A Look Ahead: The Upcoming Albums of 2007

This article was originally published in online magazine Pointless Banter on January 4, 2007.

The music rags have all been teeming in the last week or so with 2006 album lists – best of, worst of, least essential. I say, however, that the past is in the past, no one bought K-Fed’s album, and unfortunately, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Stadium Arcadium” didn’t even make my radar.

So, I thought I’d just take a gander into my crystal ball and talk about some of the upcoming releases for 2007. Some I’m looking forward to, some I don’t think ANYONE is looking forward to, and some are all-out potential disasters.

1. Scarlett Johansson – “Scarlett Sings Tom Waits”

I like Tom Waits as much as the next pseudo-indie snob, but the fact that it’s Tom Waits is indeed completely canceled out by the fact that I cannot ordinarily tolerate celebrities crossing genres. Why can’t actresses stick to acting, singers stick to singing, and people with no discernible talent whatsoever just do porn? (I’m looking right at you, Ashlee Simpson.) The buzz on this one, however, ranges from “lovely and unusual”, to “lost in translation”, to “I have no idea why she would do a Tom Waits cover album, but rest assured, I will have to give it a listen.” I’m falling into the third category on this one. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Coming out on Rhino Records in spring 2007.

2. Guns N’ Roses – “Chinese Democracy”

Hasn’t this album been in the works for, say, fifteen years? Nevertheless, if by some miracle this album actually does get released, I will be excited to give it a listen, despite the fact that anything they did after “Use Your Illusion” (and honestly, they peaked with Appetite For Destruction), was a travesty. Remember “The Spaghetti Incident”? The possible track list includes “Oh My God”, featured on the End of Days soundtrack in 1999, “Silk Worms”, “IRS”, and “There Was A Time”, listed on the Gn’R website as simply “TWAT.” Release is promised March 6, 2007 on Interscope/Geffen/A&M Records. I’m not holding my breath.

3. The Shins – “Wincing The Night Away”

This album was originally expected during the summer of 2006, has been bumped up several times, and from what I’m hearing, is completely worth the wait. Said to be inspired from a production standpoint by The Jesus And Mary Chain, “Wincing The Night Away” is at the very least, long overdue. (Their last album was released in 2003.) Potentially 10 tracks plus a short intro; release date January 23, 2007 on Sub Pop.

4. Van Morrison – “Van Morrison at the Movies: Soundtrack Hits”

Van Morrison is the sort of music that most people don’t think about. The sort that flies under the radar for the most part. Pick up a “Greatest Hits” album, however, and I guarantee you that you’ve heard nearly every song on the album. Not just heard. Liked. So this album is potentially a pretty unique offering, and has a terrific chance of being really good. Actually, scratch that. It’s good. I couldn’t resist having a look at the track listing for this one, and let me see, we have “Gloria” (The Outsiders), “Domino” (Clean and Sober), “Wild Night” (Thelma and Louise), “Moondance” (An American Werewolf in London), “Brown-Eyed Girl” (Born on the 4th of July), “Days Like This” (As Good As It Gets), “Comfortably Numb” (The Departed), and 12 other equally impressive offerings. Release date February 12, 2007; EMI Records.

5. New York Dolls – “New York Dolls”

I couldn’t resist putting this limited edition import on my list. This is a re-master of a Japanese pressing. If you like old-school classic punk rock, you probably can’t miss with this 11-track, which includes “Personality Crisis”, “Frankenstein”, “Bad Girl”, “Trash”, and others. The fact that it’s an import adds a few shekels to the price, but punk fans may feel it’s worth the dough. Release date March 14, 2007 on Universal Japan Records; original release 1973.

A Short List of the Potentially Listenable:

1. Fallout Boy – “Infinity on High.” Release date February 6, 2007, Island Records.

2. Elvis Presley – “The Essential Elvis Presley.” Release date January 2, 2007, BMG/Elvis Records.

3. Ozomatli – “Don’t Mess With The Dragon.” Release date March 27, 2007; Concord Records.

4. Courtney Love – “How Dirty Girls Come Clean.” Release date February 27, 2007; Custard Records.

5. Trans Am – “Sex Change.” Release date February 20, 2007; Thrill Jockey Records.

A Short List of the Completely Inexplicable:

1. Roxette – “A Collection of Roxette Hits: Their 20 Greatest Songs.” Release date January 16, 2007, Capitol Records.

2. Pokemon – “Pokemon X – Ten Years of Pokemon.” Release date February 27, 2007.

3. Dolores O’Riordan – “Are You Listening?” Release date May 8, 2007; Sanctuary Records.

4. Korn – “MTV Unplugged.” Release date February 20, 2007; EMI/Virgin Records.

5. Megadeth – “United Abominations.” Release date March 20, 2007; Roadrunner Records.

Happy future listening!

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