The new release wall returns to Earth this week following last week’s end-of-August blowout, with only one truly major release commanding your attention. Take a look:


Summer’s biggest blast of pure pop fun, the brilliantly wacky “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” — which masterfully marries a flamenco guitar with a pulsing techno beat, and then tosses in a measure of deep-voiced Spanish rap and sex talk, just for the hell of it — finally gets a full-length album to surround it, as Miami rapper Pitbull releases his fourth record, Rebelution, this week. Akon, Lil Jon, Slim and others drop by to collaborate, and while it’s not clear how the rest of the album will stack up against “Want Me” — and you can damn well bet no fewer than fifteen DJs and producers are trying right this very minute to deconstruct that track and figure out exactly why it works so well — there’s no question that the ‘Bull has just taken his burgeoning career to the next level, and is ready for takeoff.

A one-disc abridgment of the brilliant double-length set they released last year through their website, Dreams finds those brave, bold geniuses at Time-Life in fine form as they compile classic smash hits from Shawn Colvin (her signature “Sunny Came Home”), The Calling (their terrific 2000 breakthrough “Wherever You Will Go”), Edwin McCain (his top 40 staple “I’ll Be”), Shawn Mullins (“Lullaby,” one of the ’90s defining one hit wonders), and ten other artists into a ridiculously enjoyable listening experience that is now available for the first time on the mass market. If you’re up for it, you should really spring for the original two-disc collection, but this distillation will absolutely do in a pinch.

My comprehensive thoughts on this record — along with a playlist of essential tracks from its artist’s legendary career — are coming later in the week, so let it suffice to say that, even in a slightly diminished capacity and form, it’s damn great to see the divine Whitney Houston back on the block. Houston returns this week from a seven year hiatus with her fifth studio album,
I Look to You, and even though it’s far from her best — although, to be fair, I liked it much better the second time through than I did the first — it’s leaps and bounds above 2002’s dreadful Just Whitney…. I wish not to scoop myself any further, so I’ll stop there. Check back here later this week.

Also noteworthy this week:



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