Welcome to Buzzworthy’s “The Week In Pop,” where we round up new album releases, talk show musical guests, and TV performances by your favorite pop stars and more (so you don’t have to).
This week, Lil Wayne drops a sequel album, I Am Not A Human Being II, and A Rocket To The Moon release their sophomore full-length, Wild & Free. Meanwhile, Senses Fail go heavy on Renacer, The Strokes experiment on Comedown Machine, and Wavves (who appear on “Late Night With David Letterman” on Wednesday) drop their fourth set, Afraid Of Heights. Also releasing new material: Depeche Mode, Dido (she’s on Tuesday’s “VH1’s Big Morning Buzz With Carrie Keagan” and “Live With Kelly And Michael,” and on Wednesday’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”), OneRepublic, and Blake Shelton (catch him Thursday on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and “Live With Kelly And Michael”). Speaking of Blake, TV singing competitions heat up when Shelton and Adam Levine return to “The Voice” with new coaches Usher and Shakira for tonight’s Season 4 premiere.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
+ Lil Wayne, I Am Not A Human Being II: Fresh out of the hospital, Weezy rebounded from a scary seizure in time for the release of his 10th studio album, which may be one of his final albums (he said Tha Carter V will be his last, sadface). In the meantime, he’s enjoying the spoils that he’s earned over almost 20 years in the biz, living it up in the appropriately named “Rich As F***” video with 2 Chainz and partying in a casino and strip club on “No Worries” with Detail. He moves the party into the bedroom with slow jam “Love Me” featuring Drake and Future, and Weezy ends on a high note with the club banger “My Homies Still” featuring Big Sean.
+ A Rocket To The Moon, Wild & Free: Singer/guitarist Nick Santino and company’s sophomore effort picks up where they left off on 2009’s On Your Side, honing their blend of rock, emo, folk, and pop with touches of country. Check out the sunny acoustic stroll of “Whole Lotta You” (and watch their behind-the-scenes video for the tune), and for the more emotional side of the alt-rock spectrum, grab a box of tissues and watch the heartstring pulling, romantic video for “Ever Enough,” which features Disney star Debby Ryan.
+ Senses Fail, Renacer: The name of the album is telling, meaning “to be reborn” in Spanish. Senses Fail have made some changes since 2010’s The Fire. Songwriter-guitarist Garrett Zablocki left, and he was replaced by Strike Anywhere’s Matt Smith, and they’ve moved into heavier musical territory, too. Check out the scorching “Holy Mountain” and “Mi Amor,” which Buddy Nielsen sings partially in Spanish. There’s also “Closure/Rebirth.” which beckons to “Let It Go” before culminating in a wave of static. Stream Renacer on Buzzworthy.
Check out more new album releases, upcoming TV appearances, and performances after the jump.
+ The Strokes, Comedown Machine: As The Strokes hinted with the first track they shared from their fifth album, the A-ha-ish “One Way Trigger,” they experimented with new styles while recording together at the famed Electric Lady Studios. On their new effort, there are synth-flavorings (“Tap Out”), other ’80s hallmarks (“80’s Comedown Machine”), and disco funk (“Welcome To Japan”). Singer Julian Casablancas expands his range as well, hitting falsettos on songs such as “Chances,” and “All The Time,” and “50/50″ nod to old-school Strokes. Stream Comedown Machine on The Strokes’ website.
+ Wavves, Afraid of Heights: The “I Just Want My Pants Back“-guest composer Nathan Williams’ and Stephen Pope are back for their fourth album. Williams wraps self-deprecating lyrics in melodic pop hooks and anthemic choruses, like on the title track (where he laments “I’ll always be on my own” — a theme song for teen angst and alienation) and on the slow-burning “Everything Is My Fault.” Also check out “Demon To Lean On,” the punked-up “Paranoid,” and the revving “Sail To The Sun.”
+ Depeche Mode, Delta Machine: After 33 years and 100+ million albums sold, Depeche Mode are the highest-selling purveyors (and pioneers of) electronic rock and goth. With the release of their 13th album, they continue with their signature sound. Sleazy synths meld with brooding, minor-key, bluesy rock (“Heaven,” “Secret To The End,” “Slow”), and sinful temptations (“Should Be Higher”), isolation (“My Little Universe”), and redemption (“Angel”) battle it out.
+ Dido, Girl Who Got Away: Electro-pop chanteuse Dido worked with a bevy of hot producers for her fourth album, including Brian Eno (David Bowie, Talking Heads, Coldplay, U2), Jeff Bhasker (fun., Kanye West), and her brother Rollo Armstrong. Listen to the Bhasker-produced “Let Us Move On” with Kendrick Lamar, and check out “No Freedom.”
+ OneRepublic, Native: For their third album, frontman Ryan Tedder told MTV News they turned to darker lyrical themes, such as on “If I Lose Myself.” “Even though it sounds like this euphoric, ’let’s go crazy tonight’ song, it’s a bit morbid; it’s about going down in an airplane,” Tedder explained. The 12-song set was primarily recorded at Tedder’s own Patriot Studios in Denver.
+ Blake Shelton, Based On A True Story…: “The Voice” coach releases his eighth album. Watch the video for “Sure Be Cool If You Did“; the tune went No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Digital Tracks chart its debut week. Also check out “Boys ’Round Here,” which features Pistol Annies and his collaboration with Gwen Sebastian, “My Eyes.”
TV APPEARANCES AND PERFORMANCES
Monday, March 25
“Late Show With David Letterman” — Ed Sheeran
“Tonight Show With Jay Leno” — Crystal Bowersox
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” — Dustin Lynch
“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” — Wale
“Last Call With Carson Daly” — Royal Teeth
“Conan” — Langhorne Slim
“Live With Kelly And Michael” — Usher
“The Voice” — Season 4 premieres with “The Blind Auditions.” Usher and Shakira join returning coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
Tuesday, March 26
“Late Night With David Letterman” — Pegi Young and the Survivors
“VH1’s Big Morning Buzz With Carrie Keagan” — Dido
“Tonight Show With Jay Leno” — Keith Urban, Django Django
“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” — Ice-T, Little Green Cars
“Last Call With Carson Daly” — A Silent Film
“Live With Kelly And Michael” — Dido
“The Voice” — “The Blind Auditions, Part 2.” Featuring coaches Adam Levine, Shakira, Blake Shelton and Usher.
Wednesday, March 27
“Late Night With David Letterman” — Wavves
“Tonight Show With Jay Leno” — Josh Groban
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” — Divine Fits
“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” — Dido
“Last Call With Carson Daly” — The Men, Faye
“Live With Kelly And Michael” — Florida Georgia Line
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” — Adam Levine
“American Idol” — Top 8 finalists compete. Featuring judges Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban.
Thursday, March 28
“VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live With Carrie Keagan” — Icona Pop
“Tonight Show With Jay Leno” — Imagine Dragons
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” — Kendrick Lamar
“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” — Blake Shelton
“Last Call With Carson Daly” — Gold Fields
“Live With Kelly And Michael” — Blake Shelton
“The Ellen Degeneres Show” — Common
“American Idol” — Results show, one finalist is eliminated. Featuring judges Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban.
Friday, March 29
“VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live With Carrie Keagan” — Ed Sheeran
“Live With Kelly And Michael” — Ed Sheeran
Photo credit: UMG