This week’s release schedule had more than its share of shake-ups, as One Republic’s Native shifted to next week, and 50 Cent’s Street King Immortal slouches its way to 2013. With Taylor Swift’s Red set for a third consecutive week atop the charts, does a surprise hit rest among the remaining 2012 releases?
Green Day had high hopes for Dos!, the second release of their planned three-album punch, but with a lead singer in rehab, it’s tough promoting new material. Christina Aguilera earned plenty of press for Lotus, thanks to her role judging The Voice, but the album’s songs aren’t building much buzz. OneDirection will get the teen girls hopping thanks to 2012’s boy-band resurgence, but the biggest battle this week has the Beatles and the Rolling Stones challenging each other for sales supremacy while Soundgarden releases its first album of fresh material since 1996.
With next week’s release window still swinging wide open, nothing’s a safe bet save for the likelihood that Adele’s 21, issued last year, stands to be this year’s most successful album by a wide margin.
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Tuesday New Releases in Music
Aaron Lewis – The Road (Blaster Records)
Aaron Lewis’s second solo album fully transitions the former Staind front-man from by-the-numbers alt-rock to straightforward radio country. “Red White and Blue” aims for the Veterans Day crowd and hits the mark, though nothing quite has the lyrical punch of “Country Boy” off his debut Town Line.
Altered Five – Gotta Earn It (Conclave / Cold Wind Records)
Bambi Lee Savage – Darkness Overshadowed (Bambi Lee Savage)
Black Forest Fire – Transit of Venus (Sedimental)
Brian Eno – LUX (Warp Records)
Clinic – Free Reign (Domino)
Crystal Castles – III (Casablanca)
Deftones – Koi No Yokan (Reprise)
Green Day – Dos! (Reprise)
How to Destroy Angels – An Omen (Columbia)
Jozef Van Wissem and Jim Jarmusch – The Mystery of Heaven (Sacred Bones)
Lana Del Rey – Paradise (Interscope)
Whether you love or hate her overwrought “gangster Nancy Sinatra” pose, Paradise adds depth to Del Rey’s much maligned debut Born to Die, showcasing an artist still searching for her real hook. With months separating these new songs from January’s hype, they stand successfully on their own, boding well for her second wind.
Lust for Youth – Growing Seeds (Sacred Bones)
Midnight Magic – Walking the Midnight Streets (Midnight Sun Sound)
OneDirection – Take Me Home (Columbia)
Oneida – A List of the Burning Mountains (Jagjaguwar)
Soundgarden – King Animal (Universal Republic)
Chris Cornell and Soundgarden haven’t put out fresh material since 1996, yet King Animal and the lead single “Been Away Too Long” prove you can pick up right where you left off. Forget ‘90s nostalgia – Soundgarden’s making great alternative music in the here and now.
Stephen Lynch – LION (What Are Records)
Stumbleine – Spiderwebbed (Monotreme Records)
Sufjan Stevens – Silver & Gold (Asthmatic Kitty)
The Babies – Our House on the Hill (Woodsist)
For fans of both the Beatles and vinyl in general, there’s no better holiday gift than this newly reissued collection. Reproduced in 180-gram audiophile-grade vinyl, this collection includes all 14 of the Beatles’ original studio albums, plus an elegant 252-page hardcover book showcasing a wealth of photographs spanning the band’s entire career. As a bonus, this is the first time the band’s four earliest albums will receive North American stereo vinyl treatment.
The Rolling Stones – GRRR! (ABKCO / Interscope)
Travis Barker and Yelawolf – Psycho White EP (Lasalle Records)
Vinyl Williams – Lemniscate (Salonislam)
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While this week’s release slate gears up for Black Friday with heavy hitters, a number of albums from the last month still merit consideration as last-minute stocking-stuffers, including new pop-punk from All Time Low and a rarities collection from the best Athens, Georgia band not called R.E.M.
Over 17 years and a dozen feature films Pixar revolutionized computer animation. Today no other studio even comes close.
Pixar’s films have innovated not just with their technological expertise but in the realms of characterization, plot development, and creativity. With Brave debuting last week, Disney and Pixar raised the bar even higher, reaching astonishing new heights.
Fiery-haired Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is the daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) of the DunBroch clan in 10th century Scotland. Merida loves riding through the countryside and practicing her archery. She longs to choose her own fate and bristles at her mother’s attempts to school her in the ways of living like a princess. When Elinor invites the heads of the other clans to DunBroch to compete for Merida’s hand in marriage, the princess rebels, leading to a heated argument.
Merida takes off into the woods, where she follows will-o’-the-wisps to a witch’s cabin. She asks for a spell that will both change her fate and her mother. The result: Elinor transforms into a bear. Merida must then reverse the curse by repairing her relationship with Elinor. Along the way mother and daughter restore the bonds between the four clans and help Fergus face the legendary demon bear Mor’du, who took his leg in a battle years before.
Kelly Macdonald, who voices Merida, the red-headed heroine of Pixar/Disney’s Brave, isn’t very familiar with the Disney princesses of the past. But the one fictional leading lady she did look up to happens to have a lot of the qualities that Merida is bringing to the screen.
“As far as Disney princess go, I had watched Snow White, but I don’t think I’ve seen any others,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The figure I looked up to was Calamity Jane.”
Is it better for girls to aspire to be princesses or frontier women? Or can they be both? (While passing on some of Jane’s shortcomings?)
Hat tip: The Mary Sue.