ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Fall Preview 2003:
AVRIL LAVIGNE: MY WORLD
most artists try to put out more than, say, one album before
releasing a live recording, Avril Lavigne seems intent on challenging
that convention. Lavigne will be releasing both a live CD and
DVD featuring performances from her recent world tour. The DVD
will include behind-the-scenes antics of the skater-punk teeny-bopper
turned sex symbol (hey, she'll be 19 in a couple of weeks, guys).
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN:
DEAR CATASTROPHE WAITRESS
The U.K. folk-rock act Belle & Sebastian's highly anticipated
album Dear Catastrophe Waitress marks the thirteenth release
in an ear-delicious string of LPs and EPs. The first single,
"Step Into My Office, Baby," has U.K. airplay, so
look for the track floating around the Internet for a preview.
Earlier this summer, B & S signed a four-album deal with
Rough Trade Records and many are curious to see if this has
brought on any musical changes to the seven-person ensemble.
Their previous label is also releasing a retrospective DVD entitled
Fans Only. FYI: Out of seven members, there's not a Belle nor
Sebastian in the group.
Where Wainwright wants to go is on the radio with what is expected
to be a more mainstream album. Working with producer Marius
DeVries (Soul II Soul, Bjšrk), the often-theatrical stylings
of Wainwright should still be intact as he forgoes the usual
love themes to pen some maturer tunes about the consequences
with all the top R&B producers - the Neptunes, Jermaine
Dupri, R. Kelly and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis - Usher will divulge
the truth on his latest disc, Confessions. After the breakup
with Chili from TLC, perhaps there will be some more personal
material alongside the obligatory sexy songs.
bitch is back. Courtney Love, the woman who seems to be off
her rocker half the time, releases her first solo record. With
an aim to write a big hit, Love worked with Linda Perry, who
has found success with Pink and Christina Aguilera. But the
difference is probably that Love is the real deal; she's a completely
insane lunatic which is what every rocker should be.
NELLY FURTADO: FOLKLORE
It's been two years since Portuguese-Canadian b-girl Nelly Furtado
burst onto the mainstream scene virtually out of nowhere, winning
over ears and hearts with her eclectic, funky brand of pop music.
Now, in 2003, she's a little bit older, a bit wiser and a lot
more pregnant. The 23-year-old singer is expecting her first
baby in September and her eagerly-awaited second album, Folklore,
promises a new direction for Furtado, including forays into
folk, rock and trip-hop. The first single, "Powerless"
is due to hit the airwaves during the last week of September.
CLAY AIKEN: CLAY AIKEN
Despite falling behind Ruben, runner-up Clay Aiken has managed
to stand apart from the crowd. His rendition of Simon and Garfunkel's
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" and his own, "This
is the Night," have received ample airplay across North
America, leaving listeners eager to hear his full-length album.
Although the release date is a month away, Aiken already ranks
13th on Amazon.com sales; far better than his competitor Ruben,
who currently ranks a far from impressive 433rd.
RUBEN STUDDARD: SOULFUL
American Idol Ruben Studdard has been living up his new found
fame. After being part of The American Idols Live! Tour, Ruben
is currently working and polishing his debut album, Soulful.
Fans can look forward to hearing an interesting choice of collaborations
including those with Fat Joe, as well as the infamous R. Kelly.
THE SHINS: SHOOTS
In their first perfectly-crafted summer album, The Shins demonstrated
they had the ability to build a full album around a central
sound that felt vaguely retro and yet, not at all dated. The
new album is eagerly awaited by their faithful cult-following
as a progression from their first, with the hopes The Shins
can retain their charm while experimenting in form and sound.
MANDY MOORE: COVERAGE
takes a music history lesson and the result is a new album of
cover songs that will help make bubble gum pop hits like "Candy"
a distant memory. In addition to songs like Elton John's "Mona
Lisas and Mad Hatters" and rumoured first single - a cover
of XTC's "Senses Working Overtime" (no, this isn't
a joke) - the record also includes back-up vocals by Evan Dando
and Dan Wilson of Semisonic.
Best of the '90s
When artists suffer from a lack of new material but still want
to sell albums, the answer is simple: compile a best-of album.
This season, some of the '90s most popular alternative artists
are back with some greatest hits. Stone Temple Pilots' Thank
you will be out Nov. 4, while R.E.M.'s In Time: The Best of
R.E.M. 1988-2003 will be out Oct. 27 and will be packaged with
two new songs, "Animal" and "Bad Day." Also
look for compilations by Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers
and Tori Amos - who also attempts to be original by releasing
two new songs to a track list of old material.
Also look for Elvis Costello's
North (Sep. 23), Limp Bizkit's Results May Vary (Sep. 23), Matmos'
The Civil War (Sep. 23), The Clipse's Hell Have No Fury (Oct.
7), Ludacris's Chicken & Beer (Oct. 7), Joe Strummer &
The Mescaleros's Street Core (Oct. 7), Nas's The Lost Tapes,
Vol. 2 (Oct. 14), Sarah McLachlan's Afterglow (Nov. 4) as well
as new albums by Alicia Keys, Korn, Jay-Z and Blink-182.