There’s an interesting mix of artists releasing albums today, including a sea of acts who’ve been absent from the music scene for quite some time. Why don’t we just call it comeback Tuesday, eh?
First off are The Beach Boys. Icons and rock ‘n roll Hall of Famers, there should really be no reason forCalifornia’s finest to be making another album. After all, the group’s best days are forty years behind them, and two Wilson brothers (Carl and Dennis) have passed away. Nevertheless, Brian Wilson is back with The Boys and That’s Why God Made The Radio is on record store shelves.
Somewhat less iconic, and not in the rock ‘n roll Hall of Fame is Bobby Brown. Although he is in our Top 100 Albums of the ‘80s countdown, batting leadoff with his classic Don’t Be Cruel. The Brown Bomber has not released an album (on his own or as part of New Edition) in 15 years. Fifteen years!! The Masterpiece is out today. If I were a cynic, I would say he’s trying to be timely in light of the death of ex-wife Whitney Houston. But I’m not (totally) a cynic, Lord knows we need some good R&B in our lives these days, and Bobby’s occasional bandmate Johnny Gill put out a surprisingly good album last year after a similar layoff. So, I have hope!
You’ll also find Patti Smith on the comeback trail. The singer/poet/author’s first album in eight years, Banga, hits stores today. So does the first album by Neil Young & Crazy Horse in at least a decade-Americana.
Backing away from comebacks, you’ll find albums from a variety of artists who’ve made more regular appearances in the new release section. That list includes Grammy winner/ODB stage-crash victim Shawn Colvin. The “Sunny Came Home” singer’s new album, All Fall Down, boasts a stellar guest list which includes Alison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jakob Dylan and Emmylou Harris. Fans of Shawn might also enjoy Bear Creek, the new album from equally folksy (although significantly more androgynous) singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile.
Although still best known for marrying (and cheating on) Halle Berry, Eric Benet’s built up a pretty consistent catalog over the years. The One is the soul singer’s sixth album, and the first on his own Jordan House label through Capitol, after spending the last decade and a half recording for Warner Bros./Reprise. We profiled the single “Harriett Jones” a little while ago.
You can tell how big a rapper’s buzz is by the magnitude of guest appearances on his debut album. I don’t know a hell of a lot about Curren$y, but I do know that his debut release, The Stoned Immaculate, features cameos from Wiz Khalifa, Wale, Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius and Pharrell Williams. I guess no one thought about pairing him with Ke$ha and making a song called “Why Do I Have A Dollar Sign In My Name?”
…and that’s not it, folks! There are also new albums from The Temper Trap (a follow up to their Grammy-winning debut,) The Old 97s’ Rhett Miller, The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson and former “it” band The Hives. There’s also the soundtrack to the movie “Rock Of Ages,” which promises to be a camp fest of the highest order, featuring vocals from not only Mary J. Blige, but also noted singers Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin.
Reissues: It’s a big week for anniversaries! David Bowie’s legendary Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars turns 40, Paul Simon’s Grammy-winning Graceland turns 25, Lenny Kravitz’ breakthrough album Mama Said turns 21, and Maroon 5’s debut album Songs About Jane turns 10. All four albums are being celebrated with expanded packages which variously include demos, alternate versions, DVD material and more!
WTFF Album of the Week: Just by virtue of name, I have to give it to the collaboration project involving Yes’s Chris Squire and Genesis’s Steve Hackett, entitled…Squackett. Over 100 years between the two and neither of them could think of anything better? FOR SHAME.
That’s it for now, but make sure you’re checking out Pause And Play for a complete listing of this week’s releases.