Get ready for the big showdown in the next few weeks when the Battle Of The Babes really gets underway!
This week brings the debut album by England's Leona Lewis, winner of the UK's X Factor TV show, who's being trumpeted as the biggest new star since--oh, I don't know--Mariah Carey.
And next week? It's the long-awaited new album by Mariah Carey--the last big new star since Leona Lewis!
Many suspect the first singer to clue her audience into the fact that energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared will be the big winner!
We'll just have to wait and see!
Spirit (J Records) A great singer, something of a looker, and one of very few UK female artists to reach No. 1 here with her very first single, Leona Lewis would appear to have it all! Conspicuously being promoted by her starmaker label legend Clive Davis--who's pretty good at promoting this stuff--and famed TV types like Simon Cowell, it's likely that 2008 will be Leona Lewis's year. Unless--some have ominously suggested--Superman dumps both Lois Lane and Lana Lang and takes her to his hidden Fortress Of Solitude!
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds: Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (Anti) I don't think anyone in their right mind would have predicted international stardom for former Birthday Party vocalist Nick Cave--but returning here with his 14th studio album, the legendary Australian vocalist is riding the crest of a popularity surge that hasn't been seen since Hector was a pup! And Hector would be a fascinating subject for any screenplay, novel or manuscript Cave might care to write in the next few eons, so here's hoping! Recently in the news for his work on the soundtrack to The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Cave might be described as aesthetically perfect were it not for his over-reliance on exclamation marks! Check out that album title!
Do It! (Domino) Another cool British band that titles albums in an attention-getting manner, Clinic return with an arty project that sounds a bit more commercial than their past work--but I would say that having just listened to a Nick Cave album, wouldn't I? Considering that the fashionably dressed combo recently compared one of their new tracks to a "jug band take on Can" and suggested they were going through their "Bruce Springsteen phase," massive superstardom clearly beckons--and Clinic are actively up to the task, according to one report!
Ray J: All I Feel (Koch) What a life! Lovable Ray J has a brand new single called "Sexy Can I," a brand new album with guests like Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne and The Game, and is apparently renowned for appearing in some sort of videotape thingie involving Kim Kardashian! That being said, one can only wonder if the title of his album--All I Feel--may deceive gullible fans unfamiliar with the limits of today's technology!
Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts I-IV (The Null Corporation) A pioneering experiment by trendsetter Trent Reznor, who's offered this album for free and in normal, deluxe, ultra-deluxe, and Divine editions, Ghosts I-IV has made history and thrown some members of the dying record industry into near-hysterical fits, according to gleeful alarmists! For my money--well, heck, might as well be honest, none of my money was involved at all since I downloaded the free version for kicks--this is just the beginning! Hopefully Reznor's next project will involve the free distribution of ten-dollar bills to all his longtime fans just because they like him!
Boo! (Rykodisc) In the tradition of Do It! and Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! comes the spectacularly titled Boo!, the unexpected return of Detroit legends Was (Not Was)--and a fine return it is. Featuring much of the same old cast, including Don and David Was, Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens--and a surprise appearance by Kris Kristofferson on "Green Pills In The Dresser"--it's every bit as clever, avant, stupid and delightful as every other Was (Not Was) album and therefore worth everyone's while but Trent Reznor's, who probably expects to download it for free! The real solution to saving the record industry? Naming every new album Boo! Are you listening, Mariah?
Jim Noir: Jim Noir (Barsuk) I don't often recommend albums to people without at least a slight knowledge of their musical taste, but this fabulous album--a one-man-band overdub-fest loaded with wonderful songs and melodies--is one of the finest albums I've heard all year. Buy it for everyone you know. And if they tell you they don't like it--hit them! Yeah, that's what you should do! Then take it back, return it, and go get a drink!
Gordon Haskell: It Is And It Isn't (Wounded Bird) An unexpected reissue of a charming but little-known classic, this originally emerged in 1974 following singer Haskell's brief stint with King Crimson circa their Lizard period. It isn't exactly art-rock--more of a pop album, really--but it's filled with catchy tunes, odd lyrical themes, and Haskell's uniquely nasal, deep voice. Appealing? You bet! He'd later become an MOR star in England and devote an entire album to the songcraft of Michael Franks! Trent Reznor was taking notes!
Colin Meloy: Colin Meloy Sings Live! (Kill Rock Stars) Must confess that I'm strangely fond of the Decemberists, and this solo disc by that band's major dude sounds just as appealing as his band's work. Onstage by himself, this documents his 2006 tour and features the namedropping of Brit folk legend Shirley Collins, song snippets from the works of Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd, but--undoubtedly to the dismay of Live fans--not a single track from Throwing Copper!
P.O.D.: When Angels And Serpents Dance (INO/Columbia) Like most of the world, I've been waiting for a brand new P.O.D. album! Ironically, now that it's here, I've forgotten why! You too?
- Leona Lewis