Happy International Phone Dictionary Day! Here's the 411 on this week's New Releases ...
All About Her: Not many 27-year-olds can say they've single-handedly sold 20 million albums worldwide and racked up nine Grammy Awards. But Alicia Keys can. Still, the singer/songwriter is only three albums into her career, so she's still got some searching to do. As she recently told MTV News, her new album, As I Am, chronicles her attempt at "becoming a better person." Keys had a hand in writing each song that appears on the disc, with John Mayer, Linda Perry and others stepping up with a few assists. And fans might want to go the iTunes route, as that edition of As I Am comes with two bonus tracks: "Waiting for Your Love" and "Hurt So Bad."
Soul Survivor: Keys also said, in a recent press release, that her new album is "Janis Joplin meets Aretha Franklin," and fittingly, the Queen of Soul returns this week too. Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets With the Queen doesn't involve Miss Alicia, but with two new duets — with John Legend and Fantasia — placed alongside vintage collaborations with Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston and others, the disc certainly lives up to its title.
A Younger Look: Like Aretha, Duran Duran are looking outward to give their new music some fresh new appeal — the new-wave pioneers are aiming for a younger demo by tapping Justin Timberlake, and producers Timbaland and Danjahandz, for their new album. Red Carpet Massacre was finished after guitarist Andy Taylor split from the band for the second time, in 2005, and for more on the making of the disc, look no further than the bonus DVD that comes with deluxe editions of the package. It also features extra artwork, a 16-page foldout booklet and, for what it's worth, a press badge sticker.
Hives Break Out: Timbaland almost doubled up on the rock this week, actually — he also recently teamed with the Hives, although none of their efforts came to fruition on the band's fourth studio LP, The Black and White Album. Still, the Swedes got their hip-hop fix by also partnering with Pharrell — as frontman Pelle Almqvist told MTV News a couple of months ago, the idea was "too interesting not to do it." "Well All Right!" and "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S." represent the Hives/Pharrell hookup, while The Black and White Album also features "Square One Here I Come," "You Dress Up for Armageddon" and more.
From the Cutting-Room Floor: The Killers have a secret weapon of their own this week in rock legend Lou Reed. The Las Vegas band took a gamble by holing up at a studio in New York's Hell's Kitchen, coaxing the hometown hero to come along for "Tranqulize," a song featured on the Killers' new odds-and-sods collection, Sawdust. The disc is saturated with additional unreleased leftovers from previous recording sessions, B-sides, soundtrack contributions and more.
Whole Lotta Led: With Led Zeppelin's reunion concert only a few weeks away, the rock gods are loading up the record bins with a pile of new releases. The best-of collection Mothership, a revitalized version of their concert flick "Song Remains the Same" and a two-CD deluxe edition of the soundtrack for it are all happening this week, in a bunch of different configurations. Devoted fans will want to get their hands on two collector's editions in particular: The Mothership one has a bonus DVD of live footage, from the 2003 "Led Zeppelin" DVD; and the limited-edition collector's version of the "Songs" DVD comes with the spiffed-up soundtrack, a vintage T-shirt, lobby cards and more.
Girls! Girls! Girls!: While Zeppelin's comeback has the rock masses frothing, bubble-gum pop fans are going gaga over the Spice Girls' new world tour!!!, which begins December 2 in Vancouver, British Columbia. In case its "girl power" theme didn't alienate all the guys out there, the group is making sure to do so by selling its new Greatest Hits collection exclusively at Victoria's Secret stores — well, until January 15, anyway, when bolstered editions of the album go into wide release. The Victoria's Secret version glistens with two newly recorded songs, the single "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)" and "Voodoo," and provides online access to three downloadable bonus remixes. Next year's deluxe edition will have a DVD with all the Girls' promo videos, while the gift-box version will also contain a karaoke disc and gift bracelet. All the more "power" to 'em.
Now Again: In the event that you have newer pop songs stuck in your head, you can listen to them to exhaustion via Now That's What I Call Music! 26, which is littered with the latest from Justin, Rihanna, Kanye, Fergie and other radio regulars. The Last Goodnight, Plain White T's and Daughtry, meanwhile, rep the rock on the 20-track disc.
A/V Center: If you're in the market for some smokin' concert DVDs instead of boring old straight CDs, this is your week.
· Shakira's "Oral Fixation Tour" set scoops up highlights from 17 shows on her recent worldwide trek of the same name, including performances of "Hips Don't Lie" with Wyclef Jean and "La Tortura" with Alejandro Sanz. The standard bonus CD has five of the songs from the video, while the one Wal-Mart is selling has two extra live tracks from the disc. The video also has a five-minute around-the-world-in-397-days clip as well as a feature that sheds light on Shakira's outreach efforts helping children in Colombia.
· From "health issues" to a pot bust to visa troubles to an alleged trial-fixing plot involving her husband, it's been a rough year for Amy Winehouse. But she's trying to underscore the high points with a new DVD that showcases her show at Shepherds Bush Empire earlier this year. "I Told You I Was Trouble: Live in London" — which has one of the more fitting titles in recent memory — also has an interview with her father, Mitch; a 50-minute documentary; additional unreleased performances; and behind-the-scenes clips.
· Winehouse isn't the only British star with big problems — just look at Pete Doherty. His Babyshambles also have a new DVD this week: "Live in Manchester," which captures one of the garage band's earliest concerts. The 90-minute disc finds Doherty dabbling with Libertines songs and other unreleased tracks, in addition to behind-the-scenes hijinks.
· And Eminem, who doesn't have all that much else in common with any of the artists mentioned above, is cleaning out his closet with a new concert DVD too: "Live in New York City." The hour-and-a-half disc immortalizes his 2005 Madison Square Garden gig, for which he was joined by D12, Obie Trice and Stat Quo. Among the 28 performances are "Evil Deeds," "Like Toy Soldiers" and a cover of Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang."
Song Title of the Week:
"Gummy From Bom Bom Bay" from Gummibär's I Am Your Gummy Bear
Album Cover of the Week:
The Dillinger Escape Plan's Ire Works
The mathcore band has been around for 10 years and released more than a half-dozen EPs in that time but, until now, has only had two full-lengths to its name. This effort is Dillinger's first without founding drummer Chris Pennie, who was later replaced by (+44) collaborator Gil Sharone, but they tried to meet their karma quota by roping in ex-bandmate Dimitri Minakakis for one of the tracks, "Horse Hunter." Mastodon guitarist/singer Brent Hinds also steps into the fold, performing vocals on "Fix Your Face," while the band barrels through "Milk Lizard," "When Acting as a Particle" and other tracks all by itself.
Wire's Read & Burn 03
Post-punk fans are probably finished reveling in Send, Wire's 2003 comeback album, but they'll be happy to know that the group is cranking out another release for next year. In the meantime, aficionados can tide themselves over with a 26-minute disc that has such unforgettable Wire lyrics as "Rhizomic gastropods interweave slender tails/ Grey hairs genuflect as perforated anarchists" (on "23 Years Too Late"). The disc also contains "Our Time," "No Warning Given" and "Desert Diving," and none of the songs will be resurfacing on next year's studio LP.
Brian Dewan's Words of Wisdom
This isn't your average singer/songwriter: The New Yorker is also a former furniture salesman; has made album art for Neutral Milk Hotel and They Might Be Giants; and also has an instrument to call his own — the analog "Dewanatron," which he created with his brother. Dewan also employed autoharp, electric zither, organ and the accordion for "The Devil Made Texas," "The Big Rock Candy Mountain," "Carve That Possum" and other folk compositions that appear on his latest disc.
· AFI - I Head a Voice: Live From Long Beach Arena (Interscope) [Buy Now]
· Automatic 7 - At Funeral Speed (enhanced; Mental)
· The Away Team - Training Day (Justus League)
· P.D.Q Bach - The Jekyll & Hyde Tour (Telarc)
· Bear Hands - Golden EP (Freedom in Exile)
· Boyz II Men - Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville (Decca) [Buy Now]
· Richard Cheese - Dick at Night: Your Favorite TV Themes Loungified! (Coverage)
· The Dan Band - A Dan Band Christmas: Ho (Reincarnate)
· Desperation Band - Everyone Overcome (Vertical)
· Brian Dewan - Words of Wisdom (Eschatone)
· The Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works (Relapse) [Buy Now]
· Celine Dion - Taking Chances (also available with DVD; Columbia)
· Dirty on Purpose - Like Bees (EP; North Street) [Buy Now]
· Duran Duran - Red Carpet Massacre (deluxe edition with DVD also available; Epic)
· Anna Egge - Lazy Days (Grace/Parkingsong)
· David Guetta - Pop Life (Perfecto/Ultra)
· Gummibär - I Am Your Gummy Bear (Gummybear International)
· The High Violets - Satellite Remixes (Reverberation)
· The Hives - The Black and White Album (A&M/Octone) [Buy Now]
· House & Parish - One, One-Thousand (EP; Arena Rock)
· Alicia Keys - As I Am (J) [Buy Now]
· Kiln - Dusker (Ghostly International)
· Living Hell - The Lost and the Damned (Revelation)
· Leigh Marble - Peep (Laughing Stock)
· Os Mutantes - Live (two CDs; Luaka Bop)
· Pantaleimon - Mercy Oceans (Jnana)
· Primes - Facades & Pink Forms (Postfact)
· Queensrÿche - Take Cover (Rhino)
· Seal - System (deluxe edition also available; Warner Bros.)
· Shaggy - Intoxication (VP) [Buy Now]
· Somobe - The Great Communication (Get'Em Productions)
· Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere in the Between (Victory) [Buy Now]
· James Taylor - One Man Band (with DVD; Hear Music)
· McCoy Tyner - Afro Blue (Telarc)
· Wire - Read & Burn 03 (Pink Flag)
· Trisha Yearwood - Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love (Big Machine)
· Various artists - Now That's What I Call Music! 26 (Capitol)
· Various artists - "August Rush" soundtrack (Sony Panosonic)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· The Black Crowes - Amorica; By Your Side; Greatest Hits 1990-1999: A Tribute to a Work in Progress ...; Three Snakes and One Charm; and enhanced versions of Shake Your Money Maker and The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (American) [Buy Now]
· Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - T.H.U.G.S. (Ruthless)
· Boys Like Girls - Boys Like Girls (deluxe-edition digipak with bonus CD; Columbia)
· Vashti Bunyan - Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind: Singles and Demos 1984 to 1987 (two CDs; Dicristina Stair)
· Johnny Cash - American III: Solitary Man; American Recordings; and Unchained (American) [Buy Now]
· Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson - VH1 Storytellers (American)
· Danzig - Danzig; Danzig II: Lucifuge; Danzig III: How the Gods Kill; Danzig 4; and Thrall - Demonsweatlive EP (American)
· Ian Dury and the Blockheads - The Best of Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (Great American Music)
· Aretha Franklin - Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets With the Queen (Arista) [Buy Now]
· The Goo Goo Dolls - Greatest Hits Volume One: The Singles (Warner Bros.)
· David Gray - Greatest Hits (ATO)
· Robyn Hitchcock - Black Snake Diamond Role, Eye and I Often Dream of Trains reissues; I Wanna Go Backwards five-CD box set (Yep Roc)
· John Lee Hooker - I'm John Lee Hooker (Shout! Factory)
· The Killers - Sawdust (Island) [Buy Now]
· LCD Soundsystem - 45:33 (DFA)
· Led Zeppelin - Mothership (two CDs; deluxe and collector's editions come with DVD; Atlantic/Rhino) and "The Song Remains the Same" soundtrack (two CDs; Atlantic/Rhino)
· Luciano Pavarotti - Arias by Verdi and Donizetti; Mamma; Mattinata; O Sole Mio; Passione; Pavarotti in Concert: The Studio Concert; Pavarotti: The Studio Albums (10-CD box set); Tenor Arias for Italian Opera; Verismo Arias; Volare; and The World's Favourite Tenor Arias (Decca)
· Jimmy Reed - Live at Carnegie Hall (Shout! Factory)
· Senses Fail - Still Searching (deluxe edition; with DVD; Vagrant)
· Spice Girls - Greatest Hits (available exclusively at Victoria's Secret stores until January 15, when it hits stores wide; Virgin) [Buy Now]
· Babyshambles - "Up the Shambles: Live in Manchester" (Eagle Vision)
· Bon Jovi - "Lost Highway: The Concert" (A&E Home Video) [Buy Now]
· Johnny Cash - "The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1976" and "1977" (Shout! Factory)
· Disco Biscuits - "Progressions: New Years 06/07 Concert Series" (two DVDs; TLA)
· Eminem - "Live From New York City" (Eagle Vision)
· Ghostland Observatory - "Live From Austin TX" (New West)
· Hellyeah - "Below the Belt" (Epic) [Buy Now]
· Led Zeppelin - "The Song Remains the Same - Collector's Edition" (limited collector's edition has bonus CD, vintage T-shirt and more; Warner Home Video)
· Paul McCartney - "The McCartney Years" (three DVDs; Rhino)
· Mika - "Live in Cartoon Motion" (Motown/Universal) [Buy Now]
· Shakira - "Oral Fixation Tour" (with CD; Epic) [Buy Now]
· Tina Turner - "Celebrate! The Best of Tina Turner" (Eagle Vision)
· Amy Winehouse - "I Told You I Was Trouble: Live in London" (Universal Republic) [Buy Now]
· Various artists - "Concert for Diana" (Shout! Factory)
· Maximilian Hecker - Live Radio Sessions (Kitty-Yo)
· Robyn Hitchcock - Groovy Decay (Yep Roc) [Buy Now]
· Monosylabikk - Rocks (Kitty-Yo)
· Rhythm King and Her Friends - The Front of Luxury (Kitty-Yo)
· Chris Robley - The Drunken Dance of Modern Man in Love (available on iTunes until January 8, when it also hits terrestrial stores; In Music We Trust)
· Viva Voce - The Heat Can Melt Your Brain and Lovers, Lead the Way! (reissues; available at AmorePhonics.com through the band's own Amore!Phonics label) [Buy Now]
· Beyoncé - "The Beyoncé Experience Live" DVD (Columbia) [Preorder Now]
· Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City (digital-only reissue with bonus tracks; Vice) and Flux (digital-only EP; Vice)
· Daft Punk - Alive (enhanced two-CD deluxe edition; Virgin) [Preorder Now]
· Gorillaz - D-Sides (special two-CD, glossy-box edition due same day; Virgin) [Preorder Now]
· Nine Inch Nails - Y34RZ3R0R3MIX3D (with DVD; Interscope)
· Christina Aguilera - "Back to Basics: Live" DVD (RCA) [Preorder Now]
· Common - ThisIsMe Then: The Best of Common (Relativity/Legacy) [Preorder Now]
· Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds: Deluxe Edition (with DVD; Jive) [Preorder Now]
· Daft Punk - Alive 2007 (limited-edition version comes with bonus CD; Virgin) [Preorder Now]
· Ghostface Killah - The Big Doe Rehab (Def Jam) [Preorder Now]
· Godsmack - Good Times, Bad Times: 10 Years of Godsmack (also available with DVD; Republic)
· Wyclef Jean - Carnival II: Memoirs of an Immigrant (Columbia) [Preorder Now]
· Styles P - Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) (Koch)