Home / New Album Releases, 6-26-2007: Sinead O’Connor, Nick Lowe, Beastie Boys, Kelly Clarkson

New Album Releases, 6-26-2007: Sinead O’Connor, Nick Lowe, Beastie Boys, Kelly Clarkson

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It is a holy and glorious day, for we have a new Sinead O'Connor album, Theology. It's a two CD set, though it has mostly the same songs on both discs. The "Dublin Sessions" are more minimal, acoustic and intimate. The "London Sessions" on the other hand are fuller orchestrations, with harps and horns and strings and such. Note that there's a special edition for Best Buy with five bonus live recordings.

Listening to both discs, the more fully orchestrated London recordings are mostly way superior, making the Dublin recordings sound like mere demos. The orchestrations are not heavy handed, and Sinead can command an orchestra with that mighty and majestic voice better than almost anyone else going. Going from Dublin to London here, she loses nothing in intimacy but gains quite a bit in groove and dynamics. Heck, she even sells "I Don't Know How to Love Him."

Sinead O'ConnorI particularly like "Watcher of Men," one of her more anguished compositions. starting with "Why did I not die at birth?" It also has the virtue of brevity, at just over two and a half minutes in the Dublin (disc 1) version, which is maybe the one song where the Irish version is better than the English recording. Probably the best song here though is "If You Had a Vineyard," a beautiful dramatic Gods-eye lament for the Israelis and Palestinians. The live Best Buy version is particularly nice.

Elder statesman and godfather of punk and new wave Nick Lowe has a new album called At My Age, which would be 58. Generally speaking, Lowe's work has become more emotionally affecting with age. He keeps the wit of his youth, as evidenced by new song titles like "I Trained Her To Love Me." But his work has gradually gained more depth of experience, particularly a world weariness that he could have used when writing stuff like "So It Goes." This gets his music now frequently described as "blue eyed soul," which would not have been an obvious description of Jesus of Cool.

Beastie BoysThe Beastie Boys are back with their first original all-instrumental album, The Mix Up, which is all Beastie organic jamming – no samples. A dozen years ago, I'd have told you that the Beasties rule. But the bottom totally dropped out with their last album, the 2004 To The 5 Boroughs was absolutely worthless, one of the worst artistic meltdowns from a major artist ever. Thus, I wouldn't expect much from them now. Still, these are the guys who wrote "Sabotage" and "Egg Man," so perhaps pleasant surprises await. Plus, this Zappa looking montage may be their coolest album cover, so they get at least a point or two for that.

Then there's the Kelly Clarkson story for her new album My December. See, she's an artiste now, expanding her creative wings even at the expense of a very public showdown with the legendary record mogul Clive Davis. In this narrative, Davis cheerfully plays the role of moustache-twirling corporate villain who doesn't understand or care about her Art. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I can only laugh at any contrived American Idol carrying on about their supposed art. This widely circulated story of her hardships with the record company sounds to me like a put-up job to gin up publicity and some faux credibility for the usual corporate swill. Perhaps I'm too cynical.

Here's the complete list of this week's major new releases, courtesy AMG:

Ryan Adams Easy Tiger Lost Highway
Alternative Country, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Marc Almond Stardom Road Sanctuary
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Vocal Pop, Pop/Rock, Euro-Pop, Torch Songs

Kelly Clarkson is an artisteKelly Clarkson My December RCA
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Nick Lowe At My Age Yep Roc
Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Country-Rock

Pharoahe Monch Desire SRC/Universal/Motown
Underground Rap, Hip-Hop

Automatic Automatic Not Accepted Anywhere B-Unique/Columbia
Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock

Bad Brains Build a Nation Megaforce/Oscilloscope
American Underground, American Punk, Hardcore Punk

Beastie Boys The Mix Up Capitol
Alternative Rap, Hip-Hop, Soul-Jazz, Instrumental Rock, Funk

Tab Benoit Power of the Pontchartrain Telarc
Swamp Blues, Modern Electric Blues, Modern Electric Texas Blues

Elvin Bishop Booty Bumpin': Recorded Live Blind Pig
Modern Electric Blues, Blues-Rock, Southern Rock

Frank Black Best of Frank Black '93-'03 Cooking Vinyl
Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Charlie Byrd Travellin' Man/The Touch of Gold Collectables
Standards, Bossa Nova

The Click Five Modern Minds and Pastimes Lava/Atlantic
Teen Pop, Punk-Pop, Alternative Pop/Rock

Carl Cox Global [Koch] Koch
Techno, Club/Dance

dc Talk Greatest Hits Forefront
Alternative CCM, Hip-Hop, CCM, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Christian Rap

Tinsley Ellis Moment of Truth Alligator
Modern Electric Blues, Blues-Rock

Emerson, Lake & Palmer Pictures at an Exhibition Victor
Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Album Rock

Emerson, Lake & Palmer Trilogy Atlantic
Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Album Rock

Bryan Ferry Dylanesque Virgin
Album Rock, Pop/Rock

Steve Forbert Strange Names and New Sensations 429
Singer/Songwriter, Folk-Rock

Adam Franklin Bolts of Melody Hi-Speed Soul
Indie Rock, Shoegaze, Alternative Pop/Rock

Gore Gore Girls Get the Gore Bloodshot
Garage Punk, Garage Rock Revival, Indie Rock

Grateful Dead Three from the Vault Rhino
Jam Bands, Folk-Rock, Psychedelic, Country-Rock, Album Rock

Juliana Hatfield The White Broken Line: Live Recordings Ye Olde
Alternative Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock

Keith Hudson and the Soul Syndicate Nuh Skin Up Pressure Sounds
Roots Reggae, Dub, Rocksteady, Political Reggae, DJ

Wayne Jarrett Chip In Greensleeves
Roots Reggae, Dub

David Johansen Here Comes the Night Razor & Tie
New York Punk, Hard Rock, Rock & Roll

Tommy McCook & the Agrovators King Tubby Meets the Agrovators at Dub Station Trojan
Dub, Roots Reggae

King Wilkie Low Country Suite Zoe
Contemporary Bluegrass

Philip Langridge Songs from the Pleasure Garden Signum UK
Classical Vocal Music

Jerry Lee Lewis Live from Austin, TX New West
Honky Tonk, Traditional Country, Rock & Roll

Rose Maddox This Is Rose Maddox Arhoolie
Honky Tonk, Bluegrass, Traditional Country, Traditional Bluegrass

Mie Miki Butterflies and Illusions: Grieg's Lyric Pieces Bis
Post-Romantic Piano Music Arranged for Accordion

Mushroom/Eddie Gale Joint Happening Hyena
Avant-Prog, Jazz-Rock, Fusion

Sinead O'Connor Theology Koch
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Stewart Robertson Hartke: The Greater Good Naxos
Contemporary Opera

Richard Rosenberg Gottschalk: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2; Escenas Campestres Cubanas; Celebre Tarantelle Naxos
Romantic Orchestral Music

Wiener Glasharmonika Duo Glas & Steine K&K Verlagsanstalt
Arrangements for Glass Harmonica and Verrophone

Jaco Pastorius The Essential Jaco Pastorius Epic/Legacy
Post-Bop, Fusion, Pop/Rock, Progressive Big Band

Pearl Jam Live at the Gorge 05/06 Monkey Wrench
Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock

Pepe Deluxe Spare Time Machine Catskills
Club/Dance, Electronica, Trip-Hop

Rasputina Oh Perilous World Filthy Bonnet
Alternative Pop/Rock, Goth Rock, Alternative Dance

The Sharp Things A Moveable Feast Bar None
Indie Pop, Chamber Pop

Paul Simon imagePaul Simon The Essential Paul Simon [2-CD/1-DVD] Warner Bros.
Pop/Rock, Folk-Rock, Soft Rock, Worldbeat, Adult Contemporary, Singer/Songwriter, Album Rock

Sizzla I-Space Greensleeves
Roots Reggae, Dancehall

Social Distortion Greatest Hits Time Bomb
American Underground, College Rock, L.A. Punk, American Punk, Punk, Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Roots Rock

Steve Vai Sound Theories I and II Epic/Red Ink
Guitar Virtuoso

Various Artists Crescent City Bounce JSP
New Orleans R&B, Piano Blues, R&B

Kelly Willis Translated from Love Rykodisc
Contemporary Country

Pegi Young Pegi Young Warner Bros.
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Folk-Rock

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  • So many records, so little time. But don’t let the Nick Lowe album get lost in the clutter; it’s a distinctly subtle treasure that just gets better and better with repeated listenings.

  • JaredX

    Great and accurate review of the Sinead ‘Theology’ album. It’s a keeper and the best record of this type since Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming.” Great to see her writing her own stuff and playing her own guitar again. The voice–as haunting as ever. Passionate, beautiful effort from the Irish Joan of Arc.