Our three spotlight releases this week all come from rock acts of a certain age. All three acts have been around for at least thirty years and still pack them in on stage. Do these veteran performers have what it takes to draw you in on wax (or disc, or file) these days?

David Bowie is an icon, no question. The rollout for his latest album, The Next Day, has been masterful, especially when you consider the fact that no one had a clue this album was even in production until the first single dropped. At the beginning of this year, we were all wondering if the Thin White Duke had just settled into a comfortable retirement (hey, if you woke up next to Iman, would you feel a pressing need to work?) At any rate, Bowie’s first new recording in something like a decade already has folks buzzing, and he might have completed the comeback of the year without selling a single record. That’s a testament to not only how well-regarded he is, but simply how fucking cool he is.

Meanwhile, “Bon Jovi” and “cool” haven’t appeared in a sentence without the word “not” appearing between in something like twenty years. Grunge initially rendered the Jersey-ites somewhat passe in the mid Nineties, but then they came roaring back with “It’s My Life” and they haven’t really left since. This despite the fact that just about every record they’ve released this millennium has been an attempt to recapture the success of that comeback single (which in itself was a redo of BJ’s biggest hit, “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Oh wait, there was also that one time they tried to go country. At any rate, the old dog that is Jon and Richie probably don’t have any new tricks left in them, so don’t expect anything earth-shattering from their new album, What About Now. The collection will likely consist of the songs you’ll hear intermittently when you see Bon Jovi in concert, and they will undoubtedly be the songs for which you leave to go pee.

I suppose it could've been worse. Clapton could've used a picture of one of his actual old socks.

I suppose it could’ve been worse. Clapton could’ve used a picture of one of his actual old socks.

What happens when you’ve just completely given up? Well, if you’re Eric Clapton, you write and record an album, call it Old Sock (the absolutely least appealing album title in the history of album titles) and you give it the most low-budget, lazy cover in the history of album covers. OK, maybe it’s not that bad, but still, Slowhand’s first album in a few years has the stench of “fuck it” wafting all around it. I’m sure it has some lovely guitar playing on it, and Clapton more than likely tackles a couple of blues standards as well as a soul classic or two, but seriously…is anyone checking for a new Eric Clapton album at this stage?

If you’re NOT into classic rock, there are also albums coming out today from:

-Devendra Banhart

-Biffy Clyro

-Shooter Jennings

-Mindless Behavior


and, perhaps most interestingly, the soundtrack to the Dave Grohl-helmed documentary Sound City: Real to Reel. Oh, wait. That’s pretty much classic rock, too!

If you think we missed anything, go check out Pause and Play for a complete listing of new releases.


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