It’s a real mixed bag for the biggest album releases today and the most popular is bound to be the accompanying CD release to the 12-12-12Benefit Concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The tracklisting reads like a who’s who of the biggest names in rock and pop, with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band contributing ‘Land of Hope And Dreams’ and ‘Wrecking Ball,’ whilst The Rolling Stones liven things up with ‘You Got Me Rocking’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’
And of course, a who’s who isn’t a who’s who without The Who, who also make an appearance, with ‘Who Are You,’ ‘Baba O’Riley’ and ‘Love Reign O’er Me.’ It’s very much a line-up full of (ahem) ‘experienced’ male musicians. The presence of Alicia Keys doesn’t exactly balance things out, as she sits there alone, with one track breaking up the compilation and ‘Empire State of Mind’ closing things out. The latter track, though, an affection paean to one of the cities destroyed by the hurricane, is an obvious highlight of this emotionally-weighted compilation.
Veteran soul singer Aaron Neville makes his debut on Blue Note, with My True Story. With a little help from his friends Keith Richards and Don Was, who took on the production duties, Neville works his way through a collection of R&B, soul and doo-wop standards. The years have been kind to Neville’s distinctive voice, which is equal parts vivacious and comforting on these vintage tracks.
Highlights include his cover of ‘Tears on my Pillow’ and ‘Under The Boardwalk,’ which is given a laid-back, jazzy vibe. The resulting response from the critics has been a warm one; it’s hard not to feel soothed by Aaron Neville’s enlightening tones and the material, it seems, has been an inspired choice.
Set You Free is the ninth studio album from country singer GARY ALLAN and he’ll be hoping for another Top 5 hit in the Billboard chart, just like his last three offerings. The lead single from the album, ‘Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain)’ was a hit in the US country charts and this 45 year old Californian is surely on track for another journey to the upper regions of the album charts.
LA punk stalwarts Bad Religion return with True North, their 16th album release. With three decades under their belts, Bad Religion still know how to pack a punch and their lyrical wordplay is still at the fore of what they do, with aggressive titles such as the plain-speaking ‘F*** You’ it’s clear that they’ve lost none of their ferocity. Their last few albums have just snuck into the Top 40, thanks to their enduring fan base and there’s no reason why True North shouldn’t follow the pattern and do just the same.