Bow Wow and Omarion might be facing off against each other on their joint album, but when it comes to hitting stores, the two are hoping their combined forces will earn them more youth votes than Mario — and topple vets the Wu-Tang Clan, Gucci Mane and Beanie Sigel along the way.
Two Pints: "It's something that the girls, the kids and everybody has been waiting on for so long," Bow Wow told MTV News in late October about his joint release with Scream Tour partner and past collaborator Omarion. The two eschewed the whole guest-star thing on their new CD — T-Pain helped out, but only on the production front, as did R. Kelly. A more expensive edition of Face Off comes with a bonus DVD.
"Trapped Forever": As it turns out, Kells has a release of his own this week — his "Trapped in the Closet" series is back again. The new set features chapters 1-22 in their entirety; "chapter 12.5," a recap of the first 11; live performances of chapters 2 and 3; the MTV VMA performance of Chapter 12; Easter eggs; a DVD trivia game; and running commentary from Kelly.
Finally a Go: Like Bow Wow and Omarion, Mario is going after R&B-loving youngsters this week with his much-delayed Go, the follow-up to 2004's Turning Point. Believe it or not, the effort was originally due way back in November 2006, around which time the singer told MTV News the album would be called Mario Barrett - Effortless, thereby finally revealing his mysterious last name. Finally, after letting us know earlier this year that he was still "struggling with [picking] what to do," he managed to rein in Timbaland, the Neptunes and Akon for the effort and get it out. A bit of a trivia: Mario actually falls right between his competitors in terms of age — he's 21, while Bow is 20 and O is 23 — so maybe he'll split the vote.
Crazy 8: 8 Diagrams, the Wu-Tang Clan's fifth studio album and first in six years, has been mired by infighting and delays, and is being overshadowed by member Ghostface Killah's just-released The Big Doe Rehab, which has gotten a much warmer reception in the press. But while the group members have been publicly at odds with one another, they did come together to pay homage to fallen friend Ol' Dirty Bastard on one song, "Life Changes." "I think I said it in my lyric: 'It's hard to live without you,' " the RZA told MTV News about the track.
Cool Beans: "I'm a soulful brother, I been through a lot, I'm just giving you my life," Beanie Sigel explained to MTV News back in 2006, and his new album, The Solution, presents exactly that. Beans keeps it cool with R. Kelly (wow, he's busy this week), Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, Plies, Scarface and Diddy onboard — but, alas, no Eminem or Kid Rock. And get this: He actually samples a heavy-metal song, Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," on one track, "The Day," which deals with Sigel's struggles with religion and more. Interestingly, Def Jam took the unusual move of streaming The Solution prior to its Tuesday (December 11) release.
Digital Underground: Despite the annual slowdown in new releases hitting terrestrial stores, there's still rising activity in the digital world, with more and more big names joining the bandwagon.
First and foremost, Radiohead are taking yet another leap in innovation by unveiling a limited-edition USB stick that holds their entire back catalog at CD-quality WAV files. The release, available exclusively at RadioheadStore.com, also has digital artwork on a 4GB memory stick. Meanwhile, their former label EMI has bundled together the band's six Parlaphone studio releases and one live disc in the form of a box set simply called Radiohead. It also features original artwork and exclusive digipack sleeves.
The mariachi-tinged Calexico are putting up for sale a bundle of albums they've sold exclusively at their concerts and Web site over the years. Their label, Touch and Go, has converted the discs — which include collections of studio outtakes, live recordings and more — into MP3 form and is issuing them on the label's and band's respective Web sites.
Speaking of indie firepower, Cat Power, Sonic Youth and Kimya Dawson sidle up alongside the Kinks, Velvet Underground and Buddy Holly on the soundtrack to red-hot indie flick "Juno," and it will only be available online until it finally hits brick-and-mortar stores January 15. Similarly, famed U2/ Bob Dylan producer Daniel Lanois is putting out his new solo album online Saturday before eventually issuing the physical version of Here Is What Is on March 18.
Meanwhile, a pair of rising newcomers are going the iTunes route, releasing new material exclusively through the site. The Postal Service's Jimmy Tamborello chalked up a remix for the Silversun Pickups' untitled six-song EP, which will get a wider online release starting December 18. And still-green British singer/songwriter Jamie T immortalizes his first headlining trek of the U.S. from earlier this year with his iTunes Exclusive Live Session, a four-song set that also features his backing band, the Pacemakers.
Last but not least, San Diego electronic-folk group the Softlightes are putting out a charity single, "Last Christmas on Earth," through EarthHour.org. All proceeds go to the Australian environmental group, which has been pushing for green alternatives to help in the fight against global warming.
Song Title of the Week:
"Paul Kern Can't Sleep" from the Dimes' The Silent Generation
Album Cover of the Week:
T.H. White's The Private Spotlight
· Chris Barber - Can't Stop Now (European Tour 2007) (Studio T Limited)
· Birdman - 5 * Stunna (Cash Money) [Buy Now]
· Bow Wow and Omarion - Face Off (also available with bonus DVD; Columbia) [Buy Now]
Read: "Bow Wow Says His Face Off With Omarion Will Mean A 'Whole Bunch Of #1 Records' "
· Meredith Bragg - Silver Sonya (Kora)
· The Dimes - The Silent Generation (Pet Marmoset)
· Hi-Tek - Hi-Teknology 3 (Babygrande)
· Maine - The Way We Talk (EP; Fearless) [Buy Now]
· Gucci Mane - Back to the Traphouse (Atlantic) [Buy Now]
· Mario - Go (J) [Buy Now]
· Dave Matthews Band - Live at Piedmont Park (two CDs and one DVD; RCA) [Buy Now]
· Beanie Sigel - The Solution (Def Jam) [Buy Now]
Read: "Beanie Sigel Snags R. Kelly For New Single While He Waits For Eminem"
· Toilet Boys - Sex Music (Dead City)
· T.H. White - The Private Spotlight (Sky Council)
· Wu-Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams (Best Buy edition comes with exclusive DVD; Def Jam) [Buy Now]
Read: "Wu-Tang Clan's 'First-Ever Cleared Beatles Sample' Claim Is Incorrect"
· Various artists - "The Great Debaters" soundtrack (Atlantic)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· Flyleaf - Flyleaf (enhanced EP; A&M/Octone) [Buy Now]
· Engelbert Humperdinck - Songs You Know By Heart (Fuel)
· Byron Lee & the Dragonaires - Byron Lee & the Dragonaires (with DVD; VP)
· Radiohead - Radiohead (limited-edition box set with seven CDs; Parlophone) [Buy Now]
· Sevendust - Retrospective 2 (with DVD; Asylum)
· Various artists - Rockin' 88's: Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard (Fuel)
· Various artists - Sample My Funky Groove, Volume One (Great American Music)
· Buckethead - "Young Buckethead, Vol. 1" and "Vol. 2" (Avabella)
· Cactus - "Live" (Cactus Rock) [Buy Now]
· Various artists - "Giddimani 2007 - Live Reggae" (No Joke)
· Celine Dion - "Live in Las Vegas: A New Day" (two DVDs; Epic) [Buy Now]
· R. Kelly - "Trapped in the Closet, Chapters 1-22" (Jive) [Buy Now]
· Rat Skates - "Born in the Basement" (Kundrat)
· Styx - "Caught in the Act: Live & More" (A&M) [Buy Now]
· Calexico - '98 -'99 Road Map; Aerocalexico; The Book and the Canal; Scraping; Toolbox; and Travelall (reissues; available at CasaDeCalexico.com and TouchAndGoRecords.com)
· Cassettes Won't Listen - One Alternative (Music for Robots)
· Jamie T - iTunes Exclusive Live Session (EP; available exclusively at iTunes)
· Daniel Lanois - Here Is What Is (available at RedFloorRecords.com starting Saturday; physical disc dropping March 18)
· Meatmen - Blud Sausage;Crippled Children Suck E.P.; Crippled Children Suck LP; Stud Powerco--: The Touch and Go Years 1981-1984; Tesco Vee and the Meatkrew - Dutch Hercules; and We're the Meatmen and You Suck (reissues; select titles available exclusively at TouchAndGoRecords.com)
· Radiohead - Radiohead (limited-edition USB Stick available exclusively at RadioheadStore.com)
· Sam Champion - Sm Chmpn Rcrd Lbl EP (EP; Rcrd Lbl)
· Silversun Pickups - untitled iTunes EP (available exclusively on iTunes until December 18) [Buy Now]
· The Softlightes - Last Christmas on Earth (charity release available on EarthHour.org)
· Various artists - Rocks (Kitty-Yo)
· Various artists - "Juno" soundtrack (physical album due in stores January 15; Rhino)
· Christina Aguilera - "Back to Basics: Live and Down Under" (RCA) [Preorder]
· Mary J. Blige - Growing Pains (Geffen) [Preorder]
Read: "Mary J. Blige Says She's 'Just Fine' With Her New Album, Losing 'Umbrella' To Rihanna"
· Chamillionaire - Mixtape Messiah 4 (Universal) [Preorder]
· Chingy - Hate It or Love It (Disturbing Tha Peace) [Preorder]
· Rivers Cuomo - Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (Geffen)
· Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's the Cool (Atlantic) [Preorder]
Read: "Lupe Fiasco's Cool World: Tragedy Meets 'Mad Poppy Beats'"
· Rick Ross - Trilla (Def Jam) [Preorder]
· Various artists - "High School Musical 2": Non-Stop Dance Party (Disney)
· Various artists - "Young Frankenstein: The New Mel Brooks Musical" (Decca Broadway)
· Radiohead - In Rainbows (TBD/ATO)
· Various artists - "Elvis: Viva Las Vegas" soundtrack (Sony)