This coming Tuesday is my thirty-third birthday, and outside of having a nice dinner (and perhaps a soupcon of post-meal canoodling) with A, I intend to spend it doing my favorite activity on this planet: music shopping. Live it up, y’all — there’s some terrific stuff hitting stores this week:


Admire this gal’s gumption if nothing else: Brooke White, the angelic young lady who eternally captured the hearts of most of us “Idol” freaks with her ethereal, ebullient musical stylings during season seven — YouTube her astonishing take on “I Am… I Said” during Neil Diamond week from last year, and just try to convince me you don’t ache for her with every fiber of your existence — has chosen to include on
High Hopes and Heartbreak, her hotly-anticipated post-“Idol” debut, a sweetly mellow (and utterly fascinating) cover of Kings of Leon’s transcendent epic smash “Use Somebody,” a decision that has Sherry Ann utterly aghast. (And she doesn’t even like KOL that much!) As a well-documented fan of that album (and of that song), I wouldn’t normally advocate this kind of thing, but I think the fact that White — whose easy, effortless lilt is about a hundred million miles away from Caleb Followill’s pained (if undeniably compelling) yowl — can put her own spin on an instantly iconic rock tune and hold her own doing so proves that a truly great song can withstand whatever the hell you throw at it. The Buzz loves ya, Brooke baby.

If you’re searching for a dark horse contender this summer, fail to overlook “American Idol” season six victor Jordin Sparks, who is coming on mighty strong with the smashing “Battlefield,” the lead single and title track from her sophomore album. Written and produced by pop’s latest virtuosic knob-twiddler Ryan Tedder, the tune is an explosive triumph for Sparks, whose bubbly, sugary-sweet previous output — most notably “No Air,” her monster hit duet with Chris Brown — has all been of the guilty pleasure variety at best. All I know is, if the rest of the album sounds like this, it’ll stand as one of the most stunning musical about-faces of the decade. Let’s find out together.

He was one of the ringleaders of the alt-rock explosion of the mid-’90s, and his freaky smash “Girlfriend” remains a radio staple; she was at the forefront of the iconic ’80s pop group The Bangles, and her sterling solo work in the ’90s (particularly her brilliant cover of The Lightning Seeds’ “All I Want,” which shamefully remains unavailable at iTunes) went criminally ignored. Three years ago, having worked together on the Austin Powers films and having bonded over their shared love of the music of their youth, they teamed up to remake a handful of their favorite ’60s tunes (including riveting and raucous takes on The Left Banke’s “She May Call You Up Tonight” and The Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing”), and the result was spun gold. So this week, just in time for my birthday, Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs have reunited to tackle sixteen of their favorite ’70s tracks with Under the Covers, Vol. 2. Among the tunes I can’t wait to hear their take on: Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”; Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News”; Bread’s “Everything I Own”; and Todd Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me.” And if Vol. 2 is as terrific as Vol. 1 was, I can’t possibly imagine what will beat it out for album of the summer.

Also noteworthy this week:


  • Disney’s latest preordained princess Demi Lovato is up with her sophomore outing, Here We Go Again.

  • Canadian rockers Our Lady Peace return from an extended hiatus
    with their first album in four years, Burn Burn

  • Mark McGrath and the wayward souls of Sugar Ray have reconciled and are back with the cheekily titled Music for Cougars.

  • And, finally, if you’ve yet to commit to the marvelous self-titled debut from that great new Irish band The Script, it’s on sale this week at Best Buy, as part of their Find ‘Em First campaign, for the unbeatable price of $7.99.


2 responses to “i guess you better go and get your armor
(or: july 21 — a thumbnail sketch)”

  1. the buzz from A.:

    Happy birthday, Brandon! You are amazing!

  2. the buzz from brandon:

    You flammer me, sir. 🙂