Cleaning Out Their Closets: What Eminem is labeling his Curtain Call may or may not be, but it's sure to please retailers looking for an extra holiday-sales boost. "When I'm Gone," the less foreboding "Shake That" (featuring Nate Dogg) and "Fack" give some fresh flavor to the comp, while Em's "Stan" duet with Elton John from the 2001 Grammys crops up on an album for the first time. Also premiering on an Em record are "Dead Wrong RMX" (featuring Notorious B.I.G.) and "Renegade" (featuring Jay-Z), both featured on the deluxe edition's second CD, Stan's Mixtape. The disc has five more extras, including the unreleased "Sh-- on You" featuring D12.
Ja Rule's Exodus sounds as ominous as Curtain Call but appears to be a bit more obligatory. Ja has released an album a year since his 1999 debut, Venni Vetti Vecci, and he's keeping his USC-like streak intact with a 17-song anthology. But the only real treats are the newly recorded "Me" (produced by the exalted and exonerated Irv Gotti) and an intro and outro, as well as the "Murder Remix" of J. Lo's "Ain't It Funny," which had already been floating around as a B-side.
Ja's lack of new tuneage could explain why Def Jam and the Inc. are giving the rarities-laden Collectables by Ashanti a bigger push, even if Ja rears his lil' head on new blends of "Only U" and "Rain on Me." Ashanti also seems to be the only one going for titular accuracy: Collectables has a bunch of other remixes, plus four brand-new slices -- Irv Gotti's production is slathered over all those, too -- and some Tiffany-esque album artwork that might be worth putting in a time capsule for future kicks.
Tricks and Nicks: Lindsay Lohan's lived up to her promise on A Little More Personal (Raw) by directing the video for the brutally candid "Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father)," but how covers of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" and Stevie Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen" shed more light on Lindsay's own life remains to be seen. As does the meaning of the album cover, which pictures a topless Lindsay with an enigmatic red symbol painted across her back and a crucifix dangling over it. Maybe it's personal.
See You on the Other Disc: Like their ex-guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, Korn are also hoping to be born again -- and rock the bejesus out of you in the process. The limited-edition run of their seventh record, See You on the Other Side, has loads of other-side action on the second disc, which has a couple of live videos, two mixes of "Twisted Transistor" and three more songs ("It's Me Again," "Eaten Up Inside" and "Last Legal Drug [Le Petit Mort]"). Both versions have artwork that'd even give Bunnicula the chills.
Livin' It Up: The White Stripes' cover of Tegan and Sara's "Walking With a Ghost" has been called "as crudely uptight as an investment banker carousing on the Lower East Side" in The Village Voice, but that probably won't stop fans from picking up the same-named EP, which is also saddled with four unreleased live tracks. Ray LaMontagne's got an EP of his own, Live From Bonnaroo 2005, a memento boasting an unreleased song ("Empty") and five more LaMontagne lamentations.
Franz Ferdinand, on the other hand, are refuting the less-is-more philosophy. "Live" may sport a succinct title, but the content is anything but: The two-DVD treasure chest brims with 45 concert clips from U.S. and Europe gigs, a tour doc, karaoke videos and, believe it or not, an actual kitchen sink. But they've got nothing on Tori Amos, whose beastly Original Bootlegs binds together the six double-disc "official bootlegs" (can we please do away with this oxymoron) in an embossed slipcase. "After years of paying top dollar for low-quality bootlegs, Tori Amos diehards now have an alternative," says her Web site. And there's even an alternative to the one that costs $67.98: bootlegging.
Ben Folds doesn't have 12 discs in his live package, but he does have 83 musicians lending him their skills. While Folds only has his piano to tinker with on "Live in Perth," songs like "Brick," "Zak and Sara" and "Steven's Last Night in Town" are supplemented with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Eat that, Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony.
Sonic Youth take, to an extent, a more scaled-down approach with the next installment in their postmodernist SYR improv series, even if the music contained therein is anything but scaled down. SYR 6: Koncertas Stan Brakhage Prisiminimui contains nothing but the title track, although it speaks for itself: Recorded at an April 12, 2003, benefit gig held for the Anthology Film Archives, the instrumental recording correlates with avant-garde auteur Stan Brakhage's silent films.
Last but not least, John Legend -- who's already issued two concert records despite having only one studio album to his name -- also has a DVD, "Live at the House of Blues." Kanye and Snoop step onstage with Mr. Ordinary, and there's some backstage stuff on there too. Phew.
Song/Album Title of the Week:
"I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)" on T-Pain's Rappa Ternt Sanga
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Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
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