Previewing new albums from Destiny's Child, Stevie Nicks, Eden's Crush, Merle Haggard, and more.
They Will 'Survive'
With its red-hot title track climbing the charts stateside as well as topping them abroad, Destiny's Child's third Columbia effort, "Survivor," is primed for a worldwide explosion. "I think this album shows our growth," vocalist Beyonce Knowles says. "You can hear how tight we've become as a unit. You can hear the love and support in our vocals."
The single addresses the drama the trio endured in 2000, including some well-publicized personnel changes. "Words can't describe how we felt when we recorded that song," vocalist Michelle Williams says. "Some of us were crying, others were jumping up and down." She continues, "This album is about life and reality. We're not talking about being iced out. Everybody can't buy diamonds or the finest champagne, but you can survive taking a test, or getting a job, or marriage. All of our songs are about realistic things."
The group will headline MTV's first-ever TRL Tour, which will also feature Nelly, Eve, Jessica Simpson, Dream, and 3LW. The tour, which will hit about 30 locations, will start in mid-July.
Stevie Nicks' "Trouble In Shangri-La" (Reprise) features guest spots from Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, and Macy Gray. The common denominator among such seemingly disparate guests? Each cites the Fleetwood Mac chanteuse as a prime musical influence -- something that tickles her.
"OK, so now I'm 'Mama Rockstar,'" Nicks says with a giggle. "It's cool. Actually, it's great. I take pride in knowing that people have benefited from the road I've traveled. We've had a wonderful time bonding."
Of the album, she admits, "In many ways, [it] brings me full circle. There are a couple of songs I've been holding on to [for many years], waiting for the right context to bring them out." First single "Every Day" is No. 22 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart this week. Nicks will tour North America this summer.
Eden's Crush's "Popstars" (London/Sire) includes "Get Over Yourself," which debuted at No. 8 on The Billboard Hot 100 last month. It was the highest debut on that chart since Garth Brooks -- playing the role of Chris Gaines -- hit No. 5 with "All for You" in September 1999. Eden's Crush also became the first female act to debut at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart.
The group was assembled from thousands of hopefuls as part of the WB Network's reality series "Popstars." Watch for Eden's Crush on tour with 'N Sync this summer.
Anyone expecting Columbia's country duo Montgomery Gentry to tone things down on its sophomore album is in for a surprise, as "Carrying On" offers another heaping helping of the type of Southern-rock, testosterone-fueled music that first brought the Kentucky-bred pair to the party.
And what a party it's been. Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry seemingly came out of nowhere with 1999's "Tattoos & Scars," which featured three top-10 singles. "I would put our second album up with any second album coming out this year," says Gentry. "Eddie and I just wanted to make sure we had an album that we could listen to from front to back and like it all."
First single "She Couldn't Change Me" is No. 16 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart this week. Look for the duo on Brooks & Dunn's Neon Circus & Wild West Show shed tour this summer.
Double-Dose Of Gospel
For a fiercely private man, Merle Haggard allows fans a rare glimpse of his soul with the forthcoming release of two gospel collections -- "Cabin in the Hills" and "Two Old Friends," due this week from his own Hag Records and Relentless/Nashville.
Produced by Haggard at his Tally Studios in Palo Cedro, Calif., "Cabin in the Hills" includes his original songs as well as takes on such classics as "Love Lifted Me," "This World Is Not My Home," and "Life's Railway to Heaven." Haggard performed and produced "Two Old Friends" at Tally with gospel singer Albert E. Brumley Jr., whose father penned such standards as "I'll Fly Away" and "I'll Meet You in the Morning."
"All these years Al and I have been friends, but we never have really recorded together," says Haggard, whose relationship with Brumley dates back to the early '60s when both performed on "Cousin Herb and the Trading Post Gang," a Bakersfield, Calif., TV show. "Al has a terrific voice, an honest voice."
MCA subsidiary Play It Again Sam will reissue Icelandic ambient rock outfit Sigur Ros's acclaimed album "Agaetis Byrjun" this week. This group has been on the receiving end of some surprising attention across the Atlantic as of late. After all, they sing in either Icelandic or Hopelandish, their own fake language. Yet Sigur Ros has reached cult-status in the U.S. with its dreamy soundscapes, despite the fact that its albums are available only as imports.
The group touched down for its first-ever North American gig this past weekend at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. A short string of dates will follow.
Other titles hitting stores this week include Eagles guitarist Timothy B. Schmit's "Feed the Fire" (Lucan); contemporary Christian artists Point Of Grace's "Free to Fly" (Word/Epic); rapper JT Money's "Blood, Sweat And Years" (Freeworld/Priority); U.K. rock act Ocean Colour Scene, "Mechanical Wonder" (Ark 21); new U.K. rock duo Turin Brakes' "The Optimist" (Source/Astralwerks); a greatest-hits set from country veterans Asleep at the Wheel, "The Very Best Of" (Relentless/Nashville); a greatest-hits set from reggae artist Buju Banton, "Ultimate Collection" (Hip-O); and Alan Silvestri's score for the film "The Mummy Returns," featuring a new song by Live (Decca/Universal).