It's crunch time.
Between now and Christmas, you can expect to see a ton of new releases by the biggest stars in music hitting the record store each and every Tuesday. Still, it's hard to imagine a week bigger — and more loaded with great new titles — than this one.
Whatever your particular taste in music, this week has got it all. You've got your returning legends, your critical favorites, and of course a fair number of those greatest hits and multi-disc compilations that always seem to pop out of the woodwork around this time of year.
Leading the charge is what may just be the most eagerly anticipated album of the year in Magic, Bruce Springsteen's return to the front lines of active rock and roll duty with the E Street Band. Not that it needed any help, but the set-up for this album has been nothing short of brilliant. First you had the "leak" of the lead-off single "Radio Nowhere," about a month ago on the internet. The fact that the song happens to be easily about the most rocking — and radio friendly — that Springsteen has done in something like a couple of decades hasn't hurt either.
Then about this time last week, all of the other tracks from Magic start finding their way online — and it turns out that most of these are pretty damn rocking as well. Then the album gets released commercially a week early on vinyl — allowing certain writers (including one particular Blogcritic) to write early, glowing reviews. Finally, Bruce and the E Street Band perform a triumphant concert before thousands of fans in New York City seen grinning ear to ear on nationwide TV on the Today Show.
As set-ups go, it just doesn't get much more masterful.
The thing is, the album delivers the goods. You'll be reading much more about Magic here on Blogcritics in the days ahead as the reviews start to roll in. For now, I'll just say that what you've already heard is pretty much all true. Magic rocks like nothing Springsteen has done in twenty years.
In another welcome return to form, John Fogerty is also back this week with the new Revival. If the title seems an odd choice, rest assured that it would appear to be absolutely intentional. With this album — and his return to Fantasy Records — John Fogerty seems to have all but declared his peace with the past on both that label, and with the music of his former band Creedence Clearwater Revival. As if to bring that point further home, Fogerty even has a track here called "Creedence Song," that contains the key line "you can't go wrong when your playing that…" — you guessed it.
There are also a number of greatest hits and career overview packages hitting stores this week. These include hits sets from the likes of Faith Hill, Chicago, and The Very Best Of Mick Jagger, covering his solo releases minus the Rolling Stones (which can only mean that it is anything but).
Probably the most ambitious of the career retrospectives is the Bob Dylan three-disc career overview Dylan. The compilation also comes in a single disc version and a deluxe boxed set, and covers everything from Dylan's early sixties years with the folkies, right up through last year's Modern Times. For the fan who already has everything, it represents a way of having many of those highlights together on one compilation, while for new fans it serves as a great introduction.
So as I've already noted, it's a busy week. A few of the other new release highlights you'll find in stores this week, include the new ones from eighties new wave stars Annie Lennox (sans Eurythmics) and Siouxsie Sioux (sans Banshees). Taking a break from his "Doors 2000" act, Ian Astbury also returns for another round with the Cult. PJ Harvey has what is being described as something like an album of dark soundscapes played on voice and piano in her new White Chalk album.
Dashboard Confessional return to a more acoustic-based sound on The Shade of Poison Trees, while Matchbox Twenty are back with Exile on Mainstream. Country fans can look for the aforementioned Faith Hill Hits collection, as well as new ones from Brooks & Dunn (Cowboy Town) and Merle Haggard (The Bluegrass Sessions). Hip hop fans are greeted this week with new albums from Peanut Butter Wolf, Boyz N da Hood, and Hurricane.
Here are all of this week's new CD releases courtesy of All Music Guide.
The Shade of Poison Trees
Emo, Indie Rock
Dylan (3CD Edition)
Album Rock, Folk-Rock, Political Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Country-Rock, Rock & Roll, Pop/Rock
American Trad Rock, Americana, Roots Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Rock & Roll
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Heartland Rock, Album Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Rock & Roll
Browns in Blue
RCA Red Seal
Piano Ensemble Music
Boyz N da Hood
Back Up N da Chevy
Southern Rap, Gangsta Rap
Brooks & Dunn
Contemporary Country, New Traditionalist, Neo-Traditionalist Country
Adult Contemporary, Urban, Smooth Jazz
B-Sides and Rarities
Post-Grunge, Alternative Pop/Rock
Rewind: The Unreleased Recordings
Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Country-Rock, Blues-Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Baroque Violin Concertos
The Best of Chicago: 40th Anniversary Edition
Pop/Rock, Soft Rock, Pop, Adult Contemporary, Jazz-Rock
Noise-Rock, Goth Rock, Punk
Born into This
Hard Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Crossover Jazz, Jazz-Pop, Urban, Smooth Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Reprise / Wea
West Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap
Felix da Housecat
Virgo Blaktro & the Movie Disco
Alternative Dance, Club/Dance, Left-Field House, Electronica
Sing the Greys
Live from Austin, TX
Contemporary Folk, Singer/Songwriter
The Bluegrass Sessions
Bluegrass, Traditional Country
Mickey Hart & Zakir Hussain
Global Drum Project
Worldbeat, Ethnic Fusion
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Roots Rock, Pop, Rockabilly, Rock & Roll
Contemporary Country, Country-Pop, Adult Contemporary
Back of My Lac'
You Hear Me?
Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap
The Very Best of Mick Jagger
Pop/Rock, Rock & Roll, Dance-Rock
Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental
Songs of Mass Destruction
Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary
Dan in Real Life
Indie Pop, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Film Music, Soundtracks
It's Christmas, Of Course
Christmas, Holiday, Pop/Rock, R&B, Soul
Exile on Mainstream
American Trad Rock, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Indie Rock, Ambient Pop, Dream Pop
The Most Serene Republic
Indie Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental
New York Polyphony
I Sing the Birth
Music for Vocal Ensemble
Cold & Kind
Indie Pop, Chamber Pop
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 5
Post-Romantic Piano Concertos
Washington Symphonic Brass
Burana in Brass
Music for Brass Ensemble
The Heartbreak Kid
Soundtracks, Pop/Rock, Pop
Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?
Atlantic / Wea
Soundtracks, Contemporary R&B, Urban
Over the Rhine
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Vocal Jazz, Pop
Peanut Butter Wolf
Underground Rap, Hip-Hop
We Are the Pipettes (US Bonus Tracks)
Soap and Water
Country-Rock, Americana, Alternative Country-Rock
Indie Pop, Indie Rock
Alternative Country-Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
Live from Austin, TX
Tex-Mex, Roots Rock, Country-Rock, Blues-Rock, Americana, Progressive Country
British Punk, Post-Punk, Goth Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Soulja Boy Tellem
Pop-Rap, Hardcore Rap
Bridge of Sighs (Expanded Edition)
Hard Rock, Blues-Rock
Ike & Tina Turner
The Ike & Tina Turner Story 1960-1975
R&B, Soul, Pop-Soul, Rock & Roll
Romancing the '60s
Adult Contemporary, Soft Rock, Pop/Rock
Heavy Metal (Box Set)
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Hair Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
We Are Wolves
Dare to Care
Indie Rock, Electro-Industrial
Prism of Eternal Now
Ambient, Neo-Psychedelia, Experimental Rock