Winter Album Previews


Album: Tron: Legacy (Soundtrack)

Artist: Daft Punk

Record Label: Walt Disney Records

Release Date: Dec. 7

From the Frenchmen who came alive in 1997 comes an explosion of electric house music. Created to back the latest Tron sequel, the movie's soundtrack, Tron: Legacy, promises to be one of the best albums of the season.

Album: Wonders of the Younger

Artist: Plain White T's

Record Label: Hollywood Records

Release Date: Dec. 7

In 2006, "Hey There Delilah" was a staple on every Top 40 radio station. Since then, the Plain White T's have failed to excite legions of followers and have faded into memory. Perhaps they can rectify themselves with the new use of Tim Lopez's vocal chords on their upcoming release, Wonders of the Younger.

Album: No Mercy

Artist: T.I.

Record Label: Grand Hustle

Release Date: Dec. 7

Although he may have released the single "I'm Back" in March, T.I. will be hearing about his upcoming album release from behind bars. No Mercy includes collaborations with Kid Cudi, Eminem and Drake and has been heralded by the single "Get Back Up."

Album: Love Letter

Artist: R. Kelly

Record Label: Jive Records

Release Date: Dec. 14

From the Trapped in the Closet creator comes the new full-length album, Love Letter. If the Grammy-nominated first single of the album, "When a Woman Loves," is any indication of the quality of this CD, R. Kelly's latest effort should be a solid and traditional R&B album.

Album: Ironiclast

Artist: Damned Things

Record Label: The Island Def Jam Music Group

Release Date: Dec. 14

In an odd conglomeration of members from Every Time I Die, Anthrax and Fall Out Boy, the Damned Things are finally coming out with their debut album. This album should be picked up just to satisfy the curiosity of what this eclectic group is going to sound like.

Album: Best Night of My Life

Artist: Jamie Foxx

Record Label: J Records

Release Date: Dec. 21

The actor-comedian-singer is back to focusing on music, at least for the moment. Still riding on the coattails of 2008's Intuition, the classically trained Foxx exercises his R&B talents on his fourth studio album that also features Drake, Justin Timberlake, and Gucci Mane.

Album: Have it All

Artist: Jesse McCartney

Record Label: Hollywood Records

Release Date: Dec. 28

Although he has released several solo albums since 2006's Beautiful Soul, McCartney has generally fallen off the roller coaster of pop music. Quickly aging out of the pretty boy/boy band age, he has hopefully stepped up his sound in his newest album to avoid falling into obscurity once again.

Album: Whip My Hair

Artist: Willow

Record Label: Roc Nation Records

Release Date: Dec. 28

It wasn't bad enough that this kid had a single; now they've gone and given her a whole album with which to annoy anyone over the age of 10. With competition from talented singers like Jackie Evancho, this may be the only release that Will Smith's offspring sees.

Album: Steel Magnolia

Artist: Steel Magnolia

Record Label: Big Machine Records

Release Date: Jan. 11

The debut album of the Can You Duet season two winners follows up their Top 40 single, "Keep on Lovin' You." Providing more of the soulful country that the duo is known for, this album will be a welcome sight to anyone who fell in love with the group when they performed at UB.

Album: Thank You, Happy Birthday

Artist: Cage the Elephant

Record Label: Relentless Records

Release Date: Jan. 11

The Kentucky rock outfit comes back with its second studio album. After two years of touring off the continued success of its first album, this quintet will, with any luck, provide fans with the same level of quality listeners have become accustomed to.

Album: The King is Dead

Artist: The Decemberists

Record Label: Capitol Records

Release Date: Jan.18

Six albums deep into its career, the Oregon-based group is back with a new take on its ever-changing sound. Musically light, with the deep lyrics sung in the mildly nasally tone of Colin Meloy, The Decemberists have created an indi/prog rock fan base that will hopefully withstand the innovations in their newfound sound.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com