Sean Lennon | Friendly Fire | Capitol | Now here’s a guy who can afford to take a decade between albums. (In fact it’s been only eight.) He’s still friends with the Cibo Matto gals — Yuka Honda’s one of several guests. And he’s got pop impresario Jon Brion on board, along with drummer Matt Chamberlain, Paul Simon’s son Harper, and girl-about-Manhattan Bijou Phillips, whose dad was famous too.
THE PROGRAM: Expect all those nice little neo-psychedelic studio touches and songs with solid hooks and choruses on Beck’s The Information.
Robert Pollard | Normal Happiness | Merge | The funny thing is, Pollard is already reported to be at work on his next solo album. It seems he’s still guided by those voices that keep telling him to write songs. And he still manages to sound great doing it. The problem is, I’m now like three albums behind.
Rod Stewart | Still the Same . . . Great Rock and Roll Hits of Our Time | J | Let’s give old Rod the Mod a little round of applause for not trying to write any new material. There’s plenty out there for him to put his distinctive pipes to, and he does just that here, with John Fogerty’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” Dylan’s “If Not for You,” and, you got it, Bob Seger’s “Still the Same.”
Young Jeezy | Thug Motivation 102 | Def Jam | The question is, can Kanye West, Timbaland, Scott Storch, and, of course, Pharrell Williams finally make this Atlanta rapper as household a name as Nelly?
Badly Drawn Boy | Born in the U.K. | SL/Astralwerks | Damon Gough has always just been a little too British in his incarnation as Badly Drawn Boy. He doesn’t appear to have any intention of changing that here, but there are always a few Anglophiles in the house.
Diddy | Press Play | Bad Boy/Warner Bros. | When you have everyone who’s anyone on speed dial, this is the kind of album you can make: Kanye West and Pharrell Williams producing and Mary J. Blige, Big Boi, a Pussycat Doll, and a dirrrty Christina Aguilera all making cameos.
Jeremy Enigk | World Waits | Lewis Hollow/Reincarnate | Former Sunny Day Real Estate frontman Jeremy Enigk has gone the solo route before. And as indulgent as his Return of the Frog Queen might have been, it was also arresting and full of big-voiced, tortured-guy hooks. Plus, Enigk has the voice to pull it off. If emo were good, then this would be emo.
The Slits | Revenge of the Killer Slits | SAF | Finally, a genuine punk-rock reunion album. (Well, actually an EP.) And it features a Sex Pistol (Paul Cook), an Adam’s Ant (Marco Pirroni), and Clash guitarist Mick Jones’s daughter Lauren. Does this mean it’s respectable to be punk now?
Squarepusher | Hello Everything | Warp | That “everything” doesn’t refer to the kitchen sink. Everything else, however, is fair game when Squarepusher gets going with his cut-and-paste drum ’n’ bass deconstructions. That’s what makes it so much fun . . . that and watching people try to dance to it.