Black Friday is upon us, and as such, it is the last major release week of 2012. Sure, there are still a handful of superstar releases to consider, but this week will be the last time there will be a glut of A-List releases waiting for you on Tuesday morning. (erm…Monday morning!!)

It ain’t the 4th quarter without a Rihanna release, and though she ain’t exactly Mike Jordan-in’ em like her mentor Jay-Z, she has racked up an extremely consistent series of million-sellers. Her latest album, Unapologetic, looks to continue that streak. The first single, “Diamonds,” might be the #1 single in the country by Thanksgiving, and she’s got award show appearances, SNL, and all the other typical promotional stuff locked down. One thing she doesn’t have, however, is a #1 album. Will this be the album that does it for Rih-Rih?

Rihanna’s biggest competition probably comes from three acts who are aiming straight for the heart of Middle America. Kid Rock has gone from being a rap-rock renegade to the Bob Seger of the new millennium, only nowhere near as good. I’ll admit to having owned several of Kid’s albums, but the fact that he’s a hack (and the albums I did own weren’t very good) have pretty much relieved me of that desire. Rebel Soul is the name of his latest album, and unlike his last big seller, Rock ‘n Roll Jesus, this album will be available at digital as well as physical retailers. I can’t think of any smooth segue here, so let’s just jump right into Phillip Phillips‘ debut album, The World From The Side Of The Moon. I can’t say that I’ve been interested in much from the “American Idol” camp in the past half decade or so, but Phillips’ faux-Mumford/faux-DMB sound kinda turns my crank a little bit. He’s certainly the most commercially viable “Idol” winner to come along in some time, and the fact that “Home” was an actual hit (when was the last time you could say that about an “Idol” winner’s single?) makes him one to watch. Of course, you can’t talk “Idol” without bringing up the original winner, Kelly Clarkson. A decade after her coronation, Greatest Hits-Chapter One hits stores, and seeing as Kelly’s been one of pop radio’s surest things, this one should sell strongly.

In most other weeks, new albums by Keyshia Cole and Pitbull would have a solid chance to debut at #1. However, given the glut of albums hitting stores this week (not to mention the superstar albums already out,) the latest from these two artists might have trouble debuting in the Top Ten. Cole stumbled with her last album, and her latest single (featuring the ubiquitous Lil Wayne) seemed headed to the top of the R&B charts until Billboard changed it’s chart methodology and sent her tumbling back down the list. At any rate, Woman To Woman may be the album that lifts Cole past MJB Jr. status. Then again, it might not. Meanwhile, Pitbull owns Top 40 radio, and his last album, Planet Pit, made it to Gold status. His new joint, Global Warming, boasts guest spots from damn near the entire Top 40: Usher, Chris Brown, The Wanted, Christina Aguilera and Enrique Iglesias all make appearances here.

Legendary hardcore unit Bad Brains and slightly less offensive Kid Rock offshoot Uncle Kracker (yes, he still makes records) also have albums hitting stores this week.

On the reissue tip, Led Zeppelin‘s Celebration Day features a 2007 performance (a tribute to deceased Atlantic Records major domo Ahmet Ertegun) by the surviving 3/4 of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Considering that they’re all still pretty musically relevant individually, this might be one to check out. Coldplay‘s 2012 tour also gets the CD/DVD treatment, although I don’t know that a band like Coldplay needs more than one live album (and they already have at least one, if not more.) On the hits album tip, 3 Doors Down delivers a long overdue compilation for those who haven’t yet bought the band’s 3 or 4 good songs on iTunes or Amazon, while reissues/repackages come from Nicki Minaj (whose Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is expanded with additional tracks) and… t.A.t.U? Yep, a decade ago, Russian teenage faux-lesbians were a thing, and for the person who still cares, their debut effort, 200 KM/h In The Wrong Lane, is being re-released. Yay!

Pause And Play‘s got the full list of this week’s releases (and for all weeks upcoming.) Check them out!

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