Maybe the upcoming 50 Cent vs. Kanye West album sales melodrama has convinced people that boatloads of great albums are arriving in droves every week, but I'm here to tell you that, uh, the ship didn't make it to port this week and the losers are arriving in droves!
Usually when I put together this list I find about 20 albums worth noting and cull that list down to the 10 you eventually see. At the moment I've found only eight, and let's just say my notion of "worth noting" might not exactly be everyone else's! Hopefully I'll think of two more or--what the heck--make a couple up for kicks! No one's ever noticed before, so why should they now?
Ted Nugent: Love Grenade (Eagle) Might as well start with the best! Lovable Ted is back, is produced by his Damn Yankees buddy Jack Blades (of Night Ranger fame!), and has actually remade his first pop hit, "Journey To The Center Of The Mind." Back in '68 when he made it, most people thought the lyrics were about drugs 'n' stuff--but now, the wisdom of the ages reveals all: Turns out that Nugent, a well-known bow-hunter, actually meant the song very literally--he's enthused about the notion of physically finding the center of the mind via amateur brain surgery, preferably with his ever-present hunting knife! He fooled everybody!
Play It As It Lays (Columbia) A month before her famous hubby releases his own new album, Ms. Scialfa--Mrs. Bruce Springsteen to some--is releasing her third album! Talk about drama! She wrote all the tunes, Significant Other and his bandmates appear on the disc, and if it doesn't sell like hotcakes, then...well...then...she might hit Bruce over the head with a rolling pin! But wait--if it does sell like hotcakes and Bruce's doesn't, then...then...Frankly, I haven't been this excited since they day they released all four Kiss solo albums!
Suzy Bogguss: Sweet Danger (Loyal Dutchess) Must confess that I've seen this woman's records lying around for years--she's kind of cute!--and never gave them the fair hearing I'm sure they deserved. Consistency being so hard to find, guess there's no point to start doing it now! Just want to point out two things: 1) The first single is a cover of Chicago's famed ballad "If You Leave Me Now"--sounds like a winner!--and, more importantly, 2) This gal deserves major kudos for keeping that wacky last name of hers! I like her style!
Pink Floyd: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (Capitol/EMI) A deluxe 3-CD set featuring the classic Pink Floyd debut album in both mono and stereo version and a bonus disc of rarities! This might be better than a new Staind album! While it's admittedly a sad day in the music biz when one's heart goes pitter-pat over a reissue of a 40-year-old recording, look on the bright side: Yesterday you weren't hit by a car!
The Big Dirty (Ferret Music) They say you can't judge a book by the cover, but I think we can all agree that on the basis of the superb cover selected for this long-awaited disc, The Big Dirty is, plain and simply, the finest recording ever made! Also, according to trivia I just dug up (on Wikipedia!), singer Keith Buckley used to be a tenth grade English teacher! The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and all's right with the world!
Michelle Shocked: ToHeavenURide (Mighty Sound/Megaforce/RED) She's back, and she's gospelized! Last time I noticed this dizzy dame she was chirping on in public about "minstrelsy"--hey, I had to look it up too!--and now she's got a live album that she's calling a gospel record! Recorded at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2003 and featuring a pedal steel player and "the singing Darcys from New Greater Circle Mission Church in South L.A.," it's everything you always wanted in a Michelle Shocked record and lots more! Perhaps too much more! Interestingly, it sounds nothing like Santana!
Calvin Harris: I Created Disco (Columbia) It's beyond me how a Scottish electro producer can claim to have invented disco when in fact everyone knows it was created by a guy named Larry! Plus he'd have to be a lot older than he looks! But I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt; maybe he means he created a disco--like, he helped build one or something! Anyway, this is so nifty you should pick it up, download it onto your portable MP3 device, put in your earphones, and dance around while you're listening to it! It would be great if everybody did that!
Firefall: Colorado To Liverpool: A Tribute To The Beatles (Winged Horse) I don't know about you, but for the past decade or so, whenever I've heard a Beatles song, a tiny little buzzing in the back of my brain asks me, "Yeah, but how would Firefall do it?" Guess what? Our dreams have come true! From opening track "Within You Without You" through closer "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party," this is pure, unblemished 'Fall covering the masters like never before! My only regret is that the Beatles aren't still around to return the favor!
Just Jack: Overtones (TVT) This disc features a track called "I Talk Too Much" which theoretically features Kylie Minogue, right? So let's say someone buys the album, brings it home, listens to the track, and discovers she's not on it! What are they going to do? Bring it back and complain? "Dude," evil sales clerks will smirk, "it even says on the cover it's Just Jack!" Life is inherently unfair, and some people mean to do you harm!
Ice Cube: In The Movies (Priority) Fans of Ice Cube will be thrilled by this collection of tracks from hipster flicks Mr. Cube and/or his songs have appeared in! Highlights include "We Be Clubbin," "Natural Born Killaz," and the immense radio smash "The Wrong N*gg* To F*ck Wit." To be fair, though, truth in advertising would imply that this is an actual audio document of the distinguished rapper and his family buying tickets and perhaps seeing a choice family film at the Topanga Canyon Mall. And on that level it fails completely! Just thought it needed to be said!