November kicks off with a bang, as country’s hottest-selling lass is back with her hotly-anticipated third album, which has her working with some eyebrow-raising collaborators. Dig in:


Pop music’s venerable Now series is back this week with a pair of new entries, as recent radio hits from A’s beloved Black Eyed Peas (their record-breaking number one smash “I Gotta Feeling”), Jordin Sparks (the terrific “Battlefield”), Katy Perry (“Waking Up in Vegas,” a guilty pleasure if I ever heard one), Michael Franti and Spearhead (their cheeky top 40 breakthrough “Say Hey (I Love You)”), and others punctuate Now That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 32; and a fascinating cross-section of unforgettable club smashes from the past three decades turn up on Now That’s What I Call Dance Classics!, including any number of one hit wonders from the likes of The Weather Girls (“It’s Raining Men,” with the amazing Martha Wash blowing the roof off the joint), CeCe Peniston (“Finally”), Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock (their oft-sampled touchstone “It Takes Two”), and others. This is all well and good, mind you, and will probably find its way into my collection, since I have a profound weakness for this kind of thing. But please don’t tell me I’m the only one who is shattered by the Now folks’ decision to omit Everything But the Girl’s legendary 1996 monster hit “Missing” from this tracklist. Gotta tell you, guys: Todd Terry’s brilliant decision to lay down a furiously insistent house beat just beneath Tracey Thorn’s abominably sexy croon made for what I call a dance classic every damn day o’ the week. Recognize.

You may think the world needs another
Bee Gees hits compilation like it needs another outbreak of polio, and you may well be right, but I urge you to give The Ultimate Bee Gees some serious consideration nonetheless: forty of their best-loved classic hits are spread across this set’s two audio discs (alongside a bonus DVD containing eighteen videos and live performances), and in addition to “Stayin’ Alive” and “Too Much Heaven” and “You Should Be Dancing” and all the other usual suspects, Ultimate also has the supreme intelligence and grace to include gorgeously remastered mixes of some of the band’s brilliant later (and, sadly, largely forgotten) output — including their criminally overlooked 1988 gem “You Win Again” (would you flog me if I admitted that’s my favorite-ever BG tune?), their 1989 smash “One” (the band’s final top ten radio hit), and their strong 1997 comeback effort “Alone” — which can at long last replace the horridly recorded original versions in my (and, hopefully, in your) iPod.

2010 marks fifteen years since Sherry Ann’s future husband Dave Grohl (who, by that time, had already been to the top of the music mountain once, with Nirvana) exploded onto the scene with his latest rock band Foo Fighters, and this week, they stop to reflect as they unleash a collection of their Greatest Hits. A few curious omissions aside (where the hell is “Next Year”?), this is probably as good a Foos primer as you could ever hope to find, with everything from “Big Me” to “My Hero” to “Learn to Fly” to “The Pretender” present and accounted for, and if you’ve been hesitant to get onboard this train, here’s your chance to hit the highlights.

Some two million individual downloads of various tracks have already been sold in the two months since the series hit the air, and now Fox has teamed up with Columbia Records to give their deranged new fall smash a full-length soundtrack. Glee: The Music, Volume 1 contains seventeen covers from the series’ opening episodes, including the show-stopping cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” from the brilliant pilot, and Kristin Chenoweth’s riveting take on Heart’s late-’80s classic “Alone” (done here as a duet with Glee’s fearless — and priceless — ensemble leader Matthew Morrison, whose game cover of Kanye’s “Gold Digger” can also be found here). (Be sure and grab this at Target, whose exclusive version contains three bonus tracks, including a hilarious group take on Color Me Badd’s ’90s chestnut
“I Wanna Sex You Up.”)

Her first two records — 2005’s Some Hearts and 2007’s Carnival Ride — were both critical and commercial triumphs, and now the country world’s current crown princess Carrie Underwood is ready to unveil her latest project, Play On. Clearly having had her cage rattled by the ravishing out-of-nowhere pop success being enjoyed right now by Taylor Swift, Underwood is undeniably making a bid for a Shania-style crossover this time out, enlisting the likes of virtuosic pop doctors Kara DioGuardi, Max Martin and Mike Elizondo to co-write and produce key tracks, which is bound to hack off more than a few folks down on Music Row. Haven’t heard it yet, but I’ll admit the lead single “Cowboy Casanova” leaves me a bit flat.

Also noteworthy this week:


  • The Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas is up with his solo debut, Phrazes for the Young.

  • Don’t be surprised if the biggest winner to emerge from Michael Jackson’s stunning film This Is It ends up being Orianthi, the shockingly talented young woman who was to be Jacko’s guitarist during his final set of shows. Her latest album, Believe, drops this week, and the buzz on her is headed toward deafening.

  • My Christmas, a seasonal offering from Andrea Bocelli.

  • Keep an ear out this fall for “Learning to Fly,” the standout track on Kate Earl‘s new self-titled release.

  • New tracks from Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, and
    John Mellencamp highlight NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack, Vol. 2.


1 response to “a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night
(or: november 4 — a thumbnail sketch)”

  1. the buzz from A.:

    A word or two on the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling”: this may well be the only pop or rock song with the words “mazel tov” in it, at least it must be the most popular! Indeed, other than “Tevye’s Dream” from Fiddler on the Roof, this is the only song with those words in my iTunes collection.