There’s no getting around the fact that this week’s biggest release comes courtesy of the estate of Michael Jackson. Have you read my review of Michael yet? No? It’s okay. I’ll wait…

MJ might have the biggest release coming out this week, but it’s far from the only release. There’s a pretty good handful of albums (I’m using pretty good to describe the handful, not the albums) arriving in stores and online on what’s the last meaningful release Tuesday of 2010.

Let’s start off with sometime Jackson collaborator R. Kelly. Whatever you think about the man’s personal issues (and that man has issues), he’s been fairly inspired lately. His last album, Untitled, was the first release of his I could say I legitimately liked (aside from the unreleased Loveland) in a decade, despite the fact that it’s almost a guarantee that some of his lyrics are going to make me a bit uncomfortable. His new album, Love Letter, has something of a throwback soul vibe to it, starting with the cover, which could easily double as a “Little” Stevie-era Motown cover. The Arr-Uh turned it out on the Soul Train Awards with the performance of “When a Woman Loves”, and while I steadfastly refuse to put any cash directly in Robert Kelly’s pocket…well, there are ways I can enjoy his music without paying for it. Let’s just put it that way.

Diddy’s Last Train to Paris has been promised for so long, you could probably have walked to Paris from wherever you are in the time between now and the first time this project was announced. While I feel like Mr. Combs’ best days as an “artist” are well behind him, he’s still managed to scare up a very impressive list of collaborators, including Usher, Drake, Chris Brown, Trey Songz and Justin Timberlake. Hey-wasn’t this supposed to be a Euro Dance album? Or did Diddy abandon that concept when made the cornball neo-techno his thing?

Remember Ciara? The former “queen of crunk & be” is continuing her slow fade into obscurity with her latest, Basic Instinct. She’s proof that superior athleticism (as far as dancing ability) and weird rumors about being a transvestite won’t translate into long-term record sales if the music isn’t good. Are you listening Gaga? Eh, that’s probably not fair. The difference between Gaga and Ciara (and it’s a big one) is in the pipes-and in the marketing sense.

Other albums coming out today include the debut album by “American Idol” runnerup Crystal Bowersox, in addition to a live album no one asked for from Leona Lewis (hey y’all, remember her?) New rock supergroup The Damned Things combines members of Anthrax and Every Time I Die with one of the two semi-anonymous dudes from Fall Out Boy-they’re releasing their debut album today. Finally, there’s the first album in a decade from Grammy-winning songwriter/least-ugly chick from Xscape/Real Housewife of Atlanta Kandi, and the fourth album by Tank, one of those R&B dudes who just can’t catch a break.

As always, I get my info from Pause and Play. Check ’em out, why don’tcha?

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