There will be no recession in record stores over the holidays. In fact, with major releases from some of the biggest names in music slated to hit stores over the next six weeks, this shopping season is packed with one of the biggest bumper crop of anticipated releases in years.
Unlike past years, when hyped albums by [artist id="1098"]Madonna[/artist], [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist], [artist id="1022"]U2[/artist] and other megastars were the focus of shoppers' action, this year's offerings span a wide variety of new stars (the "American Idol" triumvirate of [artist id="3188062"]Kris Allen[/artist], [artist id="3188063"]Adam Lambert[/artist] and [artist id="3221540"]Allison Iraheta[/artist]), reissues by [artist id="1236911"]Beyoncé[/artist] and [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist], a greatest-hits collection from [artist id="501686"]Britney Spears[/artist] and highly anticipated albums from [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist], [artist id="860639"]50 Cent[/artist] and [artist id="504144"]Shakira[/artist]. (All dates are subject to change.)
First out the gate are a number of albums that have been kicking around for so long, some people began to wonder if they would ever hit shelves. Chief among them is [article id="1625285"]50 Cent's Before I Self-Destruct,[/article] a disc that has been pushed around for nearly a year as the G-Unit boss made room for his capo, Eminem, to release Relapse. Kid Sister will also finally get a street date for her long-simmering Ultraviolet album, which has been in the offing even longer than 50's disc.
"Idol" winner Kris Allen will come out of the gate with his self-titled debut, which will vie for attention with the debut from Diddy pal Justin Bieber (My World), John Mayer's Battle Studies and [article id="1623402"]OneRepublic's Waking Up.
Also streeting that day is the second effort from British reality singer Leona Lewis, Echo; the self-titled debut from rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures (featuring [artist id="986"]Foo Fighters[/artist] drummer Dave Grohl, [artist id="503135"]Queens of the Stone Age[/artist] leader Josh Homme and [artist id="993"]Led Zeppelin[/artist] bassist John Paul Jones); a self-titled disc from couch-loving R&B crew Pretty Ricky; and an "MTV Unplugged" disc from Katy Perry[/article]. Also, look for greatest-hits albums from [article id="1623758"]Fall Out Boy (Believers Never Die)[/article] and [article id="1623691"]Janet Jackson (Number Ones)[/article].
Thanksgiving week will blow things out even more, as turkey-stuffed shoppers will be able to choose from two Beyoncé albums: a live disc called [article id="1625283"]I Am ... Yours: An Intimate Performance at Wynn Las Vegas,[/article] as well as a deluxe edition of her I Am ... Sasha Fierce album. She'll be fighting for attention with a deluxe edition of [article id="1625863"]Britney Spears' The Singles Collection,[/article] two versions of [article id="1625933"]Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster[/article] reissue, [article id="1617303"]Shakira's She Wolf[/article] and [article id="1625974"]Rihanna's Rated R.[/article]
A couple of divas could spoil things for the array of superstars, as [article id="1620806"]"Britain's Got Talent" breakout Susan Boyle[/article] drops her first effort, I Dreamed a Dream, and [article id="1624104"]"Idol" glam rocker Adam Lambert[/article] offers up his bedazzled For Your Entertainment. Also set for release is Pricele$$ from [article id="1622559"]Cash Money boss Birdman[/article] and the self-titled debut from BlakRoc, anchored by blues duo the Black Keys and featuring cameos from Mos Def, Q-Tip, RZA, ODB, Raekwon, Ludacris and Jim Jones (which actually drops on the 27th, which they've dubbed "Blak Friday").
The ranks thin a bit by December, which brings the debut album from [article id="1625561"]"Idol" firebrand Allison Iraheta[/article], Just Like You, as well as the first CD from "Dollhouse" singer and Internet sensation [article id="1625204"]Priscilla Renea, Jukebox.[/article]
Things get a bit nutty again the following week, with a pileup of big names, led by [article id="1625519"]Chris Brown with Graffiti,[/article] the 20-year-old singer's first release since his guilty plea in June for assaulting former girlfriend Rihanna in February. The hip-hop-heavy week will also see the long-delayed [article id="1624352"]Till the Casket Drops[/article] from the Clipse, [article id="1625004"]Gucci Mane's The State vs. Radric Davis,[/article] and [article id="1623855"]Snoop Dogg's Malice N Wonderland.[/article]
Super-producer Timbaland will host the usual array of A-list talent for his [article id="1624202"]Timbaland Presents Shock Value 2,[/article] while 30 Seconds to Mars emerge from a year of label drama with [article id="1625976"]This Is War.[/article] Indie faves Animal Collective offer up the Fall Be Kind EP, and rapper Redman will also stuff some stockings with a little something called Reggie Noble 9 1/2, Ludacris will release a greatest-hits album and smoothie Robin Thicke will provide some [article id="1624781"]Sex Therapy.[/article]
There are only a handful of big names on the roster for December 15, but they're major ones, led by [article id="1625894"]Lil Wayne's long-delayed Rebirth,[/article] the soon-to-be-incarcerated rapper's so-called "rock" album, which may be packaged with the debut from his Young Money crew. Alicia Keys will return with [article id="1623531"] The Element of Freedom.[/article]
And, as befits a true diva, Mary J. Blige has the lane all to herself December 22, when she drops Stronger.