rolling stone just recently released their spring album preview, and there are quite a few albums coming out that make me very excited about the next few months for music. here are the ones that seemed most notable to me:
1. madonna – hard candy (4/29)
this seemed notable to me, but only because of my last blog. 11th studio album? really? come on madge. you’ve been around since the early 80s. your career is over 20 years old, which in terms of regular careers is like 80 years old. much too old in my opinion. she should be done.
that being said, madonna did do it right this time, getting hit-maker pharrell to produce near half of the album. she nailed her collabs too, my goodness did she ever. justin timberlake, timbaland, kanye? get out of here. after i listened to 4 minutes, the first single off the album, i thought “hm that’s a cool timbaland song. too bad madonna’s on it.” but according to pharrell, “it’s like a sex and workout album.” outstanding. hearing pharrell say something like that can only make me excited. i love pharrell as a musician and a singer, but he blows me away as a producer. so i’m torn on this album.
2. the roots – rising down (4/29)
madonna releases her 11th and i say be done. the roots release their 10th and i say please don’t stop. it’s not even that i’m a huge roots fan, to be honest, i would just barely say i’m a fan. i only know like one of their albums semi-well at all, but what i do know is that they put out socially conscious rap, in the vein of a tribe called quest and de la soul and all those early 90s culturally relevant artists. that’s so lacking in today’s hip-hop. and musically, they’re light years more advanced than so many of the drum machine-philes in rap music today. and i’m inclined to be a supporter of anything ?uestlove has a hand in. more on him later.
19. al green – lay it down (5/27)
again, another oldie releasing somewhere around his 30th album. that’s insane. but i am absolutely amped about this one. this could very well be the first purchase i make once i get back into the states. what a great welcome home present. i’m psyched about this album because first of all, have you ever heard “let’s stay together”? one of the sexiest tunes i’ve ever heard. along with every other tune off let’s stay together, i’m still in love with you, and call me. al green’s voice just oozes soul and and production by ?uestlove, there is a 0.001% chance this album could flop. there is a much greater chance that this will be the best album by al green in decades, especially with ?uestlove saying, “we found the formula for getting the fireworks out of him.” watch out unsuspecting public.
29. jason mraz – we sing. we dance. we steal things. (5/13)
aside from the few moments when he mentions radio singles in his radio singles and ups the cheese factor, i really like jason mraz. dude’s got one of the best voices around, so smooth, and his arrangements are very often gorgeous. i’m holding out hope for another solid album from him.
35. coldplay – viva la vida or death and all his friends (6/17)
weird title. awesome band. this album could definitely go either way, especially when phrases like “broaden their palette” and “helping the band leave its comfort zone” are thrown around. but i’ve got faith in coldplay. they changed enough with each album since parachutes, i’m sure whatever they’ve got planned for this 4th album will be great.
39. weezer – weezer (6/17)
are you kidding me? ever since weezer’s self-titled debut (i really think a band should limit the number of albums after themselves, rather than THREE, which is half weezer’s catalogue.) in ’96, critics and fans alike have been waiting for them to release another one that would match the naive quality of that first one. they never have. and they’ve tried like seven times, and got close only once. this is a great example of another band that should’ve packed it in a long time ago. from rolling stone: “the probable first single, ‘pork and beans,’ was inspired by a record-company meeting where the band was told it needed to record more-commercial material. ‘i came out of it pretty angry,” [lead singer] cuomo says. ‘but ironically, it inspired me to write another song.'” rivers is angry because somebody doesn’t like his music and it inspires him to write more crap. what’s new.
43. n.e.r.d. – seeing sounds (6/10)
i can think of almost no better way to kick off a summer than a new n.e.r.d. record. especially one described as “auditory red bull” by producer/singer/musician extraordinaire pharrell williams. their last album fly or die was insanely good and was my summer ’04 album. it will be great to see if they pull it off again. i don’t have many doubts though. when chad huge and pharrell come together as producers and band members, magic happens. the 15 seconds or so that i’ve heard of the first single “everybody nose” is way different but sounds awesome. i’m excited.
56. ben folds – as-yet-untitled (august)
there’s hardly any information given about this new set from piano man ben folds, but that doesn’t matter. ben folds will deliver. whether it was with ben folds five, his first two solo albums, or his production credits on other people’s albums (see the great has been by william shatner.), ben folds does no musical wrong. it’ll be great to hear new stuff after nearly three years.
what a spring/summer huh? three albums i’m absolutely ecstatic about, and a couple others that will almost certainly be great, and then a few that’ll probably suck. what a powerhouse trio though for the summer, al green/coldplay/n.e.r.d. the summer cannot get here fast enough.