“Ghost Stories” is Chris Martin’s equivalent of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours,” Bob Dylan’s “Blood On the Tracks,” or Bruce Springsteen’s “Tunnel Of Love.”
There’s a bumper crop of albums coming this summer and fall, based on several new releases announced over the past 24 hours. Here’s a round-up of what’s coming soon listed chronologically:
Jason Mraz, “Yes,” July 15
The singer/songwriter has a knack for releasing songs that take up residency at radio and do not move, such as “I’m Yours” and “I Won’t Give Up.” The new album, his first since 2012, features Mraz teaming with Raining Jane for an acoustic, intimate set covering such topics as love, faith, healing, environmental stewardship. A tour kicks off in August. First single, "Love Someone," is out now.
"Yes" track listing:
2. Love Someone
3. Hello, You Beautiful Thing
4. Long Drive
6. Best Friend
8. Out Of My Hands
9. It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday
10. 3 Things
11. You Can Rely On Me
12. Back To The Earth
13. A World With You
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Hypnotic Eye,” July 29
TP&H return with their first album in four years and it will be a rocker, or so Petty told us when we interviewed him last month. All the cuts are upbeat rockers, Petty says. Furthermore, Rolling Stone described it as a “decisive return to the concise Sixties-rock classicism of his first great New Wave era albums. Look for the band to delve into the new material on a U.S. arena tour that starts Aug. 3 and features Steve Winwood as opening act.
Jenny Lewis, “The Voyager,” July 29
The beloved former Rilo Kiley and Watson Twin member’s third solo album, and first in six years, will be extremely personal. The set deals with the death of her estranged stepfather and the death of Rilo Kiley. Among the producers on the set, are Ryan Adams, Beck, Johnathan Rice , and Mike Viola. "Making The Voyager got me through one of the most difficult periods of my life," said Riley, who took off 2013 from writing to tour with the Postal Service. "After Rilo Kiley broke up and a few really intense personal things happened, I completely melted down. It nearly destroyed me. I had such severe insomnia that, at one point, I didn't sleep for five straight nights. Many of the songs on The Voyager came out of the need to occupy my mind in the moments when I just couldn't shut down.”
The Voyager track listing:
She's Not Me
Just One Of The Guys
You Can't Outrun 'Em
The New You
Aloha & The Three Johns
Love U Forever
Maroon 5, “V,” Sept. 2
Adam Levine-led group’s fifth album promises to be a strong hooky pop/rock outing with producers Max Martin, Benny Blanco, Ryan Tedder, Shellback and Sam Martin onboard. Following Levine’s joining “The Voice” as a judge, the band has a bit of a resurgence with 2012’s “Overexposed,” which included hits “One More Night,” “Payphone,” “Love Somebody” and “Daylight.” Jesse Carmichael, who took a hiatus for a few years, rejoins the band. First single coming this summer.
The Madden Brothers, "Greetings From California...," Oct. 7
So Good Charlotte is apparently no more for real. Joel and Benji Madden, the only members of Good Charlotte we bet you can name, have formed a new a band, the cleverly titled Madden Brothers, and moved to Capitol Records. First single, "We Are Done," comes out June 2. The album features two sides: The first side is sunny, upbeat pop rock, produced by Eric Valentine, while side two is more acoustic, Southern, retro '70s rock, produced by Joe Chiccarelli.
Counting Crows, “Somewhere Under Wonderland,” Fall 2014
The Adam Duritz-led band, which has been somewhat M.I.A. since 2008’s “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings,” comes back with a new album and a new label home this fall Until then, the band will be on tour June through August.
How long before we let Michael Jackson rest in peace? Not until the last bit of money has been made from his corpse, apparently.
Commerce dictates that as long as there is any demand for Jackson, in any form, that the estate continues to keep him in the public eye.
That’s what I thought as I watched a hologram of Jackson “perform” “Slave To The Rhythm,” a previously unreleased song “contemporized” for his new album “Xscape,” on the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night.
Yes, there was at first an undeniable thrill to seeing Jackson, even if it was a hologram, dance across the floor again in those moves that we all grew up with, that we know by heart (performed by a "Dangerous"-era Jackson before his looks totally got scary). It's just human nature to yearn for what we miss. There was also awe at the technology that made the very lifelike hologram possible (it seems like tremendous advances have been made even since the Tupac hologram appeared at Coachella two years ago).
But then a certain creepiness set in. With every close up, it was clear that, of course, it was not really Michael Jackson. It was a Michael Jackson created in a laboratory and, like a clone, as close as it seemed to the real thing, it was, in actuality, very far from it. No soul, no heart.
As the Jacko-gram danced with real flesh and blood dancers, the disparity became even greater, but it almost feels like it’s too late to put the hologram back in the bottle.
How long before the Jackson estate and Sony announce that the Jacko-gram is going on tour? Or that the Jacko-gram is being added into Cirque du Soleil’s Jackson salute, “Immortal?” Or, heaven forbid, appearing in a commecial outing some product? We can almost write the script—it will be done under the guise of introducing Jackson to a younger audience and to those who weren't ever able to see him live. (Guess what? You still won't be seeing him life!) As the technology advances to make holograms more lifelike, the demand for them will grow, just as our nostalgia does with each year following Jackson’s 2009 passing.
Friday night, a friend asked if I thought it was exploitative for Epic to release “Xscape.” He brought up this piece by Savage Garden’s Darren Hayes, who expressed his dismay over the album and that, although he loved Jackson, he wouldn’t be buying “Xscape.” In fact, his love for Jackson was exactly why he couldn’t support the new effort because there was no way of knowing if Jackson would have approved of his unfinished work being released, not only in this manner, but released at all.
He has a point. The eight songs on “Xscape” were written as far back as 30 years ago, and for whatever reason, Jackson decided not to put them on the album, leaving all of them unfinished. That means at some point, Jackson chose to focus on other material that he felt was better and more appropriate for his current project at the time. The versions that we hear on “Xscape” aren’t his vision for the songs, they are someone else’s guess at how Jackson would have completed the song.
To be sure, there have been other cases where previously unreleased material by a deceased artist has come out— again, Tupac comes to mind here. But for someone who was as much of a perfectionist as Jackson, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that maybe these songs were put aside for a reason and maybe they should have been left that way, despite whatever enjoyment we may get from hearing them unearthed. Plus, Jackson left enough great material behind for his legacy to be ensured.
Hayes went so far as to alter his will so that after he dies, his half-finished material will not be released (he writes this with total humility and in no way is ever comparing himself to Jackson).
Are we at the point where every artist with any commercial value needs to decide how his/her image/music can be used after death…and somehow figure out a way to include technologies that we can’t even dream of yet?
The answer is yes, especially when there’s money to be made. The Jackson Family’s failed suit against AEG, even though there may have been some validity, felt more like a money grab than a case of true wrongful death.
So five years after his death, as Jackson’s “Xscape” most likely bows at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Jacko-gram ignites endless possibilities, I can’t help but think that Jackson is spinning in his grave, wishing that for all the work he had his lawyers do for him, he'd asked them to address this issue.
The idea of Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, two of country’s most dynamic artists, performing a duet at the Billboard Music Awards had such promise.
A hologram of Michael Jackson moondanced across the stage during a performance of "Slave To the Rhythm," a song featured on Jackson's new "Xscape" album, during the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night in what is sure to be the show's water cooler moment.
Beyonce and Jay Z’s famous friends, Sean Penn, Don Cheadle, Blake Lively, Emily Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Guillermo Diaz, and others, star is what has to be the most elaborate promotional tour video ever created.
For the first time in months, “Frozen” will not be in the No. 1 or 2 spot on the Billboard 200 next week.
Instead, “Xscape,” a posthumous Michael Jackson album featuring ‘’contemporized” versions of eight previously unreleased Jackson cuts, is in a dead heat with The Black Keys’ “Turn Blue” for the top spot. Both are slated to sell up to 155,000, according to Hits Daily Double. Read our review of “Xscape” here and of “Turn Blue” here.
If Jackson comes in on top, it will be his first No. 1 album released since his death: "Michael," released in 2011, debuted and peaked at No. 3. If The Black Keys prevail, it will be their first No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
They join four other debuts in the Top 10: Rascal Flatts’ “Rewind” will likely bow at No. 5 (60,000), Dolly Parton’s “Blue Smoke” at No. 4 (40,000), Tori Amos’ “Unrepentant Geraldines” at No. 8 (19,000) and Michael W. Smith’s “Glory” at No. 10 (17,000)
This week’s No. 1 set, “Now That’s What I Call Music 50,” drops to No. 3 (80,000), while “Frozen” drops to a number it hasn’t see in an ice age: No. 4 (70,000).
Hunter Hayes’ “Storylines” drops to No. 7 (21,000), and Pharrell Williams’ “G I R L” to No. 9 (17,000).
Jack White’s “Just One Drink” is a barreling, country-tinged rock and roller.
Mariah Carey debuted a new song, “You Don’t Know What To Do,” featuring Wale, today on “Today.”
Arcade Fire’s video for “We Exist” is a moving, if sometimes heavy handed, look at our universal desire to be loved for who we are.