In most years, there’s a period from mid-July to mid-August during which NOTHING comes out. As a record buyer, this is frustrating because you’re walking into record stores and not finding a thing that strikes your interest. On the other hand, with the holiday selling season closer than you think, it might be a good idea to save your money for the deluge that awaits.
Anywhere, here’s my five picks (if I must) out of this week’s releases. How bad is it? I’m actually mentioning one of the same releases this week that I mentioned last week. Thank God for semantics.
Sugarland “Love on the Inside”-The hottest country duo in the land took an interesting tactic with their new release. It came out last week in a “deluxe” edition, while this week marks the introduction of the presumably less-bells-and-whistles containing (and cheaper) regular version. Ten years ago, if you were to tell me that I’d even be considering buying an album like this, I’d have laughed you into September, but I’ve acquired a fondness for modern-day country. Although I’ve not heard much of Sugarland (aside from the godawful duet with Bon Jovi that I mentioned in last week’s column), I could very well be tempted to check this one out.
Rick Springfield “Venus in Overdrive”-Here’s something that just might freak you out. The guy that teenage girls drooled over in the early Eighties (my cousin had a picture of him hanging in her bedroom back in the day) is approaching 60. SIXTY. Nevertheless, the indefatigable Springfield continues playing and touring. This is Rick’s first album of original material in five years. His last album, “The Day After Yesterday” was an interesting collection of covers. I said “interesting”, not good.
Various Artists “Kidz Bop 14”-The fact that these things have sold well enough to warrant fourteen editions boggles my mind. Among the songs tackled by the anonymous group of ankle-biters: Fergie’s “Clumsy”, Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” and Madonna’s “4 Minutes”, all fairly suggestive tunes that I imagine will be heavily sanitized for 9-year old ears. In addition to the usual selection of songs by the likes of Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers, of course.
Scars on Broadway “Scars on Broadway”-System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian recorded and released the fairly well-received “Elect the Dead” last year, and Scars of Broadway is a side project consisting of DaronMalakian and John Dolmayan. Shavo whatshisname (the crazy-lookin’ guy with the braided goatee) is MIA.
The Roy Hargrove Quintet “Earfood”-Mr. Hargrove is a trumpeter with a bit of an edge. He’s gotten some mainstream attention through his work with neo-soul’s elite (Badu, Common, D’Angelo and the like) and even a couple of appearances with John Mayer (“Clarity” and “Come Back to Bed”). “Earfood” is his second album in the quintet format.
…and that’s just about where it ends folks, although if you’re a fan of Eighties and Nineties soul, you should be on the lookout for a couple of reissues, all of which track back to Prince, six degrees-style. Sheila E., the most talented of Prince’s female proteges, had a string of reasonably successful albums in the Eighties, most of which are now out of print. Well, were out of print, anyway. On Tuesday, her second and third albums, 1985’s “Romance 1600” (which featured the hit “A Love Bizarre”) and 1987’s self-titled set, make their way back into stores. Also returning to stores after a long absence is The Time’s “Pandemonium”, the band’s only album to be taken out of print despite the fact that it contained their biggest hit, “Jerk Out”. As I’m sure you know, The Time was a band formed by Prince that featured Morris Day (in addition to superproducers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis).
Those of you who remember Prince’s original band (in the “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Dirty Mind” days) will recognize the name Andre Cymone. Andre was Prince’s bassist in the early days, and also was the first Prince sideman to bounce due to “personality conflicts”. Cymone released a couple of solo albums, but became better known as a producer, working with artists ranging from Adam Ant to Jermaine Stewart. Cymone’s biggest accomplishment was resuscitating the career of former Shalamar singer Jody Watley. He produced most of her biggest hits, including “Looking for a New Love”, “Friends” and “Don’t You Want Me”. Anyway…all of this to say that Jody’s 1997 album “Flower” (which was mysteriously shelved by Atlantic Records) finally receives it’s American release (in digital only) today.
So…that’s all for now. Happy shopping!!