While there aren’t any blockbusters arriving in stores this week, there’s a pretty healthy bunch of new music. Here are some titles you might want to look out for.
*Various Artists “Now That’s What I Call Music 28”: These compilations have been money in the bank for about a decade, but sales have slipped as the general public has realized that they can download the songs they like individually. Anyhow, this edition is significantly less R&B/hip-hop-centric than it has been in the past, with the likes of John Mayer, Fall Out Boy and Colbie Caillat joining recent hits by Lil’ Wayne, Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown.
*Ashanti “The Declaration”: Remember about six years ago, when Ashanti was the hottest thing going? Well, this is her fourth album, and I’m not convinced that anyone really cares. She’s pretty much ditched Irv Gotti, Ja Rule and the Murder Inc. camp on this release, which features guest appearances from Babyface and Robin Thicke. “The Way That I Love You” has not made a lot of noise on the pop front, but it was a Top 5 R&B hit and definitely has one of the more interesting videos of the year so far.
*Jewel “Perfectly Clear”: A week or so ago, I posted Jessica Simpson’s new single, which found the pop vocalist heading into country territory. Jewel is another female singer who’s decided to do a genre switch (at least for now), and it probably goes without saying that Jewel’s adaptation of country flavors is probably a lot less forced (and a lot less blatantly commercial) than Jessica’s is. At any rate Jewel has never particularly interested me beyond a couple of singles, so I’ll skip this one. It is her first release on a new label, though, which usually means that a greatest hits compilation from her former label probably isn’t too far away. Now that, I’ll pick up.
*Weezer “Weezer (Red Album)”: If you want short, hooky pop/rock songs, Weezer and The Foo Fighters are your best courses of action. Both bands have outlasted their contemporaries simply by doing what they do best. You know what a Weezer album is going to sound like, for the most part…or maybe you don’t! This, their fifth album, finds the band members switching up instruments on occasion and also finds band members not named Rivers Cuomo singing lead. First single “Pork & Beans” is already huge. Expect the rest of the album to follow suit. Also, keep in mind that this album wasn’t even supposed to exist, as the band reportedly split up after the release of 2005’s “Make Believe”.
Also: Indie-rock darlings The Ting Tings, who recently scored the #1 single and album in the U.K. (as well as a coveted iPod commercial here in the States) release their debut “We Started Nothing” today…metal favorites Disturbed are back with “Indestructible” (alas, it features no Genesis covers)…soul siren (and daughter of the legendary Donny) Lalah Hathaway straddles the line between smooth soul and smooth jazz on “Self Portrait”, her new effort…meanwhile, two popular frontmen do the solo thing: Gavin Rossdale (formerly of Bush, currently Mr. Gwen Stefani) tries to re-establish his music career with “Wanderlust”, while Bret Michaels of Poison tries to capitalize on his reality show success with “Rock My World”.