This album cover gives me a headache.

Whatever happened to letting the music do the talking? Yes, M.I.A., I’m referring to you. The set up for the Sri Lanka-born rapper’s third album (which is called “Maya” but is spelled out with some ridiculous set of symbols that I have no desire to replicate here) has been marred by a bizarre video and a flame war with a New York Times writer who decided to air out some…shall we say, inconsistencies in M.I.A.’s actual lifestyle vs. her artistic persona. M.I.A. retaliated by posting the writer’s phone number on her Twitter page (a move that stinks of “busted!”) and making a diss record. Ultimately, I don’t know how many folks actually care about the controversy or even whether M.I.A.’s image is real…I mean, what percentage of the entertainment industry ISN’T based on smoke, mirrors and embellishment, right? Anyway, her music’s always been a pretty fun listen. Hopefully, the fame resulting from “Paper Planes” hasn’t gone to her head and she can come up with a third solid album.

What else is out today? Well, my favorite New Zealanders (and one black dude) Crowded House continue their comeback with their new album “Intriguer”. Suffice it to say, I will purchase anything Neil Finn puts his vocals on, so consider the album already added to my collection. There’s also a new album from Korn, if you’re into that type of thing. I tend to prefer the niblet variety to the past-their-prime rock band variety.

Trip-hop faves Morcheeba are back with a new album, as is Caucasoid Southern rapper Paul Wall. This week’s most interesting release, however, is “Symphonicity”, an album that features one Gordon Sumner (who most of you know as Sting) recasting some of his classics (both solo and with the Police) in a symphonic manner. Granted, this doesn’t seem like a ridiculously farfetched idea for the notoriously pompous Sting, but…really? Instead of recording new material, you’re going to rerecord your old hits with an orchestra? Big shrug there…although I must in the same breath to actually enjoying when Metallica did it. So stamp me with the hypocrite button. Still, I’d much rather listen to old Police records-without the symphonic embellishments.

(Random fact-the Police were the first rock band I ever really liked-thanks to my neighbor Andrew Coleman, who was madly in love with “Zenyatta Mondatta” and even named his dog Sting).

Make sure you’re checking out Pause and Play for all your new release needs.

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