Tony Clayton-Lea on CDs for October-November
It’s the busiest time of year for CDs. Prepare for more compilations than you can manage, more unnecessary Greatest Hits, more big names, more potential multi-million sellers.
First are new albums by Dido (title tbc/October) and Courtney Love (title tbc/October). The former is – so far, anyway – the biggest selling female artist of the 21st century, and she returns with a less glossy, more left-field record than you might expect. Production is courtesy of Jon Brion, which is a good thing, believe me. Love’s album is probably the final volley in a career of social and personal car crashes. She has brought on board Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan and songwriter for expensive hire, Linda Perry. Dylan is a major influence, apparently, so think of this as Love’s Blood on the Tracks.
We also welcome back Kylie (Lessons/October), which for many is the genuine comeback of the year, as the pert Australian addresses her battle with cancer as well as retaining her status as pop’s true princess. Songs for the album were written by (among others) r’n’b linchpin Teddy Riley, Boy George and Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears (the soon-to-be dancefloor anthem White Diamond).
Just as revered – albeit in a different way – is Joni Mitchell (Shine/October). The doyenne of singer-songwriters threatened never to record another original album, yet here she is singing new songs for the first time since 1998. Some are environmentally themed.
Another strong-minded female, Róisín Murphy (Over Powered/ October), adds to her list of credible, skilled projects with a record that marks her as one hell of an underrated songwriter. As is Alicia Keys (As I Am/October). This sees America’s Urban/soul queen in a somewhat more aggressive mood than heretofore. And speaking of aggression – the demeanor is sweetened a tad with The Undertones (Dig Yourself Deep/October 12th), but racked up to maximum with the 30th anniversary re-issue of the Sex Pistols: Never Nind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols (October 28th), one of the most important rock albums ever made.
Come November, there are a few major releases, notably from Ryan Adams (20:20/late November), who releases a CD box set of rarities. Included are five “lost” albums: Darkbreaker, 48 Hours, Pinkhearts, Black Hole and The Suicide Handbook, the latter described by Adams as “my most majestic piece ever”.
Those who thought they’d never see Led Zeppelin release another record may yet proved to be wrong. While their latest compilation (Mothership/November) features tracks chosen by Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, the rumour mill is going into overdrive that it will precede an album of new material and additional live dates in 2008.
A new album from Madonna used to be an event. Now, we’re not so sure. For her latest (title tbc/ November) she had help from Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams and Mika, so she clearly still has clout. Let’s hope it isn’t the first pre-Christmas turkey, though.
Also coming: Antony & the Johnsons, Apples in Stereo, Devendra Banhart, Elbow, The Feeling, Fiery Furnaces, Franz Ferdinand, Peter Gabriel, Diamanda Galas, Gnarls Barkley, Green Day, Guns N’Roses, Hal, Annie Lennox, Portishead, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Stereophonics, Rosie Thomas, Dwight Yoakam, Scott Walker.