Previewing new albums from Jennifer Lopez, Dream, O-Town, George Harrison, Dolly Parton and more
'Lo' In The House
Jennifer Lopez's sophomore Epic set "J. Lo" features first single "Love Don't Cost A Thing," which is No. 4 on The Billboard Hot 100 this week. The album was executive produced by Lopez and Cory Rooney, with assistance from Sean "Puffy" Combs and Rodney Jerkins, among others. It's the follow-up to her 1999 debut, "On The 6," which peaked at No. 8 on The Billboard 200.
Lopez co-wrote seven of the new tracks, including "Secretly," "We Gotta Talk," and "I'm Real." She will be seen in the upcoming film "The Wedding Planner" with Matthew McConaughey.
O-Town Comes Into Its Own
O-Town's self-titled debut is the first album to be released on Clive Davis' new J Records imprint. The group's creation was chronicled on the ABC series "Making The Band," and it has enjoyed strong pre-release airplay with the single "Liquid Dreams," which is No. 27 on The Billboard Hot 100 this week.
"It's like we've done everything in reverse," says group member Ashley Parker Angel. "Usually, a group releases an album and then pursues other creative outlets. We, on the other hand, broke those rules."
The members of Dream were also selected from a pool of talented teen girls. Due out on Sean "Puffy" Combs' Bad Boy label, the quartet's debut, "It Was All A Dream," features production work by Guy Roach, Mario Winans, and Combs himself. "Dream has no limits. We're gonna attack every angle of performing there is," says group member Diana. First single "He Loves U Not" is No. 3 on The Billboard Hot 100 this week.
'All Things' In Good Time
Thirty years after its first release, George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" (Apple/Capitol) has been reissued in a newly remastered edition with five bonus tracks, including "I Live For You," the lovely, previously unissued ballad from the original sessions. The set spent seven weeks at No. 1 upon its initial release, and spawned the hit single "My Sweet Lord."
Some of "All Things Must Pass" was demoed in 1969 during the Beatles' sessions for "Let It Be." "I was probably trying to get them recorded in amongst all the usual John and Paul stuff," Harrison says. "For me, that was the great thing about splitting up: to be able to go off and make my own record and record all these songs that I'd been stockpiling."
Dolly's 'Sparrow' Flies Again
During the course of her career, Dolly Parton has proven adept at a variety of musical styles, from traditional homespun country to polished pop. But as her last album, "The Grass Is Blue," demonstrated, Parton is at her best when she returns to her Appalachian roots. She does so again on "Little Sparrow," out this week on Blue Eye/Sugar Hill.
"The Grass Is Blue," the first joint venture between Parton's Blue Eye imprint and Sugar Hill, garnered numerous accolades, including the album of the year honor at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards in October. On her new outing, Parton again serves up some tasty bluegrass numbers, ably backed by such luminaries in the field as Alison Krauss, Sonya Isaacs, Becky Isaacs Bowman, and Dan Tyminski.
"I've always done bluegrass music," Parton observes. "It's not like I came in the back door with this music. I've been doing it on my front porch for years. With the bluegrass community, they felt what I was doing and felt it was real."
Other titles hitting stores this week include hard rock act Godhead's "2000 Years Of Human Error" (Posthuman); the various artists compilation "Rarewerks," featuring rare and unreleased tracks from Chemical Brothers, Air, Primal Scream, and Fatboy Slim (Astralwerks); Asian breakbeat purveyors Joi's "We Are Three" (Real World); the Josh Joplin Group's "Useful Music" (Artemis); a new album from young punk quartet the Donnas, "Turn 21" (Lookout!); former Onyx member Fredro Starr's "Firestarr" (Koch); an album from veteran roots musician Tim Easton, "The Truth About Us" (New West); and the sophomore set from Tortoise bassist Doug McCombs' Brokeback project, "Morse Code In The Modern Age: Across The Americas" (Thrill Jockey).
Also out this week is a reissue of John Denver's 1980 album "Autograph" (RCA); remastered and expanded versions of '80s pop outfit Tears For Fears' "Songs From The Big Chair" and "The Seeds Of Love" (Mercury); reissues of two duet albums from Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, 1978's "Waylon & Willie" and 1982's "WWII" (Buddha); a 1976 live album from the Jerry Garcia Band, "Don't Let Go" (Grateful Dead Records); a greatest-hits from pop duo Hall & Oates, "The Very Best Of" (RCA); and two collections of traditional music recorded by folklorist Alan Lomax in 1962, "Martinique Cane Fields And City Streets" and "Tombstone Feast: Funerary Music Of Carriacou" (Rounder).