A pair of hotly anticipated comeback efforts, and another suffocating attack of acute Taylor-Swift-itis, punctuate this week’s new releases. Jump with care:


An out and proud lesbian with a gorgeously husky voice that is deeper than most men’s makes for the least likely pop star in modern music history. And yet that Canadian spitfire k.d. lang has defied all the odds, having put together a career replete with both critical and commercial success, and this week, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of her recording debut, lang stops to reflect with the new double-disc set Recollection. Pretty much everything that needs to be here is — the radio hits “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine”; her smashing duets with Roy Orbison (“Crying”) and Tony Bennett (“Moonglow”); and her triumphant covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me,” and Chris Isaak’s “Western Stars” — and for the truly devoted, there’s also a deluxe four-disc set which contains a bonus CD of live performances and DVD with music videos.

If her record company’s president is to be believed, she is the voice of a generation, even if that voice couldn’t carry a tune if you double-bagged it for her and duct-taped it to her fingers. Still, that irritating, multi-Grammy-winning moppet Taylor Swift is front and center with a pair of tunes on the original motion picture soundtrack for the new film — in which she not-so-coincidentally happens to star — Valentine’s Day. Also included: a new song from Jewel, noble covers of “The Way You Look Tonight” from Maroon 5 and “I’m Into Something Good” from The Bird and the Bee, and “Say Hey (I Love You),” the recent radio smash from Michael Franti and Spearhead.

She rarely grants interviews, she maintains an impenetrable wall of privacy and mystery (does anybody even know where she lives?!), she takes her sweet time in between recordings (three albums in the last eighteen years!), and the recordings she does turn in have a timeless, soothingly predictable vibe about them. But you don’t sell fifty million records — and, at that, largely without the benefit of overwhelming radio support — by accident, and there’s no doubt that Sade‘s worldwide cabal of rabid fans are salivating over the release of her sixth full-length album, Soldier of Love.

Also noteworthy this week:


  • Those canny cats at Thrive Records are back with a new collection of remixes, as the likes of Katy Perry, Adam Lambert, Madonna, and Boys Like Girls populate Dance Nation.

  • The divine Allison Moorer is up with her seventh studio album, Crows.

  • Another year, another two-disc concert recording from Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds; this time, the old friends are Live in Las Vegas.

  • I taped a conversation with the magnificent showbiz legend
    Lucie Arnaz this very morning (for airing next Tuesday night on Brandon’s Buzz Radio), and the thrust of our conversation was her latest album, Latin Roots. (Incidentally, in the aforementioned conversation, Arnaz tells a story about Emmy-winning One Life to Live star Robin Strasser that literally knocked my socks off — do not miss this.)

  • Rising country star Josh Turner goes Haywire on his latest outing.

  • I swear, even ten years later, every time “Laredo” pops up in an iPod shuffle, I get real happy; catch that tune and all the rest of The Best of Chris Cagle in his brand new hits collection.

  • Finally, those staggeringly brilliant trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack make a long-awaited comeback with Heligoland, their first record in nearly seven years.


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