What year is it again? You might not be able to figure it out given this week’s list of big (or at least vaguely interesting) new releases.

Let’s start with LL Cool J. It’s been five years since James Todd Smith released a studio album. In that time, he’s become well-known as a TV star on a top-rated action/drama (CSI: L.A.) and has hosted the Grammy Awards for the past two years. That’s probably for the better, considering the last LL album worth even half a damn was 2002’s 10. After a lengthy break, Ladies Love feels like he’s ready to come back. Authentic is the title of the legendary emcee’s thirteenth studio album, and although nothing has caught on to radio yet (the only 40+ rapper still capable of garnering airplay seems to be Jay-Z,) the album boasts collaborations with everyone from future tourmate Chuck D. to Eddie Van Halen to Brad Paisley (and this is not “Accidental Racist,” either!)

Kenny Chesney is not Brad Paisley, although I suppose a casual country fan might get them confused, maybe? Paisley is more of a Guitar Hero-kinda guy, while Kenny Chesney is kind of a cross between Jimmy Buffett and Jack Johnson. He’s all baseball caps and flip-flops. At any rate, the two are apples and oranges. I dig Paisley plenty, while Chesney’s a bit of a one-trick pony. His new album, Life on a Rock, revisits familiar themes of beaches, bars and babes, and will undoubtedly provide the soundtrack for partiers below the Mason-Dixon line. Of course, Kenny’s the most recently commercially relevant of the artists included in this wrap-up.

When one talks about The Stooges in a rock and roll context, one is not referring to Moe, Larry & Curly (or Shemp.) One is, in fact, referring to Iggy & The Stooges. Iggy, in this case, refers to the venerable Iggy Pop. Talk about rock stars takin’ a lickin’ and keepin’ on tickin’. The 66 year old legend still kicks ass on tour, still takes his shirt off (and is in amazingly good shape) and probably still whips his cock out from time to time. Iggy and James Williamson have not recorded together as The Stooges in nearly forty years. The official LAST Iggy & the Stooges album, called (appropriately, I guess) Ready to Die, is out today.

On to rock of a more recent vintage. Did you know that the Spin Doctors were still making records? Neither did I. It’s actually been eight years since their last record, but the “Two Princes”-making foursome (admit it, you still can’t get it out of your head) is releasing If the River was Whiskey. Nice to see the sense of humor is still intact, I guess.

Get a full list of this week’s (and every week’s) new releases on Pause and Play.

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