The music of summer


New albums could save season; From Willie Nelson to Jonas Brothers, here are 10 releases.

New albums from big-name acts are looming on the horizon, which can only mean one thing: Summer is upon us.

The upcoming months are second only to the Christmas season in terms of their sales impact, and that means new albums are on deck from what are traditionally the biggest sellers in pop music. New recordings by Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and U2 haven't met expectations thus far. Can anyone resuscitate a year defined by its underwhelming chart performance? A few have a legitimate shot, no doubt. Throw in rumoured comebacks from Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston later in the year, and you've got a rolling, tumbling batch of recorded music lying in wait -- not to mention one heck of an iPod beach party playlist waiting to be made.

1. Eminem, Relapse. Due: April 19. Slim Shady set the stage for his sixth album by releasing a trio of tracks in advance, including Crack a Bottle, which features old Eminem cronies Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. More than four years have passed since Eminem's last studio album -- which, at the time, was considered to be his final bow -- but Relapse has fans buzzing: Crack a Bottle set a digital sales record during its first week. A second full-length, Relapse 2, is expected later in the year.

2. Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown. Due: May 15. The pop-punk act's first outing in five years, a concept record about the abbreviated state of the world, further explores the territory it mined on 2004's American Idiot. Life is still a mess in Green Day's eyes. The record is separated into three acts (Heroes and Cons, Charlatans and Saints, and Horseshoes and Hand Grenades) and comparisons to Queen and the Who aren't out of the equation. What we've heard thus far is immense. Expect huge things from what should be the rock record of the year.

3. Elvis Costello, Secret, Profane and Sugarcane. Due: June 2. Costello hasn't been a force on the sales charts in almost 20 years, but quality has never been an issue. Secret, Profane and Sugarcane is teeming with greatness, at least on paper. Costello made the album in Nashville with producer T-Bone Burnett, several country giants (Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris) and a slew of session giants.

4. Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D. Due: June 9. Pop-rap act Black Eyed Peas named its fifth full-length The Energy Never Dies for the club grooves included therein, some of which came courtesy of Toronto faves MSTRKRFT. The band, known for its partying ways, is hoping to capture that mojo in the studio. The inevitable tour to follow might be a safer bet or the band's grand ambition.

5. Jonas Brothers, Lines, Vines and Trying Times. Due: June 16. Disney dynamos the JoBros are shooting for world domination with their fourth album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times. There's also a TV series in production, so expect to hear a lot of the band throughout the year. Critics were somewhat kind to the band's previous release, 2008's A Little Bit Longer, but the band relies less on its pop-rock roots here, favouring instead brassy funk and Neil Diamond.

6. Lil Wayne, Rebirth. Due: June 23. The biggest rapper on the planet transforms himself into a rocker for Rebirth, which features cameos by Lenny Kravitz (!) and Avril Lavigne (?) and a power ballad (?!). Guest spots from Fall Out Boy and heaps of Auto-Tune only add to the identity confusion. Prediction? A flop of the most enormous variety.

7. Wilco, Wilco (The Album). Due: June 30. Wilco singer Jeff Tweedy and Canadian chanteuse Feist tango on You and I, the first single (and rare duet) from the acclaimed Chicago's band's seventh album. It's the first of many surprises. The exploratory sonics and studio manipulations that were absent on 2007's wishy-washy Sky Blue Sky have been restored, leaving fans hopeful of a return to the collective's early-2000s peak. Watch for Wilco, the Song and its soon-to-be-classic chorus, "Wilco will love you."

8. 50 Cent, Before I Self Destruct. Due: June 30. A half-dozen release dates have come and gone, and still no sight of Before I Self Destruct. That's bad vibes for 50 Cent's fourth album. The rapper has been eclipsed by everyone from Kanye West to Lil Wayne, so lowered expectations make sense. That said, with his label boss, Eminem, back in the public eye, and Dr. Dre producing again, Fiddy might have a comeback shot.

9. Willie Nelson, The Nearness of You. Due: Aug. 25. For many, the most beloved of Willie Nelson recordings is 1978's Stardust, which drew from the deep well of the Great American Songbook. He treads familiar waters with The Nearness of You (named for the Hoagy Carmichael-Ned Washington standard), which features guest turns from pianist Joe Sample and singers Norah Jones and Diana Krall.

10. Alice in Chains/Blink 182/Blur/Creed/Fugees/Happy Mondays/Sugar Ray/No Doubt/Stone Temple Pilots. Due: 2009. With ever-dwindling record sales robbing heritage acts of their income, most have turned to the road for sustenance. Feuds, bad blood and acrimony between members of long-dead bands have been put aside in pursuit of reunion tour dollars, as evidenced by the list of forthcoming studio albums by acts who reigned in the 1990s. These albums will come out, if only so that a lucrative tour can follow. Yuck.


  1. 为什么有点不好的感觉呢 ???总是拖,估计风格会和时代跟不上了啊 !我现在好担心的 啊 !不要和just whitney那样了啊!我都要等疯了啊!不知道有没有什么现在泄露出来的片段demo

  2. To 匿名的朋友:


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