September 10, 2010 in Features

Music’s big names set to release big albums

Greg Kot Chicago Tribune
 
Tags:music

From left, Taylor Swift, T.I. and Bruce Springsteen.
(Full-size photo)

Fall is traditionally the season of blockbuster albums. The music industry inevitably rolls out its biggest hitters in hopes of generating sales for the holidays.

This year is no exception, with major releases expected from Taylor Swift, T.I., Linkin Park, Kenny Chesney, Robert Plant and Ne-Yo, plus a boxed set from “The Darkness on the Edge of Town”-era Bruce Springsteen, featuring 21 previously unreleased songs.

Here’s a rundown of what’s in store:

Rock

Robert Plant, “Band of Joy” (Tuesday): Led Zeppelin’s “Golden God” plunges into more atmospheric roots music with help from guitarist Buddy Miller and singer Patty Griffin.

Linkin Park, “A Thousand Suns” (Tuesday): The rap-rock titans return with a new album co-produced by Rick Rubin and a promise to be more “unpredictable.”

Brandon Flowers, “Flamingo” (Tuesday): The Killers singer takes a solo turn with a series of stadium-style rockers celebrating his hometown of Las Vegas, with production help from Daniel Lanois and Brendan O’Brien.

Grinderman, “Grinderman 2” (Tuesday): Nick Cave’s punk alter-ego indulges in more nastiness on the group’s second studio release.

Weezer, “Hurley” (Tuesday): Rivers Cuomo takes his quartet to an indie label (Epitaph) for his latest batch of guitar-pop creations.

Eric Clapton, “Clapton” (Sept. 28): The guitarist, fresh off hosting this summer’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, returns with his first studio album since 2005.

No Age, “Everything in Between” (Sept. 28): Second album from the much-praised Los Angeles garage-punk duo.

Bob Dylan, “The Witmark Demos: 1962-64 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9)” (Oct. 19): Solo recordings from early in Dylan’s career finally get official release.

Bruce Springsteen, “The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story” (Nov. 16): Springsteen was on a songwriting roll when “Darkness” was released in 1978, and this three-CD, three-DVD box gathers dozens of outtakes, rarities and live performances from that era.

Hip-hop/R&B

Trey Songz, “Passion, Pain & Pleasure” (Tuesday): The Virginia-based R&B singer follows up his 2009 breakthrough album, “Ready,” by touching on everything from romantic ballads to rock and electro-pop.

Mavis Staples, “You Are Not Alone” (Tuesday): With Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy producing and writing a couple of songs, the legendary singer bridges gospel and soul with renewed fervor.

John Legend and the Roots, “Wake Up!” (Sept. 21): The acclaimed singer and hip-hop juggernaut join forces to dig deep into a batch of socially conscious soul tracks from the ’60s and ’70s.

T.I., “King Uncaged” (Sept. 28): The Atlanta MC delivers his first studio album since serving a year-long prison sentence on federal gun charges.

Ice Cube, “I Am the West” (Sept. 28): While maintaining a lucrative Hollywood career as a cuddly movie star, Ice Cube keeps bringing the gangsta swagger on his studio recordings.

Ciara, “Basic Instinct” (Oct. 5): Ciara Princess Harris is a multimillion- record-selling artist and actress looking to regain momentum with her fourth studio album.

Ne-Yo, “Libra Scale” (Oct. 19): The dapper singer returns with an elaborate concept album involving superheroes, a lover turned villain and a love-and-death morality tale.

Pop

Maroon 5, “Hands All Over” (Sept. 21): The Los Angeles quintet has two multimillion-selling albums under its belt, and took three years to craft this follow-up with former Shania Twain producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange.

Phil Collins, “Going Back” (Sept. 28): The former Genesis singer recruits three of the Funk Brothers to help him investigate soul tunes from the Motown era.

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby, “Lonely Avenue” (Sept. 28): “High Fidelity” author Hornby wrote the words and pianist Folds composed the music for this collaboration between mutual admirers.

Seal, “6: Commitment” (Sept. 28): Two decades into his career, the U.K. singer has sold 15 million-plus records.

Bryan Ferry, “Olympia” (Oct. 26): The suave crooner collaborates with David Gilmour and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and reunites with his old Roxy Music bandmates, Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay.

Country

Zac Brown Band, “You Get What You Give” (Sept. 21): The Georgia group seeks to maintain momentum after hitting big with “The Foundation” in 2008.

Rhonda Vincent, “Taken” (Sept. 21): The masterly fiddle and mandolin player puts some pop sheen on her bluegrass chops.

Kenny Chesney, “Hemingway’s Whiskey” (Sept. 28): The stadium-filling singer tries to reconcile a more personal brand of songwriting with his hit-making status.

Toby Keith, “Bullets in the Gun” (Oct. 5): With a string of hit albums behind him, the singer is sure to deliver more rabble-rousing anthems for hunting trips and roadhouse brawls.

Taylor Swift, “Speak Now” (Oct. 25): Her personal songs about high school tribulations strike a chord with teenagers and country and pop radio programmers alike.


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