It's almost Super Tuesday! The year's heaviest release schedule is jam-packed with superstars
Kris Allen's self-titled album
Hear that noise behind you? The one that sounds like a stampede? It's the mad rush of titles vying for shelf space between now and Christmas. This week represents the biggest release week we've seen this fall. There will be lots of jockeying for the top spot on the charts as an “American Idol” winner vies for No. 1 this week with a platinum-plus rapper, a Beatle, a guitar slinger, a British diva-in-training and a pop princess. In other words, the holiday season is in full effect.
Also, look for CDs to drop on Monday instead of the traditional Tuesday as labels try to ratchet up opening-week sales by adding an extra day into the mix. It's conceivable that the top 10 of the Billboard 200 released next week is comprised of all debuts. The only question is who will come in at No. 1 and leave the others licking their wounds.
, “Kris Allen” (19 Recordings/Jive), “American Idol” season eight winner Kris Allen attempts to get some of the thunder back from runner up Adam Lambert. First single, “Live Like We’re Dying” has yet to catch the world on fire. Time to see if Allen is going to be a Kelly Clarkson or a Taylor Hicks. A who’s who of producers and songwriters, including Claude Kelly, Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman, the Fray’s Joe King and Train’s Pat Monahan worked with Allen on the pop/rock collection. Hot on his heels are next week's major label debut from Lambert and then Allison Iraheta.
, “My World” (Island Def Jam): Canadian 15-year-old sensation has set adolescent hearts fluttering below the 49th
parallel with the sweet first two singles from “My World”: “One Time” and “One Less Lonely Girl.” Usher appears on the album as a guest vocalist. We’ll see if there’s room for a non-Disney-linked teen to break through. The Magic Ball says yes.
“Before I Self Destruct” (Aftermath/Interscope): 50’s first set since 2007’s “Curtis” got moved up after it leaked in its entirety. Fronted by first single, “Baby By Me,” (which features Ne-Yo), “Destruct” also finds the rapper pairing for R. Kelly on “Couldn’t Been You,” as well as taking on fellow artists Young Buck, Young Jeezy and the Game on “So Disrespectful.”
Forever the Sickest Kids, “The Weekend: Friday” (Universal Motown): Pop punkers, and faves of Selena Gomez (who appears on their tune “Whoa-Oh (Me VS Everyone)”) release the first of a trilogy of EPs that features their fun, colorful and goofy music geared straight at tweens and their slightly older siblings.
, “The Fall” (Blue Note): Jones undergoes a bit of career reinvention on this guitar-based album. She also brings in some new collaborators in producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon/Modest Mouse) and songwriters Ryan Adams and Okkervil River’s Will Sheff. First single, “Chasing Pirates” is a modest, sweet love song.
“Echo” (J/Syco): “Bleeding Love” singer, who landed one of the biggest debut albums ever in the U.S. by a British female with the Grammy-nominated “Spirit,” returns with a layered set that widens “Spirit’s” pop parameters. Working with the likes of “Bleeding Love” co-writer Ryan Tedder, as well as Max Martin, Justin Timberlake, John Shanks and Kevin Rudolf, the big-voiced Lewis is poised to be a diva in the Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey mold.
, “Battle Studies” (Columbia): Mayer’s personal life has overshadowed his music for a minute, but this collection should put the focus back on the guitar slinger. Melody trumps flashy fret work on “Battle Studies,” in a deliberate move by Mayer to write his most melodic album yet. Lyrically, the CD examines the never-ending war between the sexes. Gentle, rolling first single, “Who Says” recalls Paul Simon.
“Good Evening New York City” (Hear Music/Concord) CD/DVD combo chronicles Macca’s two-night stand at New York’s Citi Field this past July. The set is also available in a 4-LP collection. Listen as the Beatle takes on Fab Four classics like “Back in the USSR” and “Paperback Writer,” as well as Wings standards like “Jet” and “Live and Let Die” as well as plenty of solo material. The next best thing to being there.
, “Waking Up” (Mosley Music Group/Interscope): Colorado-based rock group follows up its mega-hit “Apologize” from “Dreaming Out Loud” with this atmospheric, diverse collection that recalls the grand sweep of U2 or Coldplay. Leader Ryan Tedder shows that, despite the awesome success he’s experiencing as a songwriter for the likes of Leona Lewis, Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson, he’s saved plenty of big hooks and memorable choruses for OneRepublic.
, “Katy Perry: MTV Unplugged’ (Capitol): Pop singer/fashion plate Perry recorded this session live in New York on July 22. The CD/DVD features her unplugging to reinvent a number of her hits including “I Kissed a Girl,” and “Waking Up in Vegas,” as well as unveiling two new tunes, a cover of Fountains of Wayne’s “Hackensack” and previously unreleased original song “Brick By Brick.”
Them Crooked Vultures, “Them Crooked Vultures” (Interscope): Group extraordinaire composed of Foo Fighters/Nirvana’s Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones will rock you with such heavy tracks as “New Fang” and “Mind Eraser, No Chaser.”
Robbie Williams, “Reality Killed the Video Star” (Astralwerks): British superstar has never gotten much traction in the U.S., perhaps because of his cheeky sense of humor, but pop aficionados the world over love his smart, clever take. “Reality,” his first CD since 2006’s underperforming “Rudebox,” includes a song written as a tribute to Michael Jackson.