The post-Thanksgiving hangover has faded, and it’s pretty much all downhill from here, with only a handful of major releases left on the calendar before the clock strikes twelve and all the rest of this fall’s new records jockeying for berths in Christmas stockings the world over. Take a peek:


  • Those infernal, insufferable Black Eyed Peas are back on the block with The Beginning, which includes their heinous reinvention of Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ Oscar-winning theme song from Dirty Dancing. (It’s bad enough that them flipin’ Glee kids had to go and fuck with this inviolable classic from my childhood, but listening to Fergie try this one on for size literally makes me want to puncture my poor eardrums with a chewed-up Bic pen cap.)
  • Speaking of those chirpin’ churren from McKinley High’s New Directions: Glee: The Music, Volume 4, the latest collection of covers from Fox’s smash television series, contains a handful of highlights from this season’s first half, including the cast’s exhilarating take on Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and newcomer Darren Criss’ sweetly affecting remake of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

  • Her terrific 2008 album Rockferry was a Grammy-winning sensation
    that had us all begging for mercy; this week, my favorite Welsh goddess this side of Bonnie Tyler — the divine Duffy — follows up her debut with a sophomore effort, Endlessly.

  • Led by their current radio smash “Rhythm of Love,” those pesky
    Plain White T’s return with their latest record, Wonders of the Younger

  • She’s been playing it cool in the four years since her explosive breakthrough with 2007’s The Reminder, but Feist is back this week with the new CD/DVD combo Look At What the Light Did Now, which documents the making of Reminder and contains live performances captured on the world tour she mounted to support the record.

  • Anybody out there remember El DeBarge? The terrific work he turned in with the family band that bore his surname landed them a string of huge hits in the mid-to-late ’80s, and he returns to the spotlight with a new solo effort, Second Chance.

  • As was tipped off in yesterday’s dispatch from the hive, the fabulous Natasha Bedingfield is back this week with her third album, Strip Me.

  • Country icon Tim McGraw neatly ties up nearly two decades of consistent success with a new two-disc retrospective entitled, simply, Number One Hits.
  • Up-and-coming singer/songwriter Diane Birch returns this week with a new digital EP, The Velveteen Age, which includes a funky cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ brilliant breakthrough “Kiss Them for Me.”
  • If you missed its very limited theatrical run this past summer, don’t fail to catch up with the new documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty
    a stirring (and surprisingly gripping) chronicle of the return to prominence of Disney’s animation division, which had become an embarrassing afterthought in the years since Walt had passed on, and which, thanks to a series of key personnel moves and creative risktaking, enjoyed a staggering renaissance beginning with the arrival of 1989’s Oscar-winning instant classic The Little Mermaid — on DVD.
  • Finally, head on down to your local Barnes and Noble this week and pick up their exclusive DVD edition of Davd Gray‘s recent appearance on PBS’ magnificent music series Live from the Artists’ Den. (And since you’re there anyway, go ahead and pick up similar exclusive Den DVDs from Patty Griffin and the ferocious Tori Amos; I dare you to tell me you wouldn’t love to spend the rest of the year bisecting the corners of that equilateral triangle!)

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