Tori Amos, the Lemonheads, Janet Jackson
A five-CD boxset is more Tori Amos than you might want in one place, unless you’re a real Tori fan, in which case there can never be enough. Regardless, A Piano (Rhino) includes an overview of Amos’ career, as well as a few tempting rarities like the unedited version of “Crucify.” And I had no idea that the “Crucify” I’ve been listening to all these years was an edit.
Apparently someone at Arista Nashville wasn’t paying attention to the release schedule over at Virgin because both Janet Jackson and Alan Jackson have new ones on the shelves. Alan’s poetic Like Red on a Rose (Arista Nashville) was produced by Alison Krauss, which should confuse the hell out of all the alt-country folks who love Krauss and can’t stand Jackson. And Janet’s has about as many producers as it does tracks. . . that’s a bit of an exaggeration. She drew on the usual suspects — Jermaine Dupri, Johnta Austin, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis — to lay down the grooves on 20 Y.O. (Virgin). And the limited edition two-disc version comes with a DVD featuring the making of a video, a photo shoot, and other behind the scenes excitement. But no nipples. Sorry: that was a cheap shot.
It’s been ten years since Evan Dando recorded an album with a real band, but he’s dusted off his old Lemonheads moniker for a disc that promises to be tight as hell. That’s because the notoriously lazy Dando managed to convince Descendents no-bullshit (but plenty of fart jokes) drummer/songwriter/producer Bill Stevenson (along with his pall Karl Alvarez) to whip him into fighting shape. Ah, to be a fly on the wall in the studio session for the new The Lemonheads (Vagrant), with its cameos by J Mascis and Garth Hudson…
Ludacris is back, and he’s got producer Pharrell Williams on board and a guest cameo by R. Kelly to make sure he’s competing with Janet for the top spot in Billboard this week. Mary J. Blige’s guest spot on Release Therapy (Def Jam) ain’t half bad either. But Luda sounds so serious this time around — guess that’s part of getting older, if not wiser.
And nobody’s more psyched than Scissor Sisters about the two high profile guests they grabbed for the new Ta-Dah (Universal). That would be both Elton John, who co-wrote the first single (“I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’”), and Bryan Ferry, who shows up somewhere on this electro-pop dance-party confection. Actually, Elton John may be more psyched, but he’s got his own new album to worry about.
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