The last of 2008’s high profile releases arrive this week, and while it almost certainly won’t be enough to rescue the year from its commercial (if not quality) doldrums, it’s comforting to note that at least artists are still trying.


Released at the height of that nauseating emo movement that swept through the first half of this decade, their self-titled 2003 debut produced the radio hit “Swing, Swing” and seemed like the biggest flash in the pan this side of Marcy Playground. Thankfully, their brilliant 2005 sophomore effort changed all that: led by a trio of stickily melodic megasmashes (most notably the magnificent pop-driven title track) and uniformly terrific vocal work from lead singer Tyson Ritter, Move Along made them instant players in a crowded field. This week, The All-American Rejects return with their third album, When the World Comes Down. The lead single “Gives You Hell” fairly admirably splits the difference between the two distinct halves of their musical personality, and while these guys — much like Kings of Leon, who made an essentially identical choice and came up holding nothin’ but aces with their breakneck masterpiece Only By the Night — are taking no end of flak from their critics for pushing their sound in a more commercial direction, I say when the music sounds this good, get the hell over it already.

Following the all-out triumph that was their 2005 breakthrough smash “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” hopes were sky-high for the creative future of those pop-punk torchbearers Fall Out Boy, and to here, they haven’t disappointed: last year’s bracing follow-up disc Infinity on High was a brilliantly executed bid for crossover appeal (and, thanks in large part to its blistering lead single “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” hit the bullseye with breathtaking precision), and this week brings Folie à Deux, the band’s fifth studio album. Deux‘s first single “I Don’t Care” is a tad underwhelming when held up against their previous output, but these guys have proven themselves to be extremely shrewd about confounding their detractors and defying expectations. The Buzz ain’t bettin’ against ’em.

Also noteworthy this week:


  • Faithful covers of Peter Gabriel’s ’80s classic “Sledgehammer” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again)” highlight Live at Mile High Music Festival, the latest live recording from Dave Matthews Band.

  • His 2005 recording debut Unpredictable became a surprise smash, so Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx is back this week with a follow-up, Intuition.

  • He’s been flying beneath the radar for the entirety of his career, but neo-soul hero Anthony Hamilton seems on the cusp of a breakout with his latest effort, The Point of It All.

  • One word: iSouljaBoyTellem!

  • Sony Legacy’s brilliant new Playlist series (whose virtues the Buzz has previously extolled) gets an assist from a modern legend this week with the arrival of The Very Best of Martina McBride.


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