It's a week dominated by women!
Well, women who've released new albums, that is! And what a line-up: Melissa Etheridge, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Courtney Love's Hole, iCarly's Miranda Cosgrove, and even a fabulous hits collection by Carole King!
It's as if men no longer mattered anymore!
Luckily, however, thanks to inequities in the workplace, only men can afford to buy new albums these days! So it all works out!
Melissa Etheridge: Fearless Love (Island) Only a cynic would note that the release of this new album came within a week of singer Etheridge's telling Oprah Winfrey that her breaking up with partner Tammy Lee Micheals was "as mutual as those things can be"! Heck, all I know is that she was the last thing on my mind until that announcement made me wonder what Melissa's been doing lately! And what's this? A brand new album? Heck, I think I'll buy it and listen to see if there are any lyrical "clues" about what was going on in the couple's life! So what's the verdict? Heck, I don't know--I'm still waiting for the new Oprah album! Am I doing everything right?
Hole: Nobody's Daughter (Mercury) A new album by Courtney Love may be the most exciting news in hours! The long-awaited comeback by Love--who stunned the world a decade ago by deciding to stop making Hole albums--is filled to the brim with tasteful tunes such as "Skinny Little Bitch" and "How Dirty Girls Get Clean" and in many ways can serve as the "next step" for young female fans who've outgrown Hilary Duff and Demi Lovato! "This record is about greed, vengeance and feminism," Ms. Love recently told Rolling Stone--and ironically, so are most of its lyrics! I like her hair!
Bullet For My Valentine: Fever (Jive) A new album by Bullet For My Valentine is a heck of a lot better than, say, getting a photo clearly depicting you driving your car through a red light through the intersection of Westwood and Wilshire Boulevards! Especially if you're smoking a cigarette and you promised your wife you'd quit! And I think it's that kind of stress and anguish that make this band so relevant to people of all ages today! Even the misshapen woman depicted on this album's cover! As Brit metalcore bands go--and they certainly do!--Bullet rock and rock hard, buster, and this, their third album, may be their best effort yet! There also "may" be life after death! But we'll never know for sure, will we?
Mary Chapin Carpenter: The Age Of Miracles (Zoe) I wouldn't say I've spent a lot of time with Mary Chapin Carpenter's previous albums--for starters, they don't talk much--but I will say that I know what I like! And I know that after listening to albums by Hole and Bullet For My Valentine, MCC sounds like a breath of fresh air! Unfortunately, fresh air, when audible, generally covers most frequencies, so that's sort of like damning her with faint praise! Let's just say that she's got a great band, the music is very well played, and it's highly unlikely the album cover depicts Mary dropping everything and driving off to Hollywood where she can join Hole and start singing songs that mean something to somebody! And what's with the album title? It's still the age of Aquarius according to Wikipedia!
Two Door Cinema Club: Tourist History (Glassnote) In a stunning turn of events, here's a brand new album I actually like a lot! Recorded by an Irish trio who probably have no idea they sound like the Lotus Eaters fronted by Yes's Jon Anderson, the dudes write short, melodic songs, feature a delightfully jangly guitar, and seem to be operating completely outside any of the trends currently dominating the international music scene! Word is that they're on the road with Phoenix--which strikes me as odd, since cities generally can't move by their very nature! Buy this today!
Carole King: The Essential Carole King (Ode) While these Sony hits packages often seem mildly generic--I suspect it's the packaging--this particular collection focusing on iconic singer/songwriter King is anything but: Disc One features all of King's classics, as far back as "It Might As Well Rain Until September" through "It's Too Late" and "You've Got A Friend," while Disc Two features a stunning array of King-penned classics sung by those artists who made them famous--including the Shirelles, the Everly Brothers, the Chiffons, the Drifters and the Monkees, among many others. It's a tremendous collection that--despite the absence of both Bullet For My Valentine and Hole--is worth every penny!
Peter Frampton: Thank You Mr. Churchill (A&M) Having spent the last three weeks fixated on the complete catalogs of Steve Miller and Dave Mason--yes, it's true, and I admit I have a problem--and a few months ago playing the Humble Pie catalog from start to finish, I think I can say with some confidence that Peter Frampton has never been anything less than an exceptional musician! Unfortunately, the unexpectedly massive success of his Frampton Comes Alive album of the mid-'70s halted what might have been a slow-but-steady stream of quality product from the man, thrust him in and out of the pop spotlight, and otherwise messed up what could have been a good thing! His new album is excellent, as always--the dude won a Grammy for his 2006 album Fingerprints, after all--so it's about time you admit it: Peter Frampton is in you!
Ólafur Arnalds: ...And They Have Escaped the Weight Of Darkness (Erased Tapes) Like many of us, I too enjoy the work of multi-instrumentalists from Iceland who were once in bands called Fighting Sh*t but now produce soothing and relaxing classically oriented music! And if they're named Ólafur? All the better! His new album is all over the place, but when you come right down to it, so was his country's stupid volcano! I recommend buying this CD, driving out to a dairy farm, putting the CD in your player, and watching the cows as they methodically--but inexorably--march together in pairs towards the beckoning sunset! Check it out!
Sons Of Sylvia: Revelation (19 Recordings) I'm sure all of us remember that fateful night when the Clark Brothers won Fox TV's Great American Band competition--I was wearing my new jeans!--but who could have expected that from such a fanciful beginning, the full-blown efforts of the Sons Of Sylvia would emerge? Musically skilled, former accompanists to no less than Carrie Underwood and SheDaisy, the Bros. decided to give themselves a facelift and--inspired by the many Sons Of Hercules episodes they were forced to repeatedly watch as youths--dub themselves the Sons Of Sylvia, pose for photos, and enjoy all the fruits of their labors that would thereafter result! Ironically, their initials are also the international Morse code distress signal!
Miranda Cosgrove: Sparks Fly (Columbia) Much has been made of the cute 16-year-old star of TV's iCarly, but few among us would've expected her to devote an entire album to a rock opera based on Ron and Russell Mael's trip to Brazil! How inside can you get?