Well, Axl Rose didn't make good on his holiday promise: delivering Chinese Democracy before the end of the year. But a few artists — and by "few" we mean "not many" — are rushing in their efforts before last call ends in 2006. Omarion, Matisyahu, Switchfoot and the rest of the Forget-Me-Nots are hoping you haven't put your year-end top-10 lists in ink just yet.
But while those artists will be duking it out in the CD racks this week, expect another item to soak up a lot of the attention: Good Charlotte's "Fast Future Generation" DVD. The band is hoping consumers pick up the long-awaited flick when they make their post-Christmas returns Tuesday (December 26) — after all, fans have been waiting for the film since it premiered at Sundance way back in January.
While we won't know for another week who's going to be entering 2007 with a smile and who'll be mumbling "good riddance, 2006" under their breath, we do have some new year's resolutions to offer each of them:
Good Charlotte's "Fast Future Generation" DVD: No, this isn't their take on "Fast Food Nation" — it's a rockumentary immortalizing the band's 12-day tour through Japan in September 2005. Stitching together concert footage with the Madden brothers and the gang on the streets of Tokyo and beyond, the DVD was directed by Nylon magazine Editor in Chief Marvin Scott Jarrett. Featured songs include "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," "The Anthem" and "Predictable," sung in Japanese.
New Year's Resolution: Get that Good Morning Revival LP out in March — with or without exclamation point.
Omarion's 21: The gist of the ex-B2K singer's new LP is that he's all grown up, but there's actually a second implication to the title: It's the highest number in blackjack, a game the classily dressed O appears ready to play on the album cover. Pre-release contests involved a phone call from O and autographed copies of the CD, but everyone will be able to enjoy production by Pharrell and Bryan-Michael Cox, as well as songs like "Made for TV," "Ice Box" and "What Are We Doing."
New Year's Resolution: Don't forget to bring copies of 21 on the road during the Scream Tour with Yung Joc and Ne-Yo.
Matisyahu's No Place to Be: If Israel is no place to be, then why are you releasing a CD/DVD package immortalizing your concert there? Why, Matis, why? Well, actually, the audio portion of the set encompasses four new studio recordings and three fresh remixes, while the 90-minute video has a show shot in Tel Aviv coupled with interviews and street performances the Hasidic MC staged in Jerusalem. The CD boasts a few production luminaries too: dance-hall kings Sly & Robbie, avant-garde master Bill Laswell and even a remix churned out by Texas' esteemed Swishahouse rap label.
New Year's Resolution: Maintain kitsch factor while not becoming a jam-band-festival mainstay and addressing the Israel/Palestine conflict without ticking too many people off. Now that's called walking a tightrope.
Switchfoot's Oh! Gravity: "Like a puppet on a monetary string/ Maybe we've been caught singing/ Red, white, blue and green/ But that ain't my American dream." That's not a bad stanza from singer/songwriter Jon Foreman, and one you'll hear on "American Dream," featured on his band's sixth LP. The San Diego quartet is hoping production by Tim Palmer (U2, Pearl Jam), executive production by Steve Lillywhite (U2, Dave Matthews Band) and songs like "Faust, Midas, and Myself" and "Burn Out Bright" do the trick.
New Year's Resolution: Stay spiritual but distance themselves from soft Christian artists like Matt Redman and Steven Curtis Chapman, who also have LPs dropping this week. This is another tightrope, albeit a slightly thicker one thanks to the success of acts like P.O.D.
Various artists' The Family Values Tour 2006: Feeling Korny? Look no further than the CD and DVD surrounding this year's umpteenth metal festival, which features them alongside loud-rocking partners Deftones, Flyleaf, Deadsy, 10 Years, Dir en Grey and Stone Sour. The CD features those much-discussed guest-vocal appearances paid by Deftones' Chino Moreno, Stone Sour's Corey Taylor and Army of Anyone's Robert Patrick during Korn's sets, while the DVD chips in dressing-room footage, bandmember chats and outtakes.
New Year's Resolution: Perform in an airborne jet. Get a street named after them. Record "Unplugged." Oh wait, they did all that this year. New resolution: Get some rest.
N.W.A's - The Best of N.W.A: The Strength of Street Knowledge: Seventeen classics by the trailblazing rappers are cobbled together to celebrate the group's 20th anniversary. But the real news here is the deluxe edition: It's hitched with a bonus DVD corralling unreleased interviews with Ice Cube and DJ Yella, not to mention a spicy unissued clip capturing Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Yella and MC Ren arguing in the studio. Videos and "street" versions of four tracks cap off the disc.
New Year's Resolution: Go spelunking for more unreleased songs to tack onto future collections and reissues.
Various artists' 15 Years on Death Row: Tangentially related to the above — both packages feature epistles by noted writer Soren Baker — this one culls 13 previously released tracks by Tupac, Snoop and Dr. Dre. The deluxe version of this release also has a DVD, but all 14 clips have already seen the light of day.
New Year's Resolution: See above.
Gang Starr's Mass Appeal: The Best of Gang Starr: Also featuring notes by Baker and also available in deluxe form with a DVD, this set pulls together two songs originally released on soundtracks, so there's at least something rare here. The DVD has 11 videos by the hip-hop duo.
New Year's Resolution: Sigh — see above again.
Incognito's Bees + Things + Flowers: Just when you thought there wasn't any lovin' left for acid jazz ... London's long-running jazz/soul/funk project sinks its teeth into songs by Earth, Wind & Fire, Roy Ayers and America this time around, chalking up three new songs and fresh versions of four vintage Incognito tracks while they're at it. A 16-piece string section ices the cake.
New Year's Resolution: Try not to be so incognito.
Song Title of the Week:
"Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" from Matt Redman's Beautiful News
· Incognito - Bees + Things + Flowers (Narada Jazz)
· Matisyahu - No Place to Be (with DVD of live material; Epic/Or/J-Dub) [Buy Now]
· Omarion - 21 (Epic/ Sony Urban) [Buy Now]
· Matt Redman - Beautiful News (Sparrow)
· Switchfoot - Oh! Gravity (Columbia) [Buy Now]
· Various artists - The Family Values Tour 2006 (Firm)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· Steven Curtis Chapman - Now & Then (Sparrow)
· Barbara Cook - Legends of Broadway (Sony Classics)
· Earth, Wind & Fire - Beautiful Ballads (Columbia/Legacy)
· Enigma - Love Sensuality Devotion: The Remix Collection (Virgin/ EMI Music Catalog Marketing)
· Gang Starr - Mass Appeal: The Best of Gang Starr (deluxe edition with DVD also available; Capitol/ EMI Music Catalog Marketing)
· John Hammond - Southern Fried (Water)
· Julio Iglesias - Romantic Classics (Burgundy)
· Gladys Knight - Beautiful Ballads (Columbia/Legacy)
· Isley Brothers - Beautiful Ballads, Vol. 2 (T-Neck/Legacy)
· Patti LaBelle - Beautiful Ballads (Epic/Legacy)
· Angela Lansbury - Legends of Broadway (Sony Classics)
· N.W.A - The Best of N.W.A: The Strength of Street Knowledge (deluxe version with DVD also available; Capitol/Priority) [Buy Now]
· O'Jays - Beautiful Ballads (Epic/Legacy)
· Bernadette Peters - Legends of Broadway (Sony Classics)
· Chita Rivera - Legends of Broadway (Sony Classics)
· Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble - The Real Deal Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Epic/ Sony Legacy)
· Various artists - 15 Years on Death Row (two CDs; version with DVD also available; Death Row)
· Various artists - Rocky Balboa: The Best of Rocky (Capitol)
· Good Charlotte - "Fast Future Generation" (Epic/Daylight)
· Guns N' Roses - "DVD Collector's Box" (MVD Video)
· Various artists - "The Family Values Tour 2006" (Firm)
· Carly Simon - Into White (Columbia)
· Unwritten Law - The Hit List (Rocket Science) [Buy Now]
· Various artists - L-Tunes: Music From and Inspired by "The L-Word" (Columbia)
· Green Day - 1,039/ Smoothed Out Slappy Hours (enhanced; Reprise) and Kerplunk (Reprise) [Buy Now]
· Mario - Go! (J) [Buy Now]
· Mos Def - Tru3 Magic (Geffen) [Buy Now]
· America - Here & Now (Burgundy)
· The Smithereens - Meet the Smithereens! (Koch)
· Various artists - "Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls" soundtrack (Atlantic)