Before we get to this week’s new releases, a few quick housekeeping items are in order.
This will be the final new release column of 2007. Since both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Tuesday this year — which is typically new release day for the labels — and since I have it on pretty good authority that the music business shuts down for the year by around the middle of December anyway, there is simply going to be little if anything to cover here until next year.
Besides, even your favorite Rockologist needs a little family time during the holidays.
But rest assured, the weekly New Release column will be back up and running come Tuesday, January 8, 2008. Hopefully, and with any luck, there will even be some actual new releases to talk about. I do know that for starters, the physical release of Radiohead’s In Rainbows should be in stores by then.
That said, what we have this week is a very, very short list.
Whether or not you are one of those who swear that Mary J. Blige is the closest thing today’s generation has to Aretha Franklin herself — and there are millions of her fans who will tell you exactly that — there’s no denying that the so-called “Queen of hip-hop soul” has matured into a first rate vocalist, and one who is no longer limited by that label. On her eighth album, Growing Pains, she continues the transformation from hip-hop to pop that began with The Breakthrough. And yes, she is again sporting a new “do.”
On Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, the guy who practically invented “nerd-wave” rock with the great nineties power-pop band Weezer unearths a long rumored collection of solo recordings dating from his pre-Weezer days right up until the present. Highlights here are said to include songs from a never released second Weezer album, Songs from the Black Hole. Count on Cuomo’s songwriting smarts and impeccable sense for a great pop hook being on full display here.
For the soundtrack to the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp vehicle, Sweeney Todd, there are actually two versions in stores this week. You can get either the complete soundtrack, or a Selected Highlights version featuring — among other things — Depp singing songs from the musical. We’ve heard Depp’s performance in the movie is pretty scary at times, but the jury is still out on his singing.
Other highlights from this week’s short list include The Fight of My Life, from new gospel jack’s Kirk Franklin; new hip-hop from Lupe Fiasco, Jaheim, and Chingy; third generation Americana from Hank Williams III; and that Bram Tchaikovsky reissue from the seventies that got my fellow Blogcritic Mark Saleski so excited earlier this week.
So until we return on January 8, here are this week’s new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide.
And to all, a good night…
Mary J. Blige
Contemporary R&B, Urban, Adult Contemporary
Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Midwest Rap, Alternative Rap, Hip-Hop
The Makings of a Man
Contemporary R&B, Neo-Soul, Urban
Chinese Piano Favorites
Chinese Piano Music
Hate It or Love It
Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap
Sweeney Todd [The Motion Picture Soundtrack] [Highlights]
Music for Film
The Fight of My Life
Black Gospel, Contemporary Gospel, Urban
Live at Glastonbury
Techno, IDM, Electronica, Ambient Techno
Reflection: Violacentric Music of Scott Slapin
Contemporary Chamber Music
Charlie Wilson’s War
Original Score, Soundtracks
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street [2007 Soundtrack]
Cheese and Crackers: The Greatest Bits
Standup Comedy, Sketch Comedy
Strange Man, Changed Man
Power Pop, New Wave, Rock & Roll
10 Years of Bling, Vol. 1
Def Jam Sessions, Vol. 1
East Coast Rap, Urban, Hardcore Rap
The Sibelius Edition, Vol. 3: Voice & Orchestra
Modern Music for Voice & Orchestra
Hank Williams III
Damn Right, Rebel Proud
Americana, New Traditionalist, Outlaw Country