They say that time flies, and they--I know 'em personally--are right!
This past weekend I saw legendary rocker Van Morrison give a performance of Astral Weeks, his classic album released 40 years ago!
This week sees the release of a deluxe box set by Cheap Trick celebrating the release of their famous Live At Budokan, released 30 years ago!
Also released: Our Bright Future, the latest release by Tracy Chapman--whose memorable debut album won fans worldwide 20 years ago!
Nothing significant happened 10 years ago!
Additionally out: the long-awaited release of Coco: Deluxe Edition by superstar Colbie Caillat, commemorating her breakthrough album of a few months ago!
And finally, the above sentence--masterfully penned as it is--was written less than one minute ago!
Read it as it is, or wait for the expanded edition in my upcoming box set! You can have it for yours, too!
David Archuleta: David Archuleta (Jive) What's there to say about David Archuleta? A masterful singer who captured the heart of the world via his many appearances on American Idol, Archuleta represents all that is magnificent about performers with surnames resembling characters from a Hercules movie! Though it's true he wasn't Season 7's "big winner," masterworks such as opening track "Crush" ultimately make all of us--speaking purely as eager music consumers--winners! In closing, let's just point out that there must be something special about an exciting new artist whose name forms the anagrams "Avatar Child Due" and "Cadaver Ail Thud"!
Crush - David Archuleta
Taylor Swift: Fearless (Big Machine) She's pretty as a picture, young Ms. Swift, and word is she's not a bad singer either! After all, one press account noted that "she sold 3 million physical copies of her 2006 debut"--and between you and me, that figure is dwarfed by the 5 billion imaginary copies she sold as well! She's made recent headlines for her joint CMT Crossroads appearance with Def Leppard and, frankly, now stands on the verge of the superstardom that she--and many like her--could only dream about while strumming guitar and writing songs in her bedroom as a 10-year-old! I'm betting with this album she's going to win bigger than she's even dreamed! A little bit country? A little bit rock 'n' roll? A teenager whose new album features a song actually entitled "White Horse"? All of the above, my friends! All of the above!
Love Story - Taylor Swift
Tracy Chapman: Our Bright Future (Atlantic) You have to figure that Chapman's been preparing this new album, her first since 2005's Where You Live, for several months now--and with the CD manufacturing business being how it is, the graphics, cover and title must've been decided on several weeks ago at the latest. My point? Ever the political songwriter, Chapman realized that her new album would in fact hit the stores exactly one week after the 2008 presidential election had concluded--so without knowing who would win, how could she make a topical album that actually was topical? Easy! By calling it Our Bright Future, she's either lauding the election of her chosen candidate--were he to win--or sarcastically bemoaning the inevitable nuclear obliteration that would surely await us if the other guy did! Case closed!
Sing For You - Tracy Chapman
Enya: And Winter Came (Reprise) There's something about Enya's music that, I don't know, I don't just like, I like it when people hear me actually listening to it! Nothing really out of the ordinary here--just more of that fine, dreamy, choral droney stuff, perfect to give to your mom for the holidays when she's drowsy after dinner and her bulging purse is just lying there on the kitchen table! As always, I'm reminded of a fictional scenario wherein Enya and a friend walk into a record store in search of Ani DiFranco albums, are distracted by impolite fans and, in their rush to exit, pick up a few items, purchase them, then leave. Walking down the block and examining their respective purchases, Enya's friend suddenly looks up and asks, "Did you get Ani, Enya?"
And Winter Came - Enya
T-Pain: Thr33 Ringz (Konvict Muzik) You've got to give T-Pain credit for living up to the letter of the law: After the Florida Supreme Court recently announced that the well-loved superstar must by law appear on every record ever to appear on the Billboard charts, he's been living up to his part of the bargain--so it won't be long now! With him now on this, his 565th album, is an array of well-known artists including Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Chris Brown, and Kanye West, among others, and--wow!--can he sing! He never misses a note! I for one am buying the deluxe edition of this album--since it's coming out at the same time as the regular version, and I don't want to miss out by just buying the bad one! Care to join me?
Can't Believe It - T-Pain
Cheap Trick: Budokan! 30th Anniversary Edition (Epic/Legacy) Cheap Trick fans worldwide will be thrilled by this deluxe package, which includes 1) The original Live At Budokan CD, 2) The 2-CD At Budokan: The Complete Concert, and 3) the original Japanese TV broadcast performance, fully restored and mixed in 5.1 surround sound! Fans of Luciano Pavarotti, on the other hand, will probably display no interest in the package whatsoever--perhaps opting instead for a steak dinner and some fine wine! That's what makes music so great!
I Want You To Want Me (Live: April 28, 1978) - Cheap Trick
Flaming Lips: Christmas On Mars (DVD/CD) (Warner Bros) You'd have to be absolutely nuts to not like the Flaming Lips--and there are rules about these things--so just buy this and tell everyone it's great! And here's a secret: Between the crazy 86-minute movie contained on this DVD, created by Lips' head guy Wayne Coyne, and the accompanying CD featuring the film score, it is great! Just buy it and put the whole thing by your DVD player! Maybe watch it later, maybe watch CNN or something! After all, man has never actually been to Mars, so there are probably lots of scientific inaccuracies that could bum you out unless you were in the mood for 'em! I plan to watch it soon!
Once Beyond Hopelessness - Flaming Lips
New Order: Movement (Collector's Edition) / Power, Corruption & Lies (Collector's Edition) / Low-Life (Collector's Edition) / Brotherhood (Collector's Edition) / Technique (Collector's Edition) (Rhino) Sometimes this whole "deluxe edition" thing actually makes some degree of consumer sense--and in this instance, Rhino is batting 1000. Each of these five packages pair one of Brit group New Order's very fine albums with an additional disc full of extended 12-inch mixes, non-LP B-sides, remixes and items that add substantial value to the original package. It's a wealth of music that documents a fascinating band's very real growth as songwriters and musicians, and as such, they're packages any New Order fan shouldn't miss. Girls will like 'em too!
Ceremony (12" Version) - New Order
Mudcrutch: Mudcrutch Live! Extended Play (Warner Bros.) Anyone interested in record collecting will find themselves grinning at this "EP," which at 28 minutes may actually beat the total playing time of the Beau Brummels and Mugwumps full-length album packages these folks are joyfully aping. Containing just four songs--three live tracks from the reunited combo's recent album plus a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis's "High School Confidential"--it sounds a lot like Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, but older!
Seal: Soul (Warner Bros.) A well-sung collection of soul classics by an adventurous singer, produced by David Foster, out just in time for the holidays! Buy a boat, pay while you float! With Central Bank, the "Yes" bank, on 36th street! Time: 11:59!
A Change Is Gonna Come - Seal