We might have to make this one quick and dirty. A series of unfortunate events (Lemony Snicket style) have conspired to make me late for my self-imposed deadline. So, for your sake and mine, I’ll try to not be as verbose as I usually am in this column. Let’s get this thing started.

If you didn’t know who Jason Aldean was two years ago, you know now–thanks to his massively successful My Kinda Party album and his collaborations with Kelly Clarkson (“Don’t You Wanna Stay”) and Ludacris (“Dirt Road Anthem.”) The now-veteran country star returns with his fifth album, Night Train-the likely biggest seller of this week’s new releases. There’s not much in the way of intentional crossover action a la the Clarkson duet on this one, but country fans are sure to be satiated. Apparently, there’s a song with fellow country heartthrobs Luke Bryan and Eric Church, and there’s also a song that namechecks ’90s C&W superstar Joe Diffie. So…yee haw?

If this was 1997 and not 2012, a new Brandy album would be at the top of the new release list, both in terms of popularity and my own personal preferences. However, this is 2012, and while I’d still consider myself a fan, I think I’m gonna have to give Two Eleven a couple of Spotify listens before I make a commitment. Part of the reason for that is because the first two singles have been a rehash of her biggest hit with the same duet partner (“It All Belongs To Me” featuring Monica) and a duet with persona non grata Chris Brown (“Put It Down.”) Another part of the reason is that her albums have been, to put it charitably, inconsistent. So, this could be good. It could be not good. Look for a review shortly.

Ben Gibbard is a hard working dude. Between Death Cab for Cutie, the Postal Service, and a very active Twitter page, the guy has a lot on his plate. Now, you can add solo star to the list. Former Lives hits stores today (another album I need to give a Spotify listen to before committing.) I’m fairly certain his separation/divorce from Zooey Deschanel (is that correct?) will be covered in the subject matter.

A lot of maybes for me this week. Maybe I’m finally becoming a better record buyer? At any rate, the last of the albums that I might pick up is the latest from Donald Fagen. Now, I’m a Steely Dan megafan, and I was also really big on The Nightfly. I haven’t listened to any of Fagen’s other solo work before, but I did see him in concert a couple months ago and enjoyed him thoroughly. So I’m willing to give his new album, Sunken Condos, a shot.

Also in stores this week: Trey Anastasio’s Traveler, an album that finds the Phish phrontman and guitarist covering Gorillaz’ “Clint Eastwood” (I was as surprised to hear it as you might be to read it,) The Birthday Massacre‘s Hide And Seek (an album we’ve already been kind enough to review for you,) and (slipping under the radar) Country, God and the Girl, the second official album by Somalian rapper K’naan (oof-another one to add to my “maybe” list…I’ve got more maybes than Carly Rae Jepsen…and if you think I’ve been waiting this whole column to make that joke, you are CORRECT!)

There are also new albums from Freddie Mercury-in-training Mika, poor man’s Lenny Kravitz Ben Harper and metal goof band Dethklok.

Wow, and we’re still at 600 words. Fine. Brevity is not one of my strong suits.

Anyway–check out Pause and Play for a complete list of this week’s and all upcoming releases.

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