Let's assume that just about everyone pictured in the above graphic will sell pretty well. It is, after all, the 4th quarter, and people just purchase music all fast and loose for the holiday season. It's a fact! Most of these high-profile artists have released some iffy tracks so far, but have dedicated fans on their side as well as legions of Aunt Paulas that will blindly buy their nieces and nephews a good "record" for GP. Let us know what you plan to purchase in the comments, either for yourself or a loved one. I get that we're in a recession, but music, traditionally, is the cheapest and most useful gift to give.
Although I'm not overly impressed with most of the tracks promised for Brandy's Human, I am a dedicated fan and don't anticipate any severe disappointment. In spite of all the drama she's suffered in recent years, Brandy strikes me as a survivor and never comes across as an airhead or a diva. Sure she's made mistakes, but she's Human. The new album is mostly produced by Darkchild. Here's hoping their chemistry from earlier collaborations are still as fresh as ever. [Amazon 12/9]
Musiq was on our hitlist for a moment when "Radio" initially leaked, and even more once it was rumored that OnMyRadio would include appearances by Shawty Lo and Lloyd Banks. Turns out, we were hoodwinked (although "Radio" rears its ugly head at the album's close); there are no rap cameos unless you're pressed enough to classify Damian Marley as a rapper. It's so good I may just review it. [Amazon 12/9]
Avant has been out for eight years and I still know nothing about him. It seems he's always teetered on the edge of complete obscurity but manages to drop one or two solid enough tracks that occupy us for at least a little while. Perhaps that will change on his self-titled release. One thing we can surmise so far is that he's quite swole in the clip for "Break Ya Back," and he's probably itching to absorb all those R. Kelly comparisons by featuring the Platinum Pied Pisser on "Y.O.U." The album includes production by Collipark (can't get more grown or sexy than the man that orchestrated "Wait 'til you see my d***"), Bryan Cox and some new-fangled incarnation of The Trackmasters. [Amazon 12/9]
Common's Universal Mind Control is already getting hellacious feedback, some even saying it pales in comparison to 808s & Heartbreak. We're not sure exactly what that means, but it's frightening nonetheless! Common at his worst is still pretty good, like cold pizza, so we're hoping this contractually-obligated collection of Seeing Sounds rejects will hold us over until his inevitable return to form. [Amazon 12/9]
Alice Russell is one of those artists that is in "The Safe Zone" around these parts, eliciting some warranted reverence and adoration on SoulBounce. Butta hipped us to Pot Of Gold back in October, but there was no official U.S. release date at the time. Luckily it drops this week, amid a sea of higher-profile commercial releases that look very hit-or-miss. Hopefully we have enough folks visiting this site that will give her as much attention as her mainstream American counterparts. [Amazon 12/9]
Although generally considered a Pop/Rock outfit, Maroon 5 has always found a place among Hip Hop and Soul lovers. Their remix album Call And Response, capitalizes on this with remixes from Swizz Beatz, ?uestlove, DJ Premier and more. The set also features appearances by Mary J. Blige, The Cool Kids and David Banner. [Amazon 12/9]
The down home, gritty Soul of Anthony Hamilton is always a welcome respite from the glossy, paint-by-the-numbers "R&B" that seems to dominate. Some were on the fence about his first single "Cool" featuring David Banner, but it's probably one of the most organic collaborations we've heard all year. The Point Of It All, predictably, is getting great reviews. Anthony always comes fresh, but feels as familiar as Mom's cooking. [Amazon 12/16]
If you're a Ghostface fan, then it goes without question that you'll be scooping Ghostdeini the Great. There are only a couple of instances of fresh material since this is mostly a hits and remixes compilation. Along with classics like "Apollo Kids" and "All I Got Is You", the album features remixes of "Run" with Jadakiss, Lil Wayne, Raekwon, and Freeway, as well as "Back Like That" with Ne-Yo and Kanye West. This compilation probably counts as the least expensive thing he's released in ages. [Amazon 12/16]
Keyshia Cole is back this year with some new wigs and a lighter, more optimistic sound on A Different Me. This is supposedly her Breakthrough, free of the pain and suffering that characterized her earlier releases. All of this pretense is unnecessary and unhealthy in that it encourages potentially unfair expectations for the album, especially since all of her songs haven't been that mired in heartbreak.The true test will be if her public persona lives up to this PR-generated mythologizing. [Amazon 12/16]
Take the multiple-choice poll. What are you buying this holiday season?