Not only are there albums coming out this Tuesday, like normal, but there’s also a handful of albums coming out today (Monday), and one album that came out yesterday (Sunday)! All of this left me at a loss for when I was going to publish my column this week. Y’all can’t be doin’ that, record industry.
Anyway, lots of big names this week. Here’s the line-up.
Guns ‘n Roses Chinese Democracy: You’ve waited fourteen years. You thought it would never see the light of day in your lifetime. Hell, most of us never thought it would see the light of day in ANYONE’s lifetime. However, Axl Rose and his merry band of scabs have finally released Chinese Democracy. One of you guys will have to tell me whether it’s worth the wait. Unless I hear absolutely mind-blowing things, I’ll stick to my copy of Appetite for Destruction…although I must admit that I am intrigued. BTW, this album is only being released at Best Buy stores, bestbuy.com and iTunes.
Kanye West 808s & Heartbreak: Kanye has made a sharp left turn with this record, relying on Auto-Tune to tweak his vocals and making a spare, hollow-sounding record that’s more Radiohead than Jay-Z. It remains to be seen whether his fans will take this journey with him. I’ll admit that I don’t mind Love Lockdown and I kinda like Heartless, but this album still scares me a little bit. However, you’ve gotta at least give the guy props for not doing the same thing over and over, which is more than you can say for just about every other current hip-hop artist working.
The Fireman Electric Arguments: Who the hell is The Fireman, you ask, and why did his album make our Top 5? Well, folks, The Fireman is the alter ego of the teaming of British producer Youth (who has worked with Crowded House, among others) and a guy you might know by the name of Paul McCartney. Two previous Fireman releases in the Nineties were more on the ambient/dance side of things, while Electric Arguments could very well be seen as a (slightly avant-garde) regular McCartney album. Bonus points for a couple of tracks that somewhat covertly trash Heather Mills.
Ludacris Theater of the Mind: I think Ludacris is a phenomenal MC and a great singles artist. He’s never been able to hold my attention for a complete album, though, and that’s why despite the fact that this album is getting the best reviews of his career, I’m just not moved to buy this one. The first single is What Them Girls Like, featuring Sean Garrett and Chris Brown, and I haven’t heard anything that would cause me to think that this’ll sound like anything other than your typical Ludacris album.
Barry Manilow Greatest Songs of the Eighties: Yes, folks. It has come to this. Barry Manilow is covering some of the Eighties’ biggest ballads on a compilation that is sure to drive Grandmas wild (speaking of wild Grandmas, Tom Jones has an album out today as well). Among the songs the schnozz that roared covers: Careless Whisper, Open Arms and Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now). Excited yet?
But wait…there’s more!!
Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver vocalist Scott Weiland goes to the solo well for the second time (and first time in something like a decade) with “Happy” in Galoshes. I have no clue what that means, either. The Killers go back to dance-pop courtesy of producer Stuart Price (Seal, Madonna) on Day & Age. As mentioned before, the incomparable Tom Jones is back after a fifteen-year break with 24 Hours. Kanye protege Kid Sister makes her debut with Dream Date. Also, there’s a live CD/DVD combo from Hall & Oates, the debut from current Top 10 singles resident Kevin Rudolf, and in the week’s most exciting news, there’s a new album from Afroman, with the cleverly titled Frobama: Head of State.
On the re-issue front, Coldplay is re-issuing Viva La Vida with a bonus EP featuring the Lost! remix with Jay-Z. Also, another set of early/home recordings from Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo hits stores, as do remix albums from Moby and Good Charlotte (!). R&B heartthrob Jaheim issues his first Greatest Hits album this week, Linkin Park release their third live album, and Feist‘s The Reminder and R.E.M.’s seminal Murmur get the multi-disc deluxe package treatment.
A full list of this week’s releases can be found here.