By Ellen Simonson
Daily Cougar Staff
Releases from Jay-Z, Willie Nelson, Snoop
Dogg's youngest protégé Lil' Bow Wow, Bell Biv DeVoe, Wu-Tang
Clan and Mystikal led a parade
of new albums over the 2001 holiday season.
Photo courtesy of Roc-a-fella
Jay-Z made his fellow New
Yorkers proud with a memorable performance on MTV's Unplugged, which is
now available on CD.
On Jay-Z Live ... MTV Unplugged, Jigga's
usual samples are missing, replaced by the rhythm section from the ultra-talented
Roots. The result
is a funkier sound for Jay-Z, with more
room for freestyle and experimentation.
If you were lucky enough to catch the performance
on MTV or MTV2, you're more than likely going to want to get your hands
on a copy of the
CD. Jay-Z's Unplugged was one of the best
episodes in MTV's history, ranking up there with Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey
and Paul McCartney.
Believe it or not, country guru Willie
Nelson covers '80s sensation Cyndi Lauper on his newest release, The Great
Divide. The album also
features duets pairing Nelson's unmistakable
voice with the vocal stylings of Brian McKnight, Kid Rock and Le Ann Womack.
Lil' Bow Wow, the 14-year-old Columbus,
Ohio, native whose 2000 debut album Beware of Dog brought him fame, fortune
and rave reviews,
released Doggy Bag on Dec. 18. Bow Wow's
status as role model is furthered on Doggy Bag, with its intelligence and
parent-friendly lack of
Early-1990s r&b sensation Bell Biv
Devoe returns this season with Bbd. Ricky Bell, Michael Bivens and Ronnie
Devoe have mostly been
dormant since 1993's commercial failure
Their bad sales eventually led to a reunion
with their New Edition buddies Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill and Mr. Whitney
Houston (a.k.a Bobby
After a mediocre reunion album and a tour
that was doomed from the start (Brown did not get along with Gill on the
road), NE called it quits
again. Each member ventured into solo
projects and Bell Biv Devoe reunited to record Bbd. The new CD shows the
passage of time with its
stronger hip-hop focus.
Old-school veterans Wu-Tang Clan are back
as well with a release titled Wu-Tang Iron Flag. Highlights include "Rules,"
Ghostface Killah reacting to the events
of Sept. 11: "Mr. Bush, sit down, I'm in charge of the war."
New Orleans native Mystikal was one of
the first Southern rappers to meet with superstardom with his 1997 release
Unpredictable. His latest,
Tarantula, is an attempt to repeat the
rousing success of 2000's Let's Get Ready.
Virtual unknown Starsailor, described by
NME magazine as comprised of "four young men who simply play guitars and
keyboards and sing
beautifully about human relationships,"
have a new release this week with Love Is Here.
Several big releases are due out Tuesday,
as well. Johnette Napolitano and the other members of her seminal '80s
Los Angeles punk band,
Concrete Blonde, have reunited to release
Group Therapy, and the bizarrely lovable B-52s are also back with a compilation
(Nude on the Moon).
"Where Were You (When the World Stopped
Turning)," the first single from Alan Jackson's upcoming 11th release Drive,
has already reached
No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles
and Tracks chart.
Other albums debuting tomorrow include
Linda Ronstadt's Cristal: Glass Music through the Ages, the Shiners' Bonnie
Blue and Tim Aaron's
Cut to the Chase. Marvin Gaye, Neil Diamond
and Patti LaBelle also have re-issues scheduled for this week.
During the month of January, keep your
eyes peeled for new releases from such artists as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
The late Indian vocalist
passed away in 1997 and is best known
to some in this country for his collaborations with Pearl Jam.
Other January releases include albums from
The Chemical Brothers, Cracker, Dream Theater, punk veterans Bad Religion,
Felix da Housecat,
the verbally fascinating KRS-One, Boston
ingenue Mary Lou Lord, Scottish rockers Teenage Fanclub and Hank Williams
Kylie Minogue returns in 2002 with Fever,
set for release in February. The album is already double platinum in the
United Kingdom, and the
video for its first single, "Can't Get
You Out of My Head," premieres Jan. 24 on MTV2.
Indie darling Liz Phair's first release,
Exile in Guyville, was a song-for-song response to the Rolling Stones'
Exile on Main Street, but it was the
single "Supernova" off 1995's Whip-Smart
that made her a household name.
Phair has a new album in the works as well
-- Down, scheduled for release later this year.
Everybody's favorite South African frat-rocker
Dave Matthews and his band went into the studio this month to record an
album prior to their next
The release will contain re-recordings
of the "Lillywhite Sessions," DMB's collaborations with producer Steve
Lillywhite, which were scrapped in
favor of the glossier material on the
band's most recent release, Everyday.