It's a less than exciting week as far as new album releases go--probably because most of America was wrapped up watching the first episode from the new season of Doctor Who on BBC America!
Other theories abound, however! Perhaps the labels issued all their "good" releases during the first half of the year and have now hit the bottom of the barrel! And unexpectedly, everyone there still has jobs! So now what? Big mistake!
Some have even suggested that this week's new releases are in fact the best records ever--and those of us who don't think so simply have no business writing about music!
That's all nonsense, of course! According to several informed sources, the releases originally scheduled for this week--the ones that would literally make or break the sales year for the entire industry--were mistakenly left in a warehouse in Terre Haute, Indiana due to computer error!
Just wait 'til next week's Hooters album!
Ashley Tisdale: Guilty Pleasure (Warner Bros.) One of the most surprising aspects of Ashley Tisdale's new album, I'm sure you'll agree, is how much she's changed since her last album! Now she has dark hair! And that's not all--the effervescent star of all three High School Musical films is now capable of being fully enjoyed merely on the basis of song and album titles! Just think: The album's called Guilty Pleasure, some of the great songs include "Hot Mess," "Hair," "What If" and "Acting Out"--and not to be sexist, but that's quite the album cover! Maybe playing it would ruin the mood! I can't wait for High School Prison Break!
Kristinia DeBarge: Exposed (Sodapop Music/Island) When it comes to musical pedigrees, it's hard to argue with the last name "DeBarge"! You can't actually see it! By now all living humans have heard the smash hit "Goodbye"--the one that samples the 1969 hit "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"--and may be thinking that this fresh new 19-year-old singer, daughter of '80s star James DeBarge, will be around making pop hits for many years to come! Could be! First seen in the 2003 American Idol spinoff American Juniors, Kristinia can be heard at her best here singing "Cried Me A River"--a track she co-wrote with Babyface purely to confound those search engine users already exasperated by the wacky spelling of her name! Hopefully people will like her but perceive that she's "spelled differently," note insiders!
Fabolous: Loso's Way (Desert Storm/Def Jam) The long-awaited return of East Coast rapper Fabolous features guests The-Dream on the charming "Throw It In The Bag" and hot newcomer Jeremih on "It's My Time," and thus may be the best record you've ever heard! Interestingly, the rapper reports that he's drawn significant inspiration here from the Al Pacino film Carlito's Way--and not, as some experts maintain, from Clotho's Web, the obscure 1972 album by singer Julie Felix, which he's likely never heard but, as album titles go, is even more similar phonetically! Did you know she was born in Santa Barbara? Fabolous: Still great despite everything!
Kleerup: Kleerup (Astralwerks) It's guest vocalist party time on this debut album from Sweden's hot producer Andreas Kleerup! Heard here in a series of very agreeable settings are Robyn (on "With Every Heartbeat"), Lykke Li, Neneh Cherry, and popular favorite Titiyo, all sounding like the same actual band, marvelously. Coincidentally released the same week that the Rhino Flashback label releases The Very Best Of Kleer, who weren't quite as energetic!
Elvis Presley: From Elvis In Memphis: Legacy Edition (RCA Legacy) Famous not only for having a daughter once married to Michael Jackson but also himself a singer--and not a bad one at that!--the elder Mr. Presley is heard here in optimum form, famously "back and better than ever" via a batch of dandy 1969 recordings at Memphis's American Studios! With 34 tracks in all, digitally remastered and lacking the pops and clicks one would normally associate with the vinyl format, this is one collection you'll want to own and play again and again! I'd call him perhaps the greatest rock 'n' roll singer ever, but I shy away from hyperbole!
Blur: Midlife: A Beginner's Guide To Blur (Capitol/EMI) Speaking of welcome 2-CD reissues, this collection gathers together all of the British band's best-loved tracks--the band themselves were involved!--and conveniently fails to address the three conspicuous questions that destiny dictates they eventually face! 1) How come the Gorillaz could have hits in the States but you couldn't? 2) Don't you feel silly now for thinking Pavement were such a big deal? And 3) Does it bother you that track-for-track you were repeatedly beaten by fellow Britpop band Spearmint, who now languish in obscurity while you make exotic records with esoteric African musicians? Also not addressed: Where did they buy their shoes?
Owl City: Ocean Eyes (Universal Republic) "In the state of Minnesota lies a small town called Owatonna with roughly twenty-two thousand inhabitants. Within that city is a quiet road with a modest house. In that house there's an unkempt basement with no windows. Within those confines you'll find Adam Young of Owl City hard at work on his electronic and melodically infectious music of simple and singular beauty. But where are his pants?" OK, maybe I added one sentence to the bio! But it's a great record!
Spinal Tap: This Is Spinal Tap [Blu-Ray DVD] (MGM) If you don't already own a copy of this classic film--which many consider to be the funniest ever made about rock 'n' roll--this version is the one to get, as it's filled with great extras and includes an additional disc featuring "The Stonehenge Performance At the 2007 Live Earth Concert" and the "National Geographic Stonehenge Interview with Nigel Tufnel." It's like an Adam Sandler movie without the actors!
Band Of Skulls: Baby Darling Doll Face Honey (Artist First/Shangri-La) A great debut album by a British trio--guitarist Russell Marsden, bassist Emma Richardson, and drummer Matt Hayward--now out on CD, this demonstrates that from a pure musical format standpoint, a highly skilled trio singing well-constructed and dynamic songs beats out just about any other--with the obvious exception of Canadian rockers Lighthouse, who with a string and horn section once included 13 members in its ranks before hitting it big in 1971 with "One Fine Morning"! But that would be too expensive now!
Lou Reid & Carolina: My Own Set Of Rules (Rural Rhythm) One would imagine the legacy of the Velvet Underground could wear down virtually anybody--even someone with the legendary drive and determination of New York City's most famous songwriter/poet! But some things are simply too avant-garde!