The last few months of the year – known in the music industry as “fourth quarter,” or “Q4” if you’ve into brevity- is when a number of superstar acts release their new albums, in anticipation of the all-important Christmas buying season. Here’s a few releases by legendary artists, as well as a couple who are on their way towards that status.
Paul McCartney – New (10/15, Concord)
It should come as no surprise that Paul McCartney‘s musical talents don’t recognize genre barriers. Electronic music? Check: he did it with his Fireman project and his collab with Bloody Beetroots. Classical: see his Ocean’s Kingdom score. Pop standards? Check: 2012’s Kisses On The Bottom. Blues-metal? “Cut Me Some Slack,” from bro Dave Grohl’s Sound City project. Now, with the help of producers Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns, Giles Martin (son of Sir George) and Paul Epworth, he returns to his solo career.
Sting – The Last Ship (9/24, Cherry Tree/Interscope)
If the following sentence doesn’t make you roll your eyes and hope for another Police album, this new record might be your pick for the fall: “The album is inspired by Sting‘s forthcoming play [which] explores the central themes of homecoming and self-discovery, drawing upon his memories of growing up in the shadow of the Swan Hunters Shipyard in Wallsend.” Oh yeah, Brian Johnson from AC/DC guests on it. For reals. What do those guys have in common? Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame class of ’03, ya’ll!
Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt (10/15, Republic)
In the years since Pearl Jam last released an album, Eddie Vedder did an album on a ukulele, Jeff Ament dressed up in orange and made and album with Joseph Arthur under the name RNDM, and Matt Cameron reunited with Soundgarden (he is a member of both bands). Lightning Bolt‘s first single and video, “Mind Your Manners,” recalls “Do The Evolution” and shows their punk rock roots more than their last album or two did.
Cher – Closer to the Truth (9/24, Warner Brothers)
There’s no reinventing Cher. But with her new platinum hair and her first album in 12 years, making this her — wait for it — twenty-sixth studio album, she’s got one good last shot at it. At 67, and with a three times the career of Katy Perry or Lady Gaga and six decades worth of chart hits, she said it herself in a recent interview: “This is as good as I’m ever going to do.” With age comes wisdom, beauty, and hopefully truth.
Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull (9/24, RCA)
What do you get when four drunk southern millionaires record rock music in a barn? Mechanical Bull. Will the disc have big crowd pleasers? If “Supersoaker” is any indication, you can bet the farm on it.