It’s 2:47am in Texas, and I’m wide frickin’ awake and watching that pulse-pounding Ultimate Rock Ballads infomercial that still kills me every time I see it, even a year later. I have updated the Buzz’s radio archive, I have made a Facebook event for my show with the great Suzy Bogguss next week, I have answered some emails, I have played Bejeweled, and now I’m going to try to tackle as much of this week’s record store report as I can before I fall asleep. There’s some true blockbusters in the mix this week, y’all, so dig in:


When irritating twitlets like Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat re-release albums that aren’t even one year old in enhanced “deluxe edition” sets, my ass gets thoroughly and enormously chapped. But when an indisputable classic album returns to the spotlight with a brilliant three-disc reinvention that is clearly worthy of the effort, I’ll bow in reverent deference ten times out of ten, honey. And you best believe the latter is what’s going to take place this week when I finally manage to get my hot li’l hands the sparkling new 15th anniversary commemorative edition of one of the ten best albums of the 1990s — Sheryl Crow‘s amazing debut record, Tuesday Night Music Club.


Teased to a knowing few via the luminous “Leaving Las Vegas” — still and forever, one of the finest debut singles in the history of pop music — and sent into orbit via the worldwide smashes “All I Wanna Do” and “Strong Enough,” Tuesday earned four Grammy nominations (and netted Crow three trophies, including one for Best New Artist) upon its release in 1994, and a decade and a half later, all of that brilliant music — from the rambunctious “Can’t Cry Anymore” to the bizarro “The Na-Na Song” — continues to hold up. (I dare you to think you can still say that about the material of Crow’s pop compadres like Lisa Loeb and Jewel!) And it has now been augmented with a 10-track bonus disc of b-sides and rarities, as well as a DVD containing the album’s videos and a documentary about Tuesday‘s tumultuous road to existence. Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season? Aww, baby, look no further.

This is It has Jackson fever continuing to raise the rafters, so what better time to remind the world that Michael’s sister Janet also managed to carve out quite a career in her own right, as you’ll recall instantly when you pick up the new two-disc, 34-track best-of collection Number Ones. You may think you already have all the Janet-related material you could ever need, but those sly dogs at A&M Records have sweetened the deal by including in this compendium a handful of hard-to-find tunes you may have forgotten about — like “Diamonds,” Jackson’s uncredited 1987 collaboration with Herb Alpert, and “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” her hit 1992 duet (recorded for the Mo’ Money soundtrack) with Luther Vandross. You may have a couple of quibbles with the tracklist here (particularly if you, like me, were a big fan of her lesser hits like “State of the World” and “Just a Little While”), but all things considered, this is as close to a home run as career retrospectives get.

Wholly in spite of the fact that she has some undeniably pretty tunes in her repertoire — I’ve always been partial to the lovely “Sunrise,” in particular — Norah Jones has never failed to bore me silly. But I’m happy to report that she picks up the pace considerably on her fourth album, The Fall, whose surprising lead single “Chasing Pirates” is downright playful. (For an artist who rarely gets out of sleepy lullaby mode, that’s a massive step forward.) Be sure you pick this up at Target, whose exclusive version comes bundled with a bonus live disc which contains smashing covers of Wilco’s “Jesus, Etc.” and Johnny Cash’s “Cry, Cry, Cry.”

Because her debut record — 2008’s 24-carat stunner Spirit — was such an unqualified knockout, I’m entirely unsure why the advance buzz on Echo, the sophomore effort from the brilliant Leona Lewis, is so damned muted. It’s quite true that, even though it’s ultimately quite a lovely song, this new album’s lead single “Happy” is a far cry from its predecessor’s opening salvo, the Grammy-nominated triumph “Bleeding Love,” but with Mariah Carey’s abject failure to connect with her latest album and with Celine Dion still laying dormant, Lewis would seem to have the flawless diva lane all to herself this fall, and I can’t fathom why more folks aren’t more excited about this record. (That’s doubly true now that I’ve actually heard it: Echo sags a bit in the middle, with one dip too many into Kylie Minogue’s bag of tricks, but it comes back swinging in the third act with “Lost Then Found,” a shattering, incendiary duet with the stupendous Ryan Tedder and OneRepublic. Trust me: if you buy nothing else on this list, buy this.)

My history as a John Mayer fan tracks out as follows: liked Room for Squares; worshiped Heavier Things; hated almost every second of Continuum; loved “Say,” his sweet one-off hit from The Bucket List last year. Onto that pile we can now toss Battle Studies, Mayer’s long-percolating fourth album, to which I gave a cursory half-listen last night while researching something for Brandon’s Buzz Radio, and while I’m ready to proclaim that it’s leagues better than Continuum — though, to be fair, I almost certainly could have done that without even opening the plastic — I haven’t a firm opinion yet, although I will say this: I totally understand why it’s on here, but man how I wish Mayer would have had the balls to jettison “Half of My Heart,” the simpy (and wholly unnecessary) duet with the ridiculously ubiquitous Taylor Swift. Even at his most treacly, he is so much better than this.

Critics hate them, fans love them, the Buzz adores them: that pretty much sums up the situation for Ryan Tedder and his spectacular band OneRepublic, who finally follow up their platinum plus debut smash Dreaming Out Loud with their sophomore effort Waking Up. Because I kept Leona in the CD player for a second spin last night, I didn’t get to this disc, so I have no idea how it sounds, but Tedder has said in several interviews that it’s a much more energetic outing than Dreaming, which was rather a somber affair (albeit brilliantly so) on balance. I do know this much, though: if the rest of Waking sounds as fiery and as fun as “All the Right Moves,” the album’s delicious lead single, you can certainly count me in.

Also noteworthy this week:


  • This year’s American Idol winner — that ready-made heartthrob
    Kris Allen — makes landfall with his self-titled debut.

  • Hot on the heels of their Grammy-nominated walk through the
    Motown songbook, Boyz II Men broaden their view this week with Love, a covers collection of classic ballads which includes, perhaps nonsensically, a version of The Goo Goo Dolls’ touchstone “Iris.”
    (I swear I’m not making that up!)

  • Another classic debut record gets the “deluxe edition” makeover this week, as Keane‘s 2004 breakthrough Hopes and Fears gains a bonus disc of remixes and rarities.

  • Those pop-punk gods Fall Out Boy take a moment to reflect with Believers Never Die, a CD/DVD collection of greatest hits and videos.

  • If you’re just dying to hear “I Kissed a Girl” acoustic style, then that annoying horsefly Katy Perry is at your service with a recording of her appearance on MTV Unplugged.

  • And finally, a nine-disc, 168-track celebration of one of the greatest record companies of our time arrives in the form of Atlantic Records: The Time Capsule. Trust this: any collection that can pull the likes of Laura Branigan, Tori Amos, Mr. Big, Everything But the Girl, Peter Gabriel, and Jason Mraz onto the same swath of musical real estate is worth a serious second look.


1 response to “says his name is william but i’m sure
it’s bill or billy or mack or buddy
(or: november 18 — a thumbnail sketch)”

  1. the buzz from StinueReece:

    Wow loved reading this post. I added your feed to my blogreader!