Twenty years ago this week, a trio of wildly influential albums came out. Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik gave that L.A.-based band their biggest success, turned rock/rap into an official “thing” and gave Rick Rubin producer cred after a couple of years in the wilderness. A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory turned that group from De La Soul Jr. into one of hip-hop’s most original and inventive acts. Meanwhile, Nirvana’s Nevermind helped bring alternative rock fully and completely into the mainstream, ushered in the grunge era, and brought us Kurt Cobain, rock and roll martyr. A 20th anniversary reissue of Nevermind is a no-brainer. Featuring a second-disc of rare material (at least in the version I can afford), it’s worth a purchase even for those of us who have bought the album previously (or in my case, more than once.) However, it’s merely the tip of the iceberg in a very, very busy new release week.

This week brings a major release from just about any possible subgenre you can think of. Whether you dig pop, country, hip-hop, standards or metal, there’s something here for you.

Why don’t we start with beardy metal band Mastodon and their highly anticipated new album, The Hunter (you may recall it fromyesterday’s Metal Monday column) . Produced by Mike Elizondo, who has worked with everyone from Dre and Eminem to Fiona Apple, this should officially break these guys into the mainstream. Of course, one rock band fully enmeshed into the mainstream is blink-182. Mark, Tom and Travis reunited as a touring act some time ago, but Neighborhoods is their first album in eight years. Can they pick up where they left off? Ticket sales certainly indicate that as a possibility.

After twenty-six years, one of Prince’s best-remembered protege bands, The Family, has returned as FDeluxe. Their new album, Gaslight, hits stores today. Can they be as funky as they were with the Purple Yoda? I’m betting on it.

I don’t know anyone who owns a Jason DeRulo album. Actually, I don’t know any of his songs except that one that had the Imogen Heap sample. Nevertheless, he was able to rassle up a who’s who of contemporary producers for his new album, Future History, including The-Dream. While I’m sure the little girls will go nuts for that one, several male singers (who are certainly more artistically substantial) appear with new albums today. Pop/soul legend Daryl Hall makes his Verve Records debut with Laughing Down Crying, his first solo album in twelve years. It coincides with his popular web series “Live From Daryl’s House” heading over to network TV. Meanwhile, punk/funk lives to see another day by virtue of Van Hunt’s new album, What Were You Hoping For? The singer/songwriter’s last album, Popular (which is SO dope, find it if you can), was done dirty by the major label machine, so it’s nice to see him undeterred and willing to let his freak flag fly even higher these days.

J. Cole has been one of hip-hop’s prime “next” candidates for the past couple of years now. Since a lot of new artists mentored by Jay-Z end up in the rap Bermuda triangle, it’s good to see that his Cole World: The Sideline Story is finally surfacing. If it’s half as good as his excellent mixtape from last year, Friday Night Lights, we might be looking at the hip-hop debut of 2011. Switching genres (and career statuses) for a minute, the guys from Chickenfoot are certainly not newcomers, even though this is their second album as a unit. Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony are in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Chad Smith is not far behind, and Joe Satriani is no slouch himself. Their debut album was something of a surprise hit, and Chickenfoot III, their second album (what is it with supergroups and this kind of bullshit…didn’t The Traveling Wilburys do the same thing?) now has some expectations riding on it.

But wait, there’s more! “Family Guy”/”American Dad”/”Cleveland Show” creator Seth MacFarlane is indulging his desire to be a crooner by releasing Music is Better than Words, a collection of standards from the 40s and 50s. Michael Buble, watch out! There’s also Charity Begins At Home, a solo project from Phonte of hip-hop outfit Little Brother and prog-R&B unit The Foreign Exchange (former LB bandmate 9th Wonder also releases an album today). LeAnn Rimes returns after a bit of an absence with the Vince Gill-produced covers album Lady & Gentleman, while there are also new albums from guitar legend Johnny Winter, singer/songwriters Josh Rouse and Matthew Sweet, hip-hop supaproducer 9th Wonder, pioneering girl band The Bangles and Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Wilco’s The Whole Love. Jeff Tweedy and co. are finally on their own label, and the models of AAA consistency are ready to release one of the most highly anticipated albums of their career.

Oh my God, I am spending SO much money this week, it’s not funny.

Want to go broke, too? Make sure you’re checking out Pause and Play.

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