Fat Tuesday Music: Avril Lavigne, Glee The Music Volume 5, R.E.M.
Lots of New Music to enjoy on Fat Tuesday so let’s jump right into it.
As Fat Tuesday 2011 commences and Mardi Gras is underway, there is tons of new music for your enjoyment. Today marks the release of Goodbye Lullaby by Avril Lavigne, Glee The Music Volume 5 by the cast of Glee and Collapse into Now by R.E.M. among various other releases. Lupe Fiasco and his album Lasers gets an honorable mention because the track “Words I Never Said” with Skylar Grey is pretty damn amazing.
Avril Lavigne’s new disc Goodbye Lullaby also hits shelves this week. In recent weeks I have been critical of Avril because the video for her first single from this record “What the Hell” is so packed full of product placements it feels like one big commercial, but I have to admit that Avril seems to be slowly finding her way back to what made her first couple of records really good. Avril is at her best when she is using her great voice to tell a story. When she allows herself to be swept away in the world of glitz and glam she gets lost in the wall of sound, but for at least half of this album she finds a way to look at herself and express emotion. The best songs here are the ones that were produced by her ex-husband Deryck Whibley. Oddly enough these songs were written and recorded after Lavigne and Whibley were divorced and they deal with loss, breaking up and starting over. Sometimes pain makes great art and I’m not sure how these two worked together, but it works. No, it isn’t Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, but there are moments here were Avril Lavigne lets her guard down and lets us see who she really is and they are very good.
Glee continues its dominance of the music world this week with Glee: The Music, Volume 5. This, as with the previous four volumes, is a collection of 16 different hit songs as performed on the TV show. Here they cover everyone from Queen with “Fat Bottomed Girls” to Katy Perry with “Firework.” This album also includes the songs that are on the most recent episode so you get three different songs that include Gwyneth Paltrow. It also includes the Glee cover of “Thriller” from their zombie/football Super Bowl special episode. The bottom line on this one is simple. If you are a Glee fan, you will love Glee The Music Volume 5. If you don’t know how to feel, you can always check out an episode of the TV show and see what you think first.
R.E.M. has released their first new album in three years with the flat out amazing Collapse into Now. Ever since Bill Berry left the band without a permanent drummer in 1997 the band has experimented with a few different sounds and has put out some good material, but there have also been some misses. Collapse into Now is simply their best record since Berry left (and I really liked Reveal). The band has found their snarl again and it seems like they rediscovered what made them the best band in the world for a long time which is to let Peter Buck do his thing and lay melodic, atmospheric layers of sound over Mike Mill’s always stalwart bass lines. Stipe is in fine form. His voice is still in good shape and he seems to have regained that energy and fire as a songwriter. This is a great record for any rock music fan. For an R.E.M. fan it is the phoenix rising from the ashes and telling the world they are still here, relevant and making music that most bands today could only dream of.
There are a few other big records out this week that are well worth mentioning. Billy Joel releases a 2 CD live album of his concert at Shea Stadium titled, Live at Shea Stadium. It is Joel doing what he does best in front a loving audience. He gets in many of his huge hit songs and is joined by Paul McCartney for a couple of Beatles covers. Also out this week is country star Sara Evens’ new album Stronger. This album has an upbeat tempo to it and is kind of a summer album meant to be played in the car with the windows down. One complaint some people have is that it is pretty short with a total running time of less than 35 minutes. Lastly this week we have Lupe Fiasco’s new album Lasers. Fiasco, as always, gets political, but not as political as he did on his last album. Lasers is more polished, futuristic and progressive in its sound. There are plenty of guests on this album including John Legend, MDMA, Trey Songz and hip hop’s current It Girl Skylar Grey on what is probably the album’s best track “Words I Never Said.” It is different and more out there that his last few records but Lupe is still one of the best in the game.
Other Articles You May Be Interested In: