Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. The industry’s 4th quarter officially gets underway with a plethora (like that word?) of superstar releases to kick the month off. Here’s this week’s Hot List.
Young Jeezy: “The Recession”-
First off, Young Jeezy has two Platinum albums (three if you count his debut with Boyz N The Hood. This dude doesn’t have a proper website? Anyhow, I’ve made my disdain for “coke” rap pretty clear on this site, and they call this guy “The Snowman” for reasons that are not weather-related if you know what I mean. Not only do I find him morally repulsive, he’s also not particularly talented, with a voice slightly reminiscent of that of an old man on a respirator. However, folks seem to like the guy, he just scored a Top 10 hit with “Put On” (featuring a slumming Kanye West), and this album will most likely add to Jeezy’s stack of Platinum. What can ya do?
New Kids on the Block: “The Block”-
Theyyyyyy’re back! After a fourteen-year absence, Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Joe and Jon are back together and on record store shelves with their semi-self titled fifth studio album. Me and GG have already gone more in-depth with this album than any two people with penises should probably go, so you probably don’t need any more info regarding this record. However, in case you do, be aware that it would take a very special record to get me to add anything that features anything with Akon OR The Pussycat Dolls to my collection, so that should give you a reasonably good idea of my excitement for this album. For those of you serious music fans tsk-tsking, shut the hell up. I have Elvis Costello records too. Liking literate, well-constructed music and enjoying cheesy pop are not two mutually exclusive things.
Donnie Klang: “Just a Rolling Stone”-
This guy not having a proper website, I can understand. Having only watched about 1 1/2 episodes of Diddy’s “Making the Band 4”, I only know that Klang auditioned for the group that later became known as Day26. Somewhere along the line, Diddy separated him from the group and here we stand. Seems like Puff is trying to push Klang and Bad Boy’s answer to Justin Timberlake, and it’s hard to argue with “MTB4″‘s success, as both Day26 and girl group Danity Kane debuted at #1 on the charts with their albums. This one may be a sleeper. Although I think they should have changed the dude’s name first. Even saying the name “Donnie Klang” in my head makes me giggle a little.
Brian Wilson: “That Lucky Old Sun”-
Listening to some of the songs from this album on Brian Wilson’s site, it’s obvious that the guy still has the gift for melody (as well as some fantastic harmonies). After forty years and a great deal of mental issues, that’s pretty admirable. “Sun” is an autobiographical song cycle featuring frequent collaborator Van Dyke Parks. In addition to the typical pop tunes, there’s a spoken-word element mixed in. That makes me cringe a little bit, but the album has gotten some pretty good reviews, so it may all work out well after all.
Terrence Howard: “Shine Through It”:
Yep, Oscar winner Terrence Howard has followed in the footsteps of Bruce Willis and Scarlett Johansen and made a CD. While it certainly sounds interesting (it’s not the expected R&B or hip-hop derived record, instead sort of sounding like John Legend meets Esteban), I’m not exactly rushing to the record store to check it out. Chances are, if God gave you talent, it was probably only meant to be in one entertainment medium, but I guess the millions of actors-turned-musicians didn’t get the memo (or vice versa), huh?
Rounding up all the rest: now-generation classical performer Joshua Bell takes on Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, Broadway legend Michael Feinstein takes on Frank Sinatra and Southside Johnny takes on Tom Waits, all on their new albums. An Olivia Newton-John charity concert makes its’ CD debut, featuring guest shots from Cliff Richard, Barry Gibb and Richard Marx. Sadly, there’s no John Travolta. Metal band Underoath releases a new record today,as do electronica/rock collagists UNKLE. A two-CD Chemical Brothers hits compilation arrives in stores, and for those of you who collect wax, the Coldplay and Radiohead catalogs make it onto vinyl for the first time.