Li’l Wayne “The Carter III”: THIS is the guy who’s supposed to save hip-hop? Although I don’t find him as annoying as someone who grew up listening to Rakim and Big Daddy Kane should, I also don’t get what the big to-do is about him. Sure, he has an interesting wheeze of a voice, but in terms of technical skill, nothing really sets him apart from everyone else out there. And I still raise an eyebrow whenever a rapper’s skill takes a fairly sudden drastic improvement. Makes me feel like there’s someone else pushing a pen behind the scenes. Anyhow, this guy has been anointed by tons of internet geeks and hipsters as the rapper-du-jour. Me? I’ll stick to Talib Kweli, thankyaverrmuch.
My Morning Jacket “Evil Urges”: Their live shows are the stuff of legend. They tore “Saturday Night Live” up a couple of weeks back. Now MMJ translates that stage presence onto wax (or plastic, or mp3 files) with their new album “Evil Urges”. Lead singer Jim James jumps from rootsy rock to almost-funk with the greatest of ease, and he’s got one of the niftiest white-boy falsettos I’ve heard in quite some time.
Alanis Morissette “Flavors of Entanglement”: Yep, Alanis is still around, and she’s still unlucky in love-although she’s graduated from being an angry mess (and I hope she’s graduated from giving head in movie theaters). Nearly a decade and a half removed from the behemoth that was “Jagged Little Pill”, “Flavors” finds her collaborating with Guy Sigsworth (Madonna, Frou Frou) and adopting some more electronic-sounding elements. Plus, the object of her anger has changed from Dave Coulier to Ryan Reynolds, which is infinitely less creepy.
Adele “19”: Every week, it seems, there’s a new female Brit singer popping up who combines soul and jazz. Joining the likes of Amy Winehouse, Duffy and Estelle is Adele. Featuring similar personnel as the albums of the previously three mentioned albums, “19” (which has been available as an import and digitally for some time) is a solid listen, better than Duffy, possibly the equal of Estelle, but still nowhere near the perfection that was “Back To Black”.
N.E.R.D. “Seeing Sounds”: After being burned by the hot mess that was N.E.R.D’s second album, “Fly Or Die” and being REALLY burned by the even hotter mess that was Pharrell’s solo album, I’m prtty gun-shy about getting this. The Neptunes’ “rock star” side project has already spawned a semi-hit in “Everybody Nose”, but man, this is a wild card. I’m just not sure Pharrell Williams is meant to sing for an hour and be enjoyable.
But wait, there’s more!!
Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers hits the solo trail for the first time with “Seeing Things”, while Sergio Mendes follows up his Black Eyed Peas-assisted “Timeless” with “Encanto”, which retains Fergie as a guest artist and also features Natalie Cole. Country legend Emmylou Harris is releasing “All I Intended To Be”, her first album in five years, Gym Class Heroes and Li’l Wayne-endorsed rapper Tyga hits stores with “No Introduction”, while Atlanta rapper Plies, currently enjoying a Top 10 hit with Ne-Yo, releases “The Definition of Real” (and as with every current rap album, Akon and T-Pain both make cameos).
Ah…full list of releases here: http://www.pauseandplay.com/cdfront.htm