If there’s one thing TSJ knows, it’s good timing. Take this new feature, for example. After realizing that some of you reading this site may in fact listen to music from time to time, we decided to launch a weekly roundup of the best and worst new album releases of the week. A fine enough idea, we reckon. Too bad we decided to launch it during the first week of January, which is quite possibly the slowest week of the year for new music.
Most labels with albums scheduled for around this time generally make it a point to have those new albums ready in time for Christmas shopping, which makes perfect sense. After shelling out hundreds or even thousands on Christmas gifts for other people, most consumers are hesitant to hit their local record store (if one still exists in their area) and spend even more cash on something they can just as easily steal from the internet.
So, instead of looking at the dreadfully thin selection of new music out today, for this first installment of Weekly Release we’re taking a look back at some highlights from the month of December. Maybe you’ll find something worth picking up with the $20 you get back when you return that atrocious sweater your aunt bought you. And we swear to refrain from any references to Kanye West, for once. Everybody knows about that album by now.
Ghostface Killah – Apollo Kids
The Wu-Tang’s most entertaining MC has been busy as shit the past few years, and 2010 was no exception. Thankfully, Apollo Kids is a nice return to form after the R&B filled mess (yet awesomely titled) Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry. If you’re a fan of rap’s official Iron Man, as the universal laws of awesome state you should be, you won’t be disappointed.
Ryan Adams and The Cardinals – III/IV
Ryan Adams writes and records music at the same pace that most people brush their teeth. So it’s no surprise that when he and his former band, The Cardinals, hit the studio to record 2007′s Easy Tiger they came away from the sessions with enough material for a completely separate double album. What is surprising is that they opted to release the remarkably tame Easy Tiger at all, because the stuff on that extra double album, which was finally released under the title III/IV in December, is the good shit. In keeping with the Ryan Adams way, the album touches on genres ranging everywhere from metal to new wave to 70′s country…all while sounding like one big cohesive unit! Just joking, his shit never sounds cohesive. It’s still good times though.
Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (OST)
The original soundtrack to the oft-maligned but still kind of excellent Tron: Legacy wasn’t exactly what people were expecting from the world’s premier robot helmeted dance music duo, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Daft Punk purists might groan about the change in direction, and it’s certainly not the place to start if you’re looking for a good introduction to their music, but if you dug the music in the film (which was indeed a highlight), well, this is where you find it.
Michael Jackson – Michael
Ugh. This gets a mention here mostly out of respect for the man, but truth be told, there’s no way he would’ve let this sloppy collection of odds and ends see the light of day if he was still with us. Sure, it’s got some decent moments. But it also has moments where the studio trickery employed to make some of the songs “releasable” renders his voice damn near unrecognizable. Some of his family members have gone so far as to claim it’s not even him singing on some of the tracks. After hearing it, we can understand why they’d be skeptical. But still, we’ll take what we can get from MJ these days. Even if it’s way below his usual standards.
Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now
Laugh all you want, but this is far and away the best album Simon LeBon and company have released in a long, long time. At least that’s what our parents tell us.
Redman – Reggie
And finally, FINALLY, a new album from New Jersey’s finest—Reggie Noble. You might know him as Redman. We know him as the man who tops our list of people we’d most like to smoke a huge blunt with. If you only know Redman from his ghetto-tastic appearance on MTV’s Cribs or that atrocious How High movie from a few years back, do yourself a favor and pick this up. You’ll be glad you did.