It’s Ladies Week as Katy Perry, Fantasia and the hippest of them all, Chrissie Hynde, release new albums on Tuesday, Aug. 24. The laser-beam focus is on Perry, with expectations running high for “Teenage Dream,” her follow up to 2008’s breakthrough, “One of the Boys.” Fantasia’s third album, “Back to Me,” has already spawned an R&B chart topper with “Bittersweet,” but Hynde is living the word with her new project, some of which details loving someone you can never have. The other top release is “Versus” from Usher, a nine-song set that serves as a companion to “Raymond Vs. Raymond.”
Eels, “Tomorrow Morning” (E Works): Band led by Mark Oliver Everett (aka E) releases the third effort in its trilogy that started with “Hombre Lobo” and then “End Times.” “Morning” mines the same topics of love, loss and redemption as the previous two.
Fantasia, “Back to Me” (J Records): “American Idol” winner returns with her third solo album and, for the most part, it’s a beauty, filled with retro-soul tracks that showcase her powerful, mellifluous voice. Read review here.
Fitz & the Tantrums, “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” (Dangerbird): L.A.-based retro, sharply-dressed soulsters Fitz & the Tantrums release their full-length debut full of old school, irresistible R&B and pop.
JP, Chrissie & the Fairground Boys, “Fidelity!,” (La Mina/Rocket Science): The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde pairs with Welsh musician JP Jones for a lovely, folk-based set that is anchored by the heartbreaking (and clearly autobiographical) “Perfect Lover,” about a woman who meets her soul mate, but they can’t be together because she’s too old to give him children. Did we mention that Hynde is around 60 and Jones probably half that?
Little Big Town, “The Reason Why” (Capitol Nashville): Underrated co-ed country foursome returns with another harmony-filled, melodic effort.
Katy Perry, “Teenage Dream” (Capitol): Is there any doubt that this will be a smash? Perry’s evolved into a full-fledged superstar since the release of 2008’s “One of the Boys,” and the first two singles from the new set, “California Gurls” and the title track, have already landed in the top 10. “Dream,” in the main, is more up-tempo than “One of the Boys.” Let the count begin for how many weeks it will log at No. 1. Read review here.
Usher, “Versus” (LaFace): The nine-song follow-up to “Raymond Vs. Raymond” includes hit “There Goes My Baby,” “DJ Got Us Falling in Love” featuring Pitbull and Usher’s collaboration with Jay-Z, “Hot Tottie,” as well as six other tracks such as a remix of “Somebody to Love” featuring Justin Bieber. Fans can buy “Versus” separately or bundled with “Raymond Vs. Raymond.”