Best bet this week is the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's track-by-track re-thinking of Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On!. I've got this album, and it's pretty interesting. The predictable and utterly un-musical asininity-by-rote Chuck D rap is just pollution, and makes the main title song nearly unlistenable – though it'd be pretty good if you got a karaoke thing with Chuck D's nonsense simply wiped off the track.
The rest of it works much better – particularly "What's Happening Brother" with Bettye LaVette. Guru also represents well on the final "Inner City Blues." It's not going to make you forget Marvin, but it's so different in tone and effect that it stands a unique and worthy artistic statement on its own. Oh, the band is, of course, from New Orleans, and this is supposed to be some kind of response to Katrina – though it appears to have absolutely nothing to do with the actual music.
Bob Dylan once explained his creative process by saying that he jots down a line or two of words or a verse as they came to him on the back of napkins or scraps of paper and sticks them in his pocket. When he does the laundry, he empties those scraps into a shoebox. When the shoebox is full, he's got a fine new album. Dylan has emptied out his shoebox again with Modern Times.
Jessica Simpson has a new album celebrating the breakup of her MTV marriage, A Public Affair. I'm too bored with these idiots to even crack on her. Readers will kindly insert their own jokes here. Thanks.
Top re-release item in this week's listings would have to be The Beach Boys Pet Sounds [40th Anniversary]. This is the super beautiful sounding deluxe package with stereo and original mono versions of the album, and a DVD that sounds fascinating, including footage of Brian Wilson and George Martin in the studio, and vintage 66 promotional videos that I didn't even know existed.
Here's the complete list of this week's major new releases, courtesy AMG:
Bob Dylan Modern Times Columbia
Album Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Blues-Rock, Pop/Rock, Folk-Rock, Rock & Roll
The Roots Game Theory Def Jam
Hardcore Rap, Alternative Rap, Hip-Hop, Jazz-Rap
Jessica Simpson A Public Affair Epic
Dance-Pop, Pop/Rock, Teen Pop
M. Ward Post-War Merge
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Indie Rock
The Beach Boys Pet Sounds [40th Anniversary] Capitol
Baroque Pop, Pop, Sunshine Pop, Pop/Rock
Beenie Man Undisputed Virgin
Black Between Two Churches Universal/Townsend
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Pop/Rock
Catie Curtis Long Night Moon Compass
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Folk