The week’s biggest news is certainly the release of Hot Sauce Committee, Part II, the Beastie Boys’ first non-instrumental album in six years. The longest-running hit making rap act in history, this album has gotten universally solid reviews, proving that Mike D., Ad-Rock and MCA have not lost their mojo even in their mid-forties. However, it’s far from the only thing going on in a crowded new release week.

The Beasties will likely be vying for the #1 spot on the album charts with the 38th edition of the popular Now That’s What I Call Music franchise. While I haven’t checked out a track listing for this one yet, I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that “Born This Way”, “E.T.” and J. Lo’s latest single are among the tracks included. Speaking of Mrs. Lo, her long-delayed new album, Love?, arrives in stores today. What was looking like a sure flop a year ago might actually turn out to be comeback material, considering the success of her Pitbull-assisted, “Lambada”-sampling “On the Floor”. In much more musically substantial diva comeback news, The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is releasing her first new album in eight years. Entitled A Woman Falling Out of Love, the album is exclusively available through Wal-Mart stores and, with a wide digital release coming in a couple of weeks. Diva overload continues with Stevie Nicks’ first solo release in a decade, Secret Love.

Besides Aretha, there are new treats for R&B fans in the form of new albums by Musiq Soulchild and the previously missing-in-action Kelly Price. Indie rock fans will be excited to hear the new album from Fleet Foxes, entitled Helplessness Blues. A career-spanning set from Sade (Ultimate Collection; 2 CDs and 29 tracks, with several new songs) is set for release today, as is the new album from Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx’s side project, Sixx A.M. This is Gonna Hurt will be followed shortly by a coffee-table book featuring photography from the Sixx-man himself.

If you’re looking for more curious/niche stuff, here are a few things you might want to check out. Gospel and country lovers will want to check out the latest from the Blind Boys of Alabama. Take the High Road features guest appearances from the likes of Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack, and Willie Nelson, and I’m trying to keep myself from making a joke connecting Willie to the album’s title. Fans of Eighties adult contemporary will dig the new three-disc set from Richard Marx entitled Stories to Tell, featuring his hits, acoustic versions, and a live DVD. Fans of slightly less commercial Eighties adult contemporary will want to check out the double-disc set Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers: Bride of the Newsmakers. Fans of the Osmonds will want to pick up the self-titled Donny & Marie country album (remember, they’re a little bit country), and we wouldn’t want to leave dredg off the list. They’re collaborating with Handsome Boy Modeling School’s Dan the Automator for Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy, which certainly gets the album title of the week award, no matter how much I enjoy hot sauce.

For a full(er) list of this week’s releases, make sure you’re checking out Pause and Play!

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