Gucci Mane "The Appeal"
One of the most street-loved MCs in the game is back with a diamond-encrusted smile and his second in less than a year. The album's lead cut is "Gucci Time," produced by and features Swizz Beatz, who also does the same on "It's Alive." Its first track is the menacing production from Rodney Jerkins (Brandy, Ray J, Destiny's Child and, of course, Michael Jackson) who brings alarming horns fit for a gangster-flick soundtrack. It's raw, underground, its 'hood, but it's different. The Neptunes give Gucci a club bounce on "Haterade," a record about evolution and reflection in which Nicki Minaj raps during their first time together talking in depth on personal things. On "Grown Man," Mr. LaFlare enlisted guest singer Estelle to express his newfound growth and mental freedom.
Eric Clapton "Clapton"
This is Clapton's first studio release since 2005's "Back Home." It features some of the same participants of the previous release - including JJ Cale and Doyle Bramhall II, but the legendary guitar front/blues man's latest includes less original material. Clapton's ONLY songwriting contribution is "Run Back to Your Side." The rest of the program is given over to covers—by icons as diverse as Tin Pan Alley legend Irving Berlin and blues great Little Walter—plus "Diamonds in the Rain," a ballad penned by Bramhall, Justin Stanley (Mark Ronson, Beck) and neo-soul sensation Nikki Costa. That cut also features a cameo by Sheryl Crow, but she's not the only notable pitching in on "Clapton". Trombone Shorty, Allen Toussaint and Wynton Marsalis are on board, too.
Mark Ronson "Record Collection"
Mark Ronson has been one of those guys that's easy to hate on for some time now. His stepdad is Mick Jones of Foreigner, and he was modeling for Tommy Hilfiger and deejaying parties for celebs like Diddy when most of his peers were wrapping up their undergrad work. Nevertheless, Ronson has matured into a formidable producer with a resume that includes breakthrough albums for Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen. Like its predecessor, 2007's "Version," the new release ( credited to Mark Ronson and the Business Intl.) is heavily laden with guests, but they're not all contemporaries; in keeping with the disc's '80s electro vibe, contributors include Boy George and Nick Rhodes and Simon LeBon from Duran Duran. Also on board are rappers Q-Tip and Ghostface Killah, while songwriting assistance is provided by Cathy Dennis (Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head"), Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears, and Nick Hodgson of Kaiser Chiefs.
Kenny Chesney "Hemingway's Whiskey"
Chesney is a relentless touring machine, and not a year has passed since 2002 that he hasn't walked off with major awards from CMT, CMA and ACM. (Oddly enough, although five of his last six albums have topped the Billboard charts, he's never snagged a Grammy Award.) Chesney finally took a year off from concert treks, and returns refreshed with this latest release. The album gleans its title from a Guy Clark song, although Chesney adds that he's also a fan of both the literature and lifestyle associated with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author. In addition to his recent single, "The Boys of Fall," which the singer says perfectly captures the vibe of his Eastern Tennessee adolescence, Chesney's fourteenth studio album also includes a duet with George Jones on a remake of "Small Y'all," which will hopefully introduce some new, younger listeners to the man considered the greatest male vocalist of country's Golden Age.
Bad Religion "The Dissent of Man"
Who would have thought that Bad Religion would still be getting it on later in their years. Their new release is produced by Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool) and marks the seminal punk band's 30th anniversary! Thirty?! But that doesn't mean they're conducting business as usual. Some of the bean members feel that the last couple of records have been amongst their most conservative and have never strayed too far from the Bad Religion sound. the band tells EW News that on this release, they're taking the songs to a lot of different places, exploring their influences and trying out some new things in a way we haven't done in years." In addition to the album and the publication of Greg Graffin's new autobiography, "Anarchy Evolution," the band is also celebrating with an extended North American tour.
Phil Collins " Going Back "
Phil Collins has seen so much success and has definitely put out just about any type of album a man of many talents can possibly put out - solo or with a band. In the '80s, audiences worshipped Collins as a god. Between 1984 and 1990, he racked up 13 Top 10 hits in the U.S. Subsequent decades haven't been quite so kind to the Genesis drummer, but his rehabilitation is well under way with "Going Back." Having shored up his solo career early with his 1982 rendition of the Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love," Collins now revisits his youthful love of R&B. Accompanied by a small combo that features members of Motown house band the Funk Brothers, Collins runs through 18 tunes made famous by acts like the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, and penned by such greats as Goffin & King, Holland-Dozier-Holland, and Norman Whitfield.
Marcy Playground "Indaba Remixes from Wonderland"
Other New Releases Worth Checking Out:
(Have not listened to, but please feel free to post a review)
- Ben Folds & Nick Hornby: "Lonely Island"
- Neil Young: "Le Noise"
- Deerhunter: "Halcyon Digest"