Usher ~ Raymond v. Raymond
Release Date: ????
Poor guy. Tracks from Raymond v. Raymond are leaking all over the place and sadly, only some of them come close to the R&B brilliance of 2004's Confessions. It seems to be a continuation of 2008's lukewarm-ness known as Here I Stand.
Two singles have already been released; Daddy's Home and Papers, the latter obviously is about his own divorce: "I'm ready to sign them papers, papers, papers /I done took all I can take but u leave me no options girl." Papers is the first track (at least on my copy it is) and it's a good start. It's a little generic, but for someone looking for some ka-pow!, I'll take it. Papers leads to Cruisin' which is reminiscent of Off-The-Wall-MJ with it's soulful disco sound.
It doesn't take long before that generic feeling comes back. The ballads sound like typical R&B slow jams (At The Time, Secret Garden), up tempo numbers like that Ne-yo's R&B-tronic sound (Radar, Rock Band). All is not lost, though. T.I. helps out on the kinda fun In My Bag. The funk tinged She's Got It and the dirty, bass heavy Little Freak probably won't be singles unless Usher re-records them for radio.
All in all, if you're a die-hard fan, you'll need this and you'll probably love it. As an occasional fan, I'd probably sing along with the radio, but that's about it. However, all the delays could be about polishing up this record for release.
Or maybe it's a community property thing.
Ke$ha ~ Animal
Release Date: January 5, 2010
Remember how I used to go on about how GaGa's Fame Stopwatch was ticking away? Remember how I said, "Someone should let Lady Gaga know that her Bad Romance might be related to it being a bad song. Unless I can find a decent remix of it, you won't be seeing it on a burn list...", and then I saw the video and I couldn't get that lyric out of my head and it showed up on a burn list?
Yeah, I'm going to take all that back and give it to Ke$ha. Yes, yes, I know all about her #1 status and the broken records and blah, blah, blah. This all sounds the same to me. It's true. I will admit that the first single, TiK ToK, has grown a tiny bit on me, but it's more of novelty. Like Sir Mix-a-lot's Baby Got Back...you don't actually think it merits any special accolades, but damn if it isn't fun to watch everyone freak out to it.
The next single is appropriately, Blah Blah Blah which features 3OH!3. Fortunately, it comes four songs after TiK ToK, otherwise I wouldn't have realized it was a different song. It will do well. Again, only because it's pure pop fluff. If TiK ToK is about getting psyched up for the party, then Blah Blah Blah is about what comes next: "I don't really care where you live at /Just turn around boy and let me hit that /Don't be a little bitch with your chit chat /Just show me where your dick's at." I know, right. The 'mo's are gonna love it.
The impression I get is that Ke$ha rolled into the studio, having drunk that bottle of Jack, and hit the mic. She sounds loaded, fully ripped and tanked six ways from Sunday. The only song that sounds remotely "crafted" to me, ironically, is Hungover: "Now the party's over and everybody's gone /I'm left here with myself and i wonder what went wrong."
That's gonna be one nasty hangover. For all of us.
Nick Jonas & The Administration ~ Who I Am
Release Date: February 2, 2010
Don't do it. Don't get it for someone's birthday, even if she's 13 and it could kill your status as her favourite auntie. It will ruin her.
And even if you're a closet fan of the Jonas Brothers (never admit it to me if you are), you will remain changed forever after you hear the puberty assaulted vocals of the youngest J-Bro.
Nick "I'm-The-Cute-One-But-Wait-Until-I'm-Legal-You-Chicken-Hawks" Jonas' solo project is coming out next week, and it should really just stay in hiding. This poor boy is just so much better in a group: you can't hear him. I'm assuming, of course, since I don't actually pay any attention to the Brothers Jonas. All I know is this: one is cute, one is ugly, and one is a girl.
There's a reason Menudo lasted for 43 years.