It would be foolishto envision a bunch of sweating accountants pacing up and down the halls of Earth's remaining record labels, warning executives high and low that unlesscertain albums see release before year-end, their numbers will be at anall-time low!
And who in the worldcould imagine a scenario wherein matters of "overall musical quality"and "not cutting any corners" were overlooked merely in order to meeta corporate deadline?
Nope! Coincidentally, just one week before the holidays, everybody finished making their newalbums at the same time!
And guess what? I'll be meeting them all at Applebee's on their way to the mall!You're welcome to join us!
Soulja Boy Tell'em: iSouljaBoyTellEm (Interscope) I amnearly rendered speechless by this, my favorite rap album ever--a veritablesmorgasbord of sonic delight dripping with profundity on countless levels! Witha charming variety of repetitive honks, beats and bleats, Soulja's latestcontains 16 tracks of surrealistic, half-garbled phrases largely revolvingaround the wonderful song titles! Just look at them!: "I'm Bout ThaStax," "Booty Got Swag," "Wit My Yums On," "WhoopRico," and--best of all--the revealingly titled "Soulja BoyTellem"! A careful listening can't help but remind you of that peculiarsensation of being halfway between sleep and wakefulness: familiar words takeon new meanings, nonsense phrases make startling sense, and, as always, yousuddenly realize that you're not wearing any pants! I would say that myunqualified favorite here is the revelatory "Yamaha Mama"--which alsofeatures the distinguished Sean Kingston and may represent the all-time apex ofboth artists' storied careers! In short:anyone who does not instantly love thisrecord is either flawed as a human or simply hasn't heard it yet! Fall Out Boy: Folie à Deux (Island) Though I don'tcount myself as one of Fall Out Boy's biggest fans--I saw some guy at theirrecent LA show who had to be at least6'8"!--I was pleasantly surprised by this album! First, I liked its title!French is great! Secondly, cartoon covers are always good! Thirdly, in caseyou've forgotten, Fall Out Boy is one of those bands who don't employ that same pinched-nose, nasal singing style that Blink-182 popularized and the godlike Yellowcard took to ultimate perfection, sothey don't sound stupid and old-fashioned! Finally, there seem to be some real songs on this album--good pop songs--andeven Elvis Costello drops by to singon a track! Wow! Plus one of these guys is married to Ashlee Simpson, so it has to be good! I wish all album reviewscould be like this! Anthony Hamilton:The Point Of It All (So So Def/Zomba)Returning for his third "official" studio album, singer Hamiltonremains one of today's finest R&B singers! He's highly respected, workswith many of today's best new artists, and enjoys a stylistic versatility thatsurpasses many of his more commercial peers! Among the tracks here is"Cool," featuring David Banner! Sadly, he's too good to make funof--so there's no point in mentioning that he looks like he's about to throw up in a sink on this album cover! All-American Rejects:When The World Comes Down(DGC/Interscope) They're a good-hearted bunch, the All-American Rejects, andthey've spent the past few years methodically building up a large and loyal fanbase that is sure to love this brand new album! They've opened for Bon Jovi,they've promoted milk in a national publicity campaign, and they even coveredBritney Spears' "Womanizer" for Yahoo! In short, they're simply perfect human beings and deserving ofall your support, financial or otherwise! Don't reject them, as they clearly expect on the basis of their name, butinstead embrace them! I'm into it! Keyshia Cole: A Different Me (Geffen/Interscope) Ahighly regarded R&B vocalist who's actually referred to her previous twoalbums as "painful"--sorry, no time to put that in context--returns with awhammer-bammer showstopper that features a guest appearance by Tupac Shakur aswell as Monica (the singer, not the veterinary assistant) and should sell bythe boatload if her well-meaning supporters have their way! That said, thishabit of today's most popular vocalists deliberately confusing theirmoney-bearing fans with such album titles as A Different Me and I Am...SashaFierce is disturbing--it's harderthan ever for consumers to focusthese days, gals, so start going with things like Hey Clerk, File Me In FrontOf Natalie and I, Beyoncé, Would LikeYou To Buy This! Nice cover, though! Plies: Da REAList (Big Gates/Slip-N-Slide)Could it be true that this is "the Ft. Meyers, Florida-based rapsuperstar's third full length release in just under 16 months"? Hard tobelieve, considering the extraordinary amount of time the admirable fellowspent penning such new favorites as "Me & My Goons," "F**k UGon' Do Bout It," and the near-anthemic "Pants Hang Low"! Thosewondering how this seeming workaholic manages to retain his sanity need go nofurther than the surprisingly candid "I Chase Paper," in which therapper details how his sadistic school friends often used to bully him while hewas earnestly folding newspapers for his paper route! No, wait--that was Fall Out Boy! Ghostface Killah:Ghostdeini The Great (Def Jam)There's no denying the enormous influence and impact the Wu-Tang Clan have hadin the world of popular music, so this new greatest hits CD/DVD set by foundingmember Mr. Killah should certainly be welcomed by those who care! Featuringremixes with new verses--it is said--this album is only handicapped by itstrite and ubiquitous title, recently employed by the likes of Hilary Duff,Willie Nelson, and Morrissey in just the past six months! Dude--I, Ghostface wasn't taken! Saliva: Cinco Diablo (Island) Like you, I'veoften wondered what it would be like to write about this album while listeningto Gerry & the Pacemakers singing "You'll Never Walk Alone"!Boasting--if indeed inanimate objects can actually boast--one of the finestalbum covers of the year, Saliva's latest will have fans likely "drooling" overthe hot sounds throughout! Between you and me, if I were writing itsproduct description for a well-known Internet retailer, I'd probably call this "theultimate alt-metal post-grunge must-have CD this twisted holiday season!"Then I would get fired and listen tothe new Soulja Boy album in my car a lot! Yes, it's that good! Jamie Foxx: Intuition (J Records) The second albumby actor/singer Foxx, this collection features guest appearances by T.I., LilWayne, Kanye West, T-Pain, Ne-Yo,Timbaland, and The Dream, and is highlighted by the stunning cover picture ofthe singer wearing sunglasses! I don't know, there's just something cool about guys who wear sunglasses! Andwhen you consider the album title--it's like he knows you're intrigued by him! You should definitely buy this!