After the debacle that was last week’s premier of Weekly Release, which you might remember was completely railroaded by a total lack of new music, we had high hopes that things would go a bit smoother this week. We were wrong. There was certainly a slightly larger slate of new albums to choose from, but not much anyone would care about. Nevertheless, here is your Weekly Release for the second week of January, 2011.
Avril Lavigne – “What the Hell” (single)
Do you know someone who gets paid to write about music? If so, have they ever reviewed an Avril Lavigne record and referred to it as “punk” in any way, shape or form? If so, find that person and punch them in the sternum. They deserve it. No matter how many studded bracelets she wears, it will never change one basic fact…Avril Lavigne is a pop singer. Always has been, always will be. There’s no need to pretend otherwise.
To her credit, it’s been a long time since Avril herself put up any airs of being the punk princess she’s so often wrongly labeled as. Her new single, “What the Hell,” doesn’t do much to alter that course. It sounds a lot like the result of a boardroom meeting with a bunch of record company execs who spent four hours trying to figure out how to recapture the magic of that gigantic “Girlfriend” song she released a few years ago. In fact, for all intents and purposes, it’s the exact same song. It’s not a horrible song, assuming it’s the type of thing you’re into. But it’s not going to earn her any extra “punk” cred anytime soon.
Cake – Showroom of Compassion
Speaking of things that never change, Cake has a new album out today. These guys haven’t altered their sound in the slightest since the burst onto the scene in the mid-90′s, so if you’re expecting them to reinvent the wheel on Showroom of Compassion, you’re in for a major disappointment. On the flip side of that, if you love Cake (the band, not the tasty dessert treat, please pay attention) then you’ll love this album as much as any other. It doesn’t sound unlike anything else they’ve released before, but Cake doesn’t really sound like anyone else, so it’s hard to fault them for it.
Lil’ Wayne – “6 Foot 7″ (single)
We inexplicably left this out of last week’s rundown of the best new music of December. Lil’ Wayne’s first new single (official single, anyway, he’s probably released 600 songs on the internet since he came home) is a pretty obvious attempt to capture the hearts of people who fawned over “A Milli.” And, well, mission accomplished. It’s good shit.
The Decemberists – “Row Jimmy” (single)
The Decemberists appear to be headed down a dusty road that leads to their new album, The King is Dead, being a pretty vast, country-rock sounding departure from the big word laden R.E.M. tributes they’ve been cranking out for years now. But if this Grateful Dead cover is any indication, the new sound suits them remarkably well. Don’t be fooled by the easy to understand lyrics though. Like we said, this is a cover. Once the new album drops next week, it’s probably a good idea to have a Merriam-Webster’s on hand to follow along.
Britney Spears – “Hold it Against Me” (single)
Yep, the world’s preeminent pop music head case is back at it. It’s Britney, bitch! The response to this new single has been ridiculously positive. Did you know 2007′s Blackout album was one of the most influential pop albums of the last five years? Yeah, we didn’t either, but Rolling Stone thinks so. As for “Hold it Against Me,” the opinions are similarly over the top. Give it a listen and judge for yourself.