Alicia Keys, Zeppelin vie for chart's top spot

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Alicia Keys

This week’s new releases boast several highly anticipated albums by superstars both young and old, as well as a few random discs (Creed, anyone?) that throw the proverbial monkey wrench into an otherwise solid lineup.

Alicia Keys " As I Am
Britney Spears’ Blackout was originally slated for a Nov. 13 release before it got bumped up to Oct. 30. Spears’ camp was rumoured to be afraid of how the pop diva would chart if she went head-to-head with Alicia Keys.

With Keys’ first single “No One” at the top of Billboard’s R&B and Hip Hop chart and at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, it’s no wonder Spears’ label was nervous. As I Am is also gaining hype for its song “Lesson Learned,” a duet with John Mayer that has leaked on the Internet.

The Hives " The Black and White Album
For its latest disc, the Hives recorded with hip-hop legends/producers Pharrell Williams and Timbaland. Although the Timbaland tracks were produced too late to make the final cut for The Black and White Album, the band is obviously testing a different sound. While this could have backfired, early reviews suggest the Hives’ experiments have created an exciting new record, with near-perfect ratings across the board.

The Killers " Sawdust
This disc is one for the Killers’ hardcore fans. The album offers a few new songs (including a duet with glam rock legend Lou Reed), but most tracks were previously released as B-sides on the band’s singles. Still, Sawdust is not a money grab. The album is filled to the brim with 17 songs, including covers of classic rock songs and reinterpretations of the Killers’ hits.

Duran Duran " Red Carpet Massacre
With Timbaland and Justin Timberlake producing the album, Duran Duran’s latest effort is generating a lot of buzz. Lead single “Falling Down” " with a music video about a rehab-bound Britney Spears look alike and backing vocals and production by Spears’ ex, Timberlake " is catching steam online, and not just for its celebrity gossip tie-in.

Led Zeppelin " Mothership
Clocking in at over two hours, this two-disc compilation is a valiant attempt to satisfy diehard Led Zeppelin fans. Composed of songs hand-picked by the surviving members of the band, each disc is filled with their most famous and best-loved songs. If “Best Of” albums are often denounced as proof of a band’s greed, consider this an exception " Led Zeppelin is probably one band that deserves to have its best songs reissued.

Creed " My Own Prison (Re-Release)
As (arguably) one of the most hated " or, at least, spoofed " faux-grunge bands of the ‘90s, it is surprising that Creed’s debut album is receiving a 10th-anniversary re-release. Lead singer Scott Stapp’s throaty growl and melodramatic lyrics may not be for everyone, but if you are a fan of Creed this reissue has plenty to offer. The two-disc set contains several never-before-heard live and acoustic tracks.

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