Hard to believe that the young girl with attitude who sang songs like “Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)” is now a mature woman in her thirties. Monica is indeed a loving wife and mother, and she’s also releasing her sixth (sixth!!) album today. New Life is the latest from the chanteuse, and it features guest spots from current it-rapper Wale as well as her former nemesis Brandy (also a thirtysomething mom-time flies, don’t it?) Monica has managed to sell records consistently even as she flies under the radar, so solid sales are expected from this one.
Monica’s just one of the members of the fairer sex releasing albums this week. It’s fair to call Bonnie Raitt (along with semi-retired Tina Turner) one of the grande dames of rock ‘n roll. She hasn’t lost a step since the Seventies, and her new album, Slipstream, is yet another in a long line of solid albums from rock music’s favorite redhead.
Bonnie and Monica are joined on the release schedule by leather-lunged Brit Florence Welch, as she and her machine release an Unplugged album today, as well as by newcomer Brittany Howard-the lead singer of much buzzed about band Alabama Shakes. Drawing favorable comparisons to bands like Kings of Leon, the Shakes are releasing their debut, Boys & Girls.
I can honestly say that I only enjoyed one season of “American Idol,” and one big reason for that was Elliott Yamin. Dude has vocals for days, although his albums to date have suffered from generic production and inconsistent songwriting. He is the best male soul singer that show has ever produced, and there is a killer R&B album somewhere in this guy’s body, and let’s hope that his third U.S. release, Let’s Get To What’s Real, is it. Elliott’s brother in Judaism, Adam Duritz, has been rocking arenas for two decades with his band Counting Crows, and Underwater Sunshine is a collection of covers that runs the gamut from Big Star to The Faces’ classic “Ooh La La.”
The rest of the release schedule contains albums from Amadou & Miriam (featuring guest spots from the blipster elite, including Santigold, TV On The Radio and Theophilus London,) Monster of Folk M. Ward, rootsy cult favorite Nanci Griffith, and rockers Lords of Acid, Taproot and Emmure.
We may have missed a title or two, so make sure you check out Pause and Play for a full list of this week’s releases.