If there is any one thing which can be said of this week’s crop of new releases, it is that there is definitely something here for everybody.
From the return of some formerly huge names from the eighties (Duran Duran and Queensryche); to retrospective sets from the likes of Led Zeppelin and Robyn Hitchcock; to the broad cross-section of current music represented by new albums by the Killers, Alicia Keys, and even Celine Dion — the list of new titles hitting record stores this week is certainly nothing if not an eclectic mix.
Probably the biggest story here is the return of Duran Duran. Not that Duran Duran isn’t a band that has surfaced every so-many years since the days that they ruled MTV back in the eighties — they are, and they certainly have. What seems to be different about the new Red Carpet Massacre however, is that the former Fab Five seem determined here to embrace their former glory years as the kings of techno dance-pop.
Even the album cover here suggests vintage Duran Duran’s sexy MTV videos (which themselves recalled the seventies album sleeves of their idols Roxy Music), with its images of erotica and danger. The difference here is that Duran Duran have chosen to update their dance grooves by enlisting people like Justin Timberlake, Danjahandz, and Timbaland to give their own euro-pop a bit of a hip hop makeover.
From the modern rock side of the street come two interesting new releases. For their
Black and White Album, the Hives look to expand their trademark garage rock sound by enlisting producers such as Jacknife Lee and Pharrell Williams. The Killers on the other hand, offer more of an “odds and sods” sort of collection with their own Sawdust, an album largely made up of outtakes and unreleased songs from the sessions for their first two wildly successful albums.
Alicia Keys returns for her third album As I Am, making the move to fuller band arrangements, as opposed to the often sparser sounding R&B minimalism of her previous, critically acclaimed work. Keys still mines the same neo-soul territory with a touch of hip hop attitude here, while attempting to break out of the torchy solo piano stuff which won her worldwide recognition at a very young age.
As can always be expected this time of year, there are also some interesting new reissues this week.
Although the 2 CD/1 DVD Led Zeppelin collection Mothership doesn’t really offer up anything new in the way of previously unavailable material (that particular vault had to be picked dry some time ago), the remastering job here is said to reveal new clarity, and a sound mix not nearly so heavy on the high end. Besides, with interest in Zeppelin once again running high (did it ever really go away?) due to an impending reunion concert in England, and the reissue of The Song Remains The Same, yet another reissue collection certainly can’t hurt.
Indie label Yep Rock also begins an ambitious reissue campaign for college radio/alt-rock darling Robyn Hitchcock, by issuing a four disc box set, I Wanna Go Backwards, as well as three of his albums, Black Snake Diamond Role, Eye, and I Often Dream of Trains.
Before Seattle gave the world grunge, the last big band to come out of Starbucks-land was prog-metal heroes Queensryche. With a live album and a hits retrospective released earlier this year, the band has also enjoyed a revival of sorts. Queensryche’s new album, the appropriately titled Take Cover, finds the Seattle band offering up their versions of songs made famous by the likes of U2, Pink Floyd, and Crosby Stills Nash & Young.
On the softer side, veteran singer-songwriter (and the latest signee to Starbucks Hear Music label) James Taylor has the live album, One Man Band. On the combination CD/DVD set, Taylor performs several of his greatest hits in concert, while revealing the stories behind the songs in the more intimate format made famous by the VH1 Storytellers series.
Celine Dion also leaves Las Vegas long enough to deliver her first new album in several years, Taking Chances. It’s an odd title given Dion’s reputation for rarely doing anything of the sort, although she is actually leaving Vegas to embark on a lengthy world tour to support the release.
Here are all of this week’s new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:
Red Carpet Massacre
I Wanna Go Backwards [Bonus Tracks]
College Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Jangle Pop, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Folk-Rock
The Black and White Album
Retro-Rock, Garage Punk, Garage Rock Revival, Punk Revival, Alternative Pop/Rock
As I Am
Neo-Soul, Contemporary R&B, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love
Hardcore Rap, Gangsta Rap, Midwest Rap
Boyz II Men
Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA
Tribute Albums, Urban, Adult Contemporary
Some Things Just Stick in You Mind: Single and Demos 1964-1967
Thinking of You
Traditional Pop, Vocal Pop
The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Dreaming
Indie Electronic, Swedish Pop/Rock, Indie Pop
Rough Around the Edges: Live from Madison Square Garden
Comedy Central Rec.
Standup Comedy, Observational Humor
Words of Wisdom
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Experimental Rock, Post-Hardcore, Grindcore
Adult Contemporary, Pop/Rock
The Best of Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
The Great American
British Punk, Pub Rock, New Wave, Punk, Disco
Indie Pop, Pop Underground
Jewels in the Crown: All Star Duets with the Queen
Smooth Soul, Pop/Rock, Contemporary R&B, Adult Contemporary
The Goo Goo Dolls
Greatest Hits, Vol. 1: The Singles
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Grunge, Hard Rock, Pop/Rock
Live at Mt. Fuji
Kraut Rock, Experimental, Electronic
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
Schumann: Humoresque; Sonata in F sharp minor [Hybrid SACD]
Romantic Piano Music
Black Snake Diamond Role [Yep Rock]
College Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Folk-Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Rock & Roll
Eye [Yep Roc]
Alternative Pop/Rock, College Rock, Folk-Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
I Often Dream of Trains [Yep Roc]
Alternative Pop/Rock, College Rock, Folk-Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
John Lee Hooker
I’m John Lee Hooker
Detroit Blues, Country Blues, Electric Delta Blues, Electric Blues, Acoustic Blues, Juke Joint Blues
Dream Pop, Indie Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental, Indie Pop, Experimental Rock
New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Alternative Pop/Rock
Buxtehude: Opera Omnia V: Vocal Works, Vol. 2
Baroque Vocal Music
Indie Electronic, Alternative Dance
Album Rock, Arena Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Blues-Rock, British Metal, British Blues
Blues All Ways
Live at the Barbican Theatre 2006
Brazilian Pop, Tropicalia, Psychedelic
P.D.Q. Bach: The Jekyll & Hyde Tour
Contemporary Vocal & Chamber Music
Tokyo String Quartet
Beethoven: String Quartets, Op. 18, Nos. 1-6
Romantic String Quartets
Contemporary Vocal Music
Progressive Metal, Arena Rock, Heavy Metal, Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Hard Rock
Live at Carnegie Hall
Blues Revival, Electric Harmonica Blues, Electric Chicago Blues, R&B
Club/Dance, Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary, Urban, House, Dance-Pop
Dancehall, Contemporary Reggae, Reggae-Pop
Sandwiches & Cats
Standup Comedy, Observational Humor, Musical Comedy
22 More Hits
Neo-Traditionalist Country, New Traditionalist, Honky Tonk, Contemporary Country
Somewhere in the Between
Third Wave Ska Revival, Ska-Punk
One Man Band
Pop/Rock, Soft Rock, Singer/Songwriter