New Music Tuesday: Avril Lavigne, Kanye West, Social Distortion
Today marks new music today and we have singles by Avril Lavigne, Kanye West and Jay-Z along with a new album by Social Distortion.
Now that we are leaving the holidays behind we are starting to see more and more new music getting released. Among the big things this week we have a couple of singles. First off are Kanye West and Jay Z with the first release from their upcoming collaboration album called “H.A.M.” The song is pretty interesting musically, but lyrically it is mostly the two bragging about how great they are and isn’t that impressive. Still, it does have its moments and shows that their album could be cool. “H.A.M” was actually released last week, but it kind of got lost in the madness of Britney Spears’ new single “Hold it Against Me.” The other big single is Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell.” It is basically Avril doing what Avril does. It is kind of a rock/pop song finding Avril just wanting to have a good time. If you like Avril, you will love it.
In new albums The Decemberists new album The King is Dead is out this week. The King is Dead might be the best album in what has been a good career with some great songs. This album shrugs off the more theatrical feel of their last two records and finds the band doing what they do best which is a stripped down form or ALT country rock that seems like the bastard child of REM and Wilco. Singer Colin Meloy is in fine form here as he weaves the band’s tales of romance, tragedy and hope. It is a very good record by what is becoming and great band.
Social Distortion were one of the biggest, most well-known and celebrated post-punk bands of their era and now they’re back with a new album that finds them a little bit mellowed, but still angry. Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is their first album since 2004 and while there is plenty of punk left in the gas tank you can tell the guys have aged and now are dealing with a different kind of angst. Gone is the anger of youth. It has been replaced by wrestling with mortality and fearing that they have lost their edge. It is that honesty that makes the record great. Mike Ness’ voice is somehow still working and after all these years has gone from the gravelly caterwaul of his youth to a strong, smoky foghorn. If you were a fan of Social D as a kid, give this one a try. It is different, but it is still good.
There are also a few other things released this week that deserve a quick shout out. James Blunt has a new record called Some Kind of Wonderful. This album finds Blunt happy and singing more upbeat songs. If you are a fan of his, you should enjoy this one. Pearl Jam has a live album called Live on Ten Legs. I have seen them live several times and for my money Pearl Jam is one of the best live bands you will ever see. This album features 18 different tracks taken from various tours. Featuring some hits and some harder to find live tracks it is a great snapshot of an amazing band doing what they do best. Last up is Greg Allman’s new album Low Country Blues. It is Allman’s first solo record in 14 years and it finds him in the studio with legendary producer T Bone Burnett covering blues songs from fellow legendary singers like Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Otis Rush and more. Allman’s voice is still as smooth as a nice swallow of brandy and his passion for these songs and the blues really shines through.
That about does it for this week. See you next week and happy listening.
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