), I guess we’ll see. Of course, considering the dearth of good music so far in 2009, the promise of new music from two dependable artists (not to mention Sade’s rumored November return) is music to my ears.