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Old 10-30-2004, 10:50 AM   #1
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(10-30-2004) Sounds of the Season -- The Courier-Journal*

Sounds of the Season

U2, Eminem, Destiny's Child — Who wins the fall music showdown?

By Jeffrey Lee Puckett • October 30, 2004
jpuckett@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

A reunited Destiny's Child — Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé and Michelle Williams — will release "Destiny Fulfilled" Nov. 16.

If all the records released during the annual fall music onslaught were theoretically raked into a pile alongside all those leaves you've theoretically raked, said pile would rival Nelly's latest diamond necklace in both girth and gaudiness.

But what about greatness? In some high-profile cases, that remains to be seen. Or heard.

Some superior albums – by artists such as Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen – designed to cash in on the coming Christmas rush have already dropped. But the truly huge records, the ones around which holiday sales will revolve, are still to come. Those knighted few are expected to be both commercial and critical success stories, with the kind of star power that can make or break retail's happiest season.

U2, Eminem and a reunited Destiny's Child are the big guns with potential to blow a hole through Christmas, but right behind are Jay-Z & R. Kelly (together again), Snoop Dogg and Gwen Stefani.

For music lovers and those who rely on easily wrapped gifts, fall releases are pure gold. But for retailers needing one last sales push, they're pure green.

"Blockbuster hits drive traffic to stores," said ear X-tacy owner John Timmons, who added that a band's current hit will spur sales of its older albums. "All in all, we'll sell a fair amount of blockbuster titles, but when the day is done, we'll end up selling more of My Morning Jacket, VHS or Beta and Interpol than the above big titles."

Here's a closer look at the major and second-tier titles you'll need to know to better your music collection and/or satisfy that nephew in baggy jeans and Michael Vick jersey.

Gizmo maven Ric Manning also has provided a guide to downloading them in the accompanying sidebar.

The champeens

U2, "How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb"(Nov. 23) — The first single, "Vertigo," has jacked up anticipation enormously for an album said to embrace full-on rock 'n' roll. Another song getting advance praise is "Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own," a strong ballad that Bono wrote for his late father. "You don't have to put up a fight, you don't have to always be right, let me take some of the punches for you tonight" refers to the many nights Bono sat by his father's bedside.

Eminem, "Encore" (Nov. 16) — Slim Shady is back. Eminem's most popular alter ego is said to dominate "Encore," which features tracks produced by Eminem and Dr. Dre. Slim is also Eminem's handiest alter ego, as it allows him to lyrically destroy anyone and everyone. The targets chosen for the first single, "Just Lose It," are too easy, however. Michael Jackson, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice?

Destiny's Child, "Destiny Fulfilled" (Nov. 16) — Beyonce Knowles is an undisputed superstar with careers as a solo artist and actress, but fans still clamor for her to team with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. We wouldn't exactly call it a team effort, however, as the DC Web site reminds us that "Beyonce is a producer on all of the album's tracks, coming up with the concepts, vocal arrangements and being a tireless mastermind in the studio."

The contendahs

Gwen Stefani, "Love, Angel, Music, Baby" (Nov. 23) — Timmons calls this one a seasonal sleeper. Stefani, singer for No Doubt, has a huge following that transcends her band and extends into fashion, gossip and general star power. She has designed a limited-edition version of the CD that Billboard reports "will come in a fabric-wrapped, gold-embossed digipak and feature a book-style layout with a gold ribbon bookmark." A No Doubt collection, "Everything In Time: B-Sides," is already out.

Jay-Z & R. Kelly, "Unfinished Business" (Oct. 26) — This pair's business went unfinished when their first collaboration was derailed by Kelly's arrest in 2002 on child pornography charges. He and Jay-Z, who has retired from his solo career, are on "The Best of Both Worlds Tour." Many of the charges against Kelly have been dropped, and both performers remain enormously popular.

Snoop Dogg, "R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece" (Nov. 23) — This follow-up to 2002's "Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$" will again be a collaboration with the Neptunes, who helped Snoop finally get a No. 1 single with "Beautiful." Snoop has been busy since "Bo$$," starring in "Soul Plane" and starting Snoop Dogg's Youth Football Camp, at which you can "Learn how to pimp game on the football field," according to a statement.

The ones you buy when the others are sold out

Other notables include John Lennon, "Acoustic" (Nov. 2); Britney Spears, "Greatest Hits: My Prerogative" (Nov. 16); Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, "Crunk Juice" (Nov. 16); Chingy, "Powerballin'" (Nov. 16); soundtracks to "Team America: World Police" (Nov. 2) and "SpongeBob SquarePants" (Nov. 9).

Already out: R.E.M., "Around The Sun"; Good Charlotte, "Chronicles Of Life And Death"; Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, " The Place You're In"; Helmet, "Size Matters"; Sum 41, "Chuck"; Duran Duran, "Astronaut"; Mos Def, "The New Danger"; Jimmy Eat World, "Futures"; and Rod Stewart, "Stardust ... The Great American Songbook: Volume III."

Also, Simple Plan, "Still Not Getting Any"; Willie Nelson, "It Always Will Be"; Shannon Lawson, "Big Yee-Haw"; and Pavement's "Crooked Rain Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins,"a two-disc anniversary edition with 37 extra tracks and a 40-page booklet.

And the winner is ...

... nearly impossible to predict.

Among the handful of records with the potential to dominate, the demographics are spread wildly. A Destiny's Child fan also might buy Stefani, but not U2. A U2 fan might be into Eminem, but never Destiny's Child (although Snoop is a possibility).

And an Eminem fan doesn't give a flip about anyone except Eminem.

"We'll sell some of all of them, but being a bookstore, we'll lean toward U2 and Rod Stewart," said Dave Regneri, multimedia supervisor at Borders Books & Music in the Shelbyville Road Plaza.

We're going with U2, followed closely by Eminem. Ultimately, U2's better demographics and international profile will win out, even though Em is likely to score the first sales blow.

Timmons concurs.

"It was U2 that I was psyched about back in the early '80s. I had their record before it came out in the states. I saw their first U.S. TV appearance on the Tom Snyder show. I saw them play in Louisville Gardens, opening for the J. Geils band, getting unmercifully booed by all the 'Love Stinks' crowd.

"Yeah, people say they've sold out. Who hasn't? The new single leads me to believe that they still have 'it,' whatever that is."
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Old 10-30-2004, 01:07 PM   #2
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Old 10-30-2004, 01:31 PM   #3
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Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own is really getting big ovations everywhere... A new U2 classic, maybe?
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
"You don't have to put up a fight, you don't have to always be right, let me take some of the punches for you tonight"
I'm not going to be able to deal with this song. $50 says I'm going to burst into tears.
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:47 PM   #5
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Originally posted by saltwaterkiss26

I'm not going to be able to deal with this song. $50 says I'm going to burst into tears.
I agree. Got a lump in the throat from just reading that lyric. I think that's going to be one of them songs that pulls right at your heart..
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Old 10-30-2004, 07:59 PM   #6
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Just finished reading"Q"'s review of the album.They give it a 4 stars.Basically,it's The Edge album...and what an album.

23 more days.............
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