Contrary to expectations, Jason Aldean’s Night Train looks to be a Mumford-slayer when this week’s Billboard 200 is updated later this week. Estimates suggest the new album will break 400,000 and easily dominate last week’s slate of new releases. He won’t get much time to enjoy his first-ever No. 1 album, however, as this week’s juggernaut release, Taylor Swift’s Red, is set to be this year’s biggest-selling album. Her sophomore album, Speak Now, broke one million in first-week sales back in 2010, and Red has already spawned four top ten singles, two of which had opening week sales of more than 400,000. Nothing else on this week’s slate can touch that.
See Last Week’s Picks: TUESDAY NEW RELEASES – “A Fine Frenzy in the Shadow of Mumford”
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… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead – Lost Songs (Superball Music)
Bebo Norman – Lights of Distant Cities (BEC Recordings)
The most consistent songwriter in all of Christian contemporary music, Norman’s eighth studio album features his strongest material yet. Standout track “Outside Her Window Was the World” successfully channels Coldplay through Third Day, subverting expectations both from the pop and CCR perspective.
Being As An Ocean – Dear G-d… (Invogue Records)
Billy Ray Cyrus – Change My Mind (Blue Cadillac Music)
He who brought us the torture of “Achy Breaky Heart” coupled with his overhyped offspring Miley, Cyrus attempts a comeback and, at least with the title track, comes up with by-the-book modern country which won’t disappoint casual listeners.
Bridgit Mendler – Hello My Name Is… (Hollywood Records)
Colbie Caillat – Christmas in the Sand (Universal Republic)
Diamond Rings – Free Dimensional (Astralwerks)
Further Seems Forever – Penny Black (Rise Records)
Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu (Warner Bros.)
At 28, Gary Clark Jr’s blend of contemporary soul and hip-hop with classic blues and r&b plants him firmly at the lead of today’s young tastemakers. Of his new album, Rolling Stone calls the album “uneven, [but] occasionally thrilling” and touts Clark’s willingness to experiment with blues in the age of auto-tune.
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid M.A.A.D. City (Aftermath)
P.O.S. – We Don’t Even Live Here (Rhymesayers)
Paul Banks – Banks (Matador Records)
Rick Berlin – Always On Insane (The Whitehaus Family Record)
Shiny Toy Guns – III (Five Seven Music)
Taylor Swift – Red (Big Machine)
This album is critically bulletproof, but when you strip away the hype, Red is a surprisingly strong album from a songwriter who isn’t afraid to leave country in the dust for the pop music she clearly longs to make. “I Knew You Were Trouble” flirts with dubstep flourishes and proves to be her strongest pop contribution yet. Haters, prepare to be surprised!
Titus Andronicus – Local Business (XL Recordings)
Tony Bennett – Viva Duets (Columbia)
Tweaker – Call the Time Eternity (Metropolis Records)
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Week after week albums continue to surprise, as this Fall’s releases prove there’s always plenty more great music worth highlighting. This week, KISS’s twentieth album gets surprisingly solid reviews. Plus crazy cabaret-inspired alternative from former Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer, new music from Muse and fresh material from Jack White’s latest revival project, Wanda Jackson.