Previewing new albums from Papa Roach, Wyclef Jean, Paul Oakenfold, Guided By Voices, and more.
'Love' It Or Leave It
Hard rock act Papa Roach returns this week with its sophomore DreamWorks album "lovehatetragedy." The set was produced by Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine) and recorded at his Atlanta studio. First single "She Loves Me Not" is No. 10 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart and No. 12 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks tally.
"lovehatetragedy" is the follow-up to 2000's "Infest," which peaked at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 3.2 million copies in the U.S. to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album featured the single "Last Resort," which hit No. 1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart and No. 4 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks tally.
Papa Roach joins Eminem, Ludacris, Xzibit and more on the Anger Management tour, which kicks off July 18 in Buffalo, N.Y. The band plays Sacramento tonight (June 17) and on the roof of the Best Buy outlet in West Los Angeles tomorrow (June 18).
Continuing The 'Masquerade'
"Former Fugees principal Wyclef Jean unleashes "Masquerade," his third solo album, this week via Columbia. In typical Jean fashion, the set is laden with notable guests and a handful of bizarre covers (Jean's 2000 set, "Ecleftic: Two Sides Of The Book," found him collaborating with Kenny Rogers and covering Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"). "Two Wrongs" features Claudette Ortiz of R&B trio City High, while "You Say Keep It Gangster" features Butch Cassidy and Sharissa. M.O.P., Bumpy Knuckles, and Miri lend their talents to the album's title track.
The 19-track "Masquerade" also finds Jean tackling Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," the Four Seasons' 1994 No. 14 Hot 100 hit "(December 1963) Oh, What a Night," and a revamped version of "What's New, Pussycat?," penned by Burt Bacharach and popularized by Tom Jones. Jones makes a guest appearance on the updated edition of the track.
"Ecleftic: Two Sides Of The Book" debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 9 on The Billboard 200. It included the single "911" featuring Mary J. Blige, which reached No. 6 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
Out Of The 'Bunkka'
"Fans of Paul Oakenfold's trance compilations might be surprised to hear the DJ collaborate with Ice Cube on a raunchy rap track. And they certainly wouldn't expect to hear a spoken-word monologue about Richard Nixon and the death of the American dream, performed by author Hunter S. Thompson, over Oakenfold's spacey instrumentation.
But Oakenfold -- widely acclaimed for such dance compilations as "Perfecto Presents Another World" and "Tranceport" as well as his remix work for artists including U2 and Madonna -- moves in a different direction with his new Maverick album, "Bunkka." He describes this project as "song-based" and "melodic," but also "cutting edge." Guests include Nelly Furtado, Perry Farrell, and Grant Lee Phillips.
When he was working with established performers, Oakenfold says, "I wanted to take them out of their contexts." So he put Furtado in a "darker, more dangerous" place than her usual fare on "The Harder They Come" (also featuring Tricky), and the always exploring Farrell ends up with a breakbeat electronic number called "Time of Your Life." Adds the DJ, "I see this as a dance record, but it's not a club record. I think people underestimate clubbers -- they're more intelligent than people give them credit for. They don't just listen to club music at home."
The 'Truth' Is Out There
"Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard initially planned for the veteran underground rock outfit's new album to be titled "Headache Revolution" and feature 12 songs. But along the way, GBV rejoined Matador after a two-album stint on TVT, lost its third drummer in as many years, and found itself swimming in enough new material for an entirely separate recording. Forget "Headache Revolution" and its 12-song tracklist -- what the world gets this week is no less than 19 songs under the title "Universal Truths and Cycles."
Although a handful of intoxicatingly catchy cuts such as "Back to the Lake" and "Cheyenne" survived from "Headache Revolution," the bulk of "Universal Truths" originated in one of Pollard's semi-annual bursts of extraordinarily prolific songwriting. "It usually happens after an album is in the can," he says. "But this time I wrote 13 songs in an hour and they were all really cool. I thought I'd just save them for a solo record, but I realized our record wasn't necessarily finished. We didn't even have a deal yet."
The group trekked north to Kent, Ohio's Waterloo Studios and, under the direction of producer Todd Tobias (brother of GBV bassist Tim Tobias), banged out all the new songs in only four days. The sessions allowed Pollard to indulge a few of his favorite things: surrealistic wordplay ("Love 1"), arena-sized rock ("Skin Parade"), and homespun acoustic yarns ("Zap," "The Weeping Boogeyman"). GBV will be on tour in North America through August.
"Having recently returned from a whirlwind promotional blitz of Europe, where she is a bona fide pop star, Chicago-born/New York-raised Anastacia now has her eyes firmly set on America, where commercial success has, for whatever reason, eluded her. Since its release overseas last November, her latest Epic album "Freak of Nature" has topped many charts and sold more than 3 million copies while spawning two hit singles in the process.
From an artistic standpoint, the album shows incredible growth. "I knew I had changed, my zone of music, me understanding who I am as an artist, everything," explains Anastacia, who co-wrote all the songs on the album (which features productions by Ric Wake, Louis Biancaniello, Sam Watters, and Richie Jones). "With the new album, there's more clarity in the music. My first album was a bit more musically all over the place. This time around, I challenged myself more, both musically and lyrically."
A spunky mix of pop, rock, R&B, and dance, Freak of Nature is home to such catchy songs as "Paid My Dues," "Overdue Goodbye," "You'll Never Be Alone," "One Day in Your Life," "Why'd You Lie to Me," and "How Come the World Won't Stop." Special to the U.S. version is new song "I Thought I Told You That," a powerful sister-to-sister, hip-hop-spiked duet featuring Faith Evans.
Additional titles hitting stores this week include:
-- Former Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell's second solo album, "Degradation Trip" (Roadrunner).
-- Latin vocalist Paulina Rubio's "Border Girl" (Universal).
-- Swedish pop quartet A*Teens' "Pop 'Til You Drop" (MCA).
-- New Jersey-based pop/rock outfit Seven And The Sun's "Back to Innocence" (Atlantic).
-- Hard rock act Otep's "Sevastra" (Capitol).
-- New albums from Canadian rock outfit Our Lady Peace ("Gravity," Columbia) and the Brothers Creeggan ("Sleepyhead," Nettwerk), featuring Barenaked Ladies' Jim Creegan.
-- U.K. rabble rousers Chumbawamba's "Readymades" (Universal).
-- Vocalist D.J. Rogers Jr.'s "Emo-Soul" (Motown).
-- A rarities collection from veteran U.K. rock act the Charlatans, "Songs From the Other Side" (Beggars Banquet).
-- An expanded reissue of the Violent Femmes' seminal 1983 self-titled debut (Rhino).