Now that Black Friday has come and gone, the year's supply of hot releases is dwindling!
Moments ago I found myself on page 18 of Amazon's list of this week's bestsellers--not a good sign in itself--wondering if it was worth my while, and indeed yours, to announce that Music Elettronica Viva's new 4-CD compilation MEV 40 (1967-2007) was now available to those willing to part with $71.99!
But then, predictably, I noticed the new album by alt-rock legend Burl Ives was out! Done deal!
And then I could stand it no more: I called Britney.
Now find out how you can too!
Britney Spears: Circus (Jive) Ever since I interviewed Britney Spears 10 years ago, I knew she found me alluring! But I kept her, and my own dark urges, at bay! This week, however, as she celebrates her 27th birthday with Circus, I could stand it no longer! Her constant taunts on the radio--"you're a womanizer," she'd chant, hoping to wear me down--were now stepped up a notch, first via her pleas on this album's masterwork, "Mmm Papi," of "let's make out," and then, even more slyly, with the "clever" pun of "If You Seek Amy"! How she remembered our conversation of a decade ago--when I told her we had a mutual Girl Scout friend named Kamie--I'll never know! But the final blow came when I noticed someone had etched on Circus's cover sticker: "Call Britney on The B Line: 310-341-4438." I called--and when she picked up and said, "Hi, this is Britney," I quickly hung up and hoped she didn't have caller ID! It's a great record and all--I mean, I really like it--but I'm thinking she should maybe get on with her life and focus on what other people must think! I've got my own life to live, babe! Akon: Freedom (Konvict Muzik/Universal Motown) A new album by Akon! He's quite popular--and if his new album cover is any indication, he can finally walk on water! With guest appearances by a stunning array of newcomers--T-Pain, Lil Wayne, Wyclef Jean and Young Jeezy--Freedom is one of the best albums bearing that name ever! There's dance grooves, African sounds, untouchable R&B and so much more that it may well stand head and shoulders above his other albums! Why, you ask? According to Akon himself, "I'm a lot more conscious than on my first few albums!" Hey, that certainly explains something! Beyonce sing, I think of two things! And Etta James is one of them! The story of Chess Records finally put to film, sort of, may be one of the year's biggest movie hits--and with 2 CDs' worth of laudable music covered by the likes of Mos Def, Raphael Saadiq, Jeffrey Wright and Nas and his dad Olu Dara, not to mention Beyonce and her sister Solange, this may inspire a whole new generation to also pick up this music in its original pristine form! Years from now, with pride, let's recall the week the biggest-selling blues record of all time was released! Howlin' Wolf, Etta James, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, Little Walter and will.i.am!" However, in today's less than perfect world, they will walk for several blocks until finally remembering that all the record stores closed a few years ago! Maybe they'll buy some new shoes instead! Panic At The Disco: Live In Chicago (CD/DVD) Now closing in on the tail-end of their career--after two whole albums, a few deluxe boxed sets of those albums, and a celebrated String Quartet Tribute to their vast catalog--why shouldn't Panic At The Disco go out in style? And in what better way, these weeks before Christmas, than a deluxe live CD/DVD package capturing the guys in live performance? I'm inclined to spring for this, but I may wait until next year when it's part of a triple CD commemorative gift box or something! Frankly, I started losing interest when they ditched the exclamation mark! Neil Young: Sugar Mountain: Live At Canterbury House 1968 (CD/DVD) I've always felt sort of sappy maintaining that my very favorite Neil Young album ever was the first one he released--I mean, the dude's released 342 albums, and that implies things started going downhill by the time he released Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere a few months later! So it's no wonder I'm pleased as punch--as they said back then--to see this session finally being officially released, and you should be too! An acoustic live set featuring many of his classics from that first album, as well as many he wrote for Buffalo Springfield ("On The Way Home," "Mr. Soul," and "Expecting To Fly" among them), this record might have changed rock history had it been released back in 1968! Especially if someone threw it really hard at David Crosby! Scarface: Emeritus (Asylum) After all these years of gaudy rap album covers featuring jewels, money, flashy cars, and scantily dressed women, what a pleasure it is to see the jacket of this tasteful set! With its coat of arms bearing fancy versions of the letters S and F, as well as a smoking cigar and, I don't know, some lines or something, you just know this is going to be good! Plus, its title is in Latin! Heck, with an awesome array of talent including Lil Wayne, Bun B, Slim Thug, J Prince, and the wonderful Wacko of UTP, Emeritus probably sounds great! In the words of this album's product description, "Scarface is every true hip hop lovers' favorite artist!" I think we'd all agree with that! Burton Cummings: Above The Ground (Sony/BMG Canada) In some ways like Scarface--they've both been around awhile--Burton Cummings has aged better than most rockers, largely because Canada's cold winters preserve humans in a state quite similar to suspended animation! Formerly the singer with the memorable Guess Who--who were deemed cool or uncool during various stages of their career by music writers now sadly deceased--Burton sounds great here with this collection of all-original material. Backed by the Carpet Frogs and, as the album cover indicates, now able to levitate at will per his deal with C'thulu, who knows where Cummings is going? Momus: Joemus (American Patchwork) This was actually released two weeks ago, but I just got it, so let's pretend it's new this week, too! A collaboration between the very bright, very musically adept, always surprising singer-songwriter Nick Currie and young Scottish musician Joe Howe--who's worked with the pleasantly named Gay Against You and Germlin--the disc has been described as "Nintendo Glam Rock" that sounds like "the hits of '70s glam rock sensations the Bay City Rollers played on '80s amusement arcade equipment." It's also been described as being out for two weeks but just obtained by me! It's sweet, it's abrasive, it's intimate, it features tracks called "Widow Twanky" and "Strewf!," and you should purchase it because it is, as always, quite good! Burl Ives: Favorites For Children (Shout Factory) One of Sub Pop's more sinister signings during the hallowed "grunge" era of the early '90s, Ives has created a collection of tracks--including "The Very Scary Witch" and "The Witch At The Well"--that should satisfy longtime fans of both the Screaming Trees and Green River! I mean, it would only be fair!
- Burl Ives