Aren’t there supposed to be good albums coming out now? For the second week, I find myself looking at a list of new releases not containing a single title I feel worthy of my hard-earned $10 bucks. That’s not to say the rest of you won’t find something to enjoy, though. So here are a couple of this week’s key releases.

Some of you, like me, are still old school enough that we don’t buy albums digitally (actually, more people still buy CDs than legally download albums online-just saying). Some of you might even be Lil Wayne fans (perish the thought). In that case, you’ll be happy to know that Weezy’s “I Am Not a Human Being” , which has been able digitally for two weeks, is now in stores. This material was cobbled together from sessions prior to the rapper’s incarceration, and it has been getting worse reviews than his rock-etched “Rebirth” album from earlier this year. That said, people love them some Weezy, and I’ll take anything that could potentially stimulate currently in-the-toilet record sales.

Who’d have thought that Darius Rucker would be able to successfully reinvent himself as a country star? After sinking so low that he was hawking Burger King’s bacon cheddar ranch sandwich, the man many of you know as Hootie is now a certified platinum-level star once again. His third solo album (and second as a country artist) “Charleston, SC, 1966” is in stores today, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued the country genre’s recent stretch at the top of the charts, joining recent hits by the Zac Brown Band and Kenny Chesney.

If yesterday’s post about Mariah Carey wasn’t warning enough, the holiday season is about to jump into full gear, and we have a trio of Christmas albums scheduled to hit stores-each one coming from a different genre. “Idol” album Katherine McPhee will very likely jazz it up on her “Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You”, while the Indigo Girls give the holidays a folky/bluegrass vibe on “Holly Happy Days”. Probably the most curious of the bunch is Shelby Lynne’s “Merry Christmas”. Now, when you think Shelby, “Merry Christmas” (hell, merry anything) is not the first thing that would normally come to your head. So, the fact that she’s coming out with an album of Yuletide favorites (and the fact that it’s produced by smooth jazz stalwart Dave Koz, who’s a busy man, seeing as he has his own album out today) is certainly a head-scratcher.

Other albums out today include “The Age of Adz”, the first album from indie swoon-meister Sufjan Stevens in four years. There’s also an album-length collaboration between legendary ambient outfit The Orb and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour (“Metallic Spheres”) and the debut album from current chart-toppers The Far East Movement. On the reissue tip, Durannies will be shouting about the new versions of 1986’s “Notorious” and 1988’s “Big Thing”, while Rhino Handmade is putting out a deluxe edition of Richard & Linda Thompson’s well-regarded “Shoot Out the Lights”. Hip-O Select is hitting us with a double-disc set of Christmas favorites from James Brown, while Sony Legacy is presenting the very first Jessica Simpson hits set,  a budget piece that’s perhaps an acknowledgement of the fact that the busty blonde’s hitmaking days are over.

If we missed anything, head on over to Pauseandplay.com, where you’ll get the full list of this week’s new releases and all new releases for the foreseeable future!!

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