Previewing the "Grammy 2002" nominees compilation, and new albums from Shaggy, Jennifer Lopez, and Sade.And The 'Nominees' Are...
As the industry gears up for this year's Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy is prepping its seventh annual Grammy CD compilation. Due this week on Universal Music Entertainment's (UME) UTV Records, the 17-track 2002 collection features hits from Alicia Keys, U2, Nelly Furtado, Backstreet Boys, and Outkast, among others. India.Arie, Train, Bob Dylan, the Soggy Bottom Boys, David Gray, Craig David, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Brian McKnight, James Taylor, Five For Fighting, and R.E.M. are also represented.
According to Recording Academy president/CEO Michael Greene, this year's pop compilation will include songs featured in six different categories, up from four last year. "This year we have representatives from the record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, best new artist, best pop male, and best pop duo and group categories," he says. "We had so many duplications in the nominations that we had to add additional categories."
Despite the deletion of a rap compilation this year, the collection continues to offer the promise of exposing listeners to different artists, and, Greene hopes, will propel customers to become fans of artists they hadn't heard of before. "[The Soggy Bottom Boys track] '(I Am a) Man of Constant Sorrow' [from the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack] isn't something that's going to be typically heard by an Outkast fan, and a U2 fan might not listen to Brian McKnight," Greene says. "It's a great way to sample different genres of music and create new fans."
'Mix' And Match
Jennifer Lopez has tacked the new song "Alive" on to her Epic remix album "J To Tha L-O! -- The Remixes," due this week. The piano-laden ballad, written by Lopez with her new husband Cris Judd and frequent collaborator Cory Rooney, will appear in the artist's upcoming film, "Enough." In the movie, which opens May 24 in U.S. theaters, Lopez stars as an abused wife on the run from her husband (Billy Campbell). Juliette Lewis, Noah Wyle, and Dan Futterman also star.
The 11-track "J To Tha L-O!" is led by the "Ain't It Funny" remix featuring Ja Rule, which is the fastest growing cut on The Billboard Hot 100 this week and jumps 12-10 on the chart. Also included are Rodney Jerkins' remix of "If You Had My Love" and the RJ Schoolyard mix of "Love Don't Cost a Thing" featuring Fat Joe, which previously topped Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart. Hex Hector remixes "Waiting for Tonight," the original version of which reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play tally.
As for Shaggy, his 2000 MCA album, "Hotshot," continues to fly off retail shelves, but fans don't have to wait for some new spins on that album's smash hit singles. This week, MCA releases "Hotshot Ultramix," featuring remixes of "Angel," "It Wasn't Me," "Dance and Shout," and "Hope" by the likes of Punch, Sting International, J.C. Moreno, Gordon Dukes, Christopher "Longman Productions" Birch, and Tony CD Kelly. The album will also feature the previously unreleased cuts "Too Hot to Handle" featuring Robin, "Special Request" featuring Ricardo "Rik Rok" Ducent, "Why You Mad At Me," and a live version of "Angel."
'Love' You Live
On the heels of her 2001 triple platinum Epic album "Lovers Rock," U.K.-based soul vocalist Sade will release her first live album, "Lovers Live," this week. It will be followed Feb. 19 by an accompanying VHS/DVD documenting last year's tour in support of "Lovers Rock." Both releases were recorded at tour stops in Anaheim and Inglewood, Calif.
The 13-track live album features such favorites as "Smooth Operator," "No Ordinary Love," "Jezebel," "Cherish the Day," and "The Sweetest Taboo" alongside newer cuts such as "By Your Side," "Sweetest Gift," and "Slave Song."
"Lovers Rock" is up for best pop vocal album at the 44th annual Grammy Awards, while "By Your Side" is nominated for best female pop vocal performance. Sade is also up for best British female at the 2002 Brit Awards.
Dustin' Off The 'Groove'
Two of the world's most popular DJs will share their beats with the masses this week with Hypnotic Recordings' release of Paul Oakenfold's "Bust a Groove" and Norman "Fatboy Slim" Cook's "All Star Breakbeats." Both discs compile the respective U.K.-based artists' favorite beats, loops, grooves, and scratches, serving as either an approximation of the Oakenfold/Cook live experience or a tool for aspiring DJs to use in their own sets.
Cook's "All Star Breakbeats" features 11 tracks of loops, with titles like "Prince of the Beats," "Shriek," and "Lock It in the Socket," followed by untitled tracks 12-62, a collection of scratches, samples, and effects. Oakenfold's "Bust a Groove" follows much the same pattern, compiling loops and breakbeats with titles like "Stoned Again," "Sexy Sax," "Chelsea Hill," "Brixton Grooves," and "Future Funk" for the first 14 tracks, followed by 25 shorter effects and scratches.
Both DJs are planning brief Japanese tours this summer to coincide with the soccer World Cup held in that country.
Additional titles hitting stores this week include:
-- California rock outfit Fu Manchu's "California Crossing" (Mammoth)
-- former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones's "Thunderthief" (Discipline Global Mobile), featuring a guest appearance by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp
-- jazz pianist David Benoit's "Fuzzy Logic" (GRP)
-- the 20-track Barry Manilow retrospective "Ultimate Manilow" (Arista)
-- two compilations from country singer/songwriter Travis Tritt, "The Rockin' Side" and "The Lovin' Side" (Rhino)
-- an expanded reissue of veteran hard rock band Megadeth's "Killing Is My Business" (Loud)
-- the album "Shekinah: 13 Artists" (Heavy Rotation/Epic), featuring music by 13 up-and-coming female artists and former students at Boston's Berklee College of Music
-- a new album from Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard and longtime collaborator Tobin Sprout under the moniker Airport 5, "Life Starts Here" (Fading Captain)
-- Detroit blues/rock outfit Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise's "New Ground" (Vanguard)
-- U.K. modern rock group the Church's "And Everything ... Now This" (Thirsty Ear)
-- a retrospective from eclectic singer/songwriter Jonathan Richman, "Action Packed: Best Of" (Rounder)
-- singer/songwriter Kelly Joe Phelps' "Beggar's Oil" EP (Rykodisc)