Today is not much of an indie day. Nope, today is a day for big, huge, mega-blockbuster releases from the likes of Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert, Shakira, and Susan Boyle. Why? So that they’re in stores, sitting on the new releases shelf, on Black Friday when people storm the doors of Wal-Mart, hopefully not trampling people their way to big discounts. So if pop is your thing, congrats! And if it’s not your thing, come back next week.
Rihanna, Rated R
This album is fantastic. Like, I’ll probably play it as often as I did Good Girl, Gone Bad. It’s a dark mix of songs, which makes sense in the context of Rihanna’s life since last March, with momentary relief of Caribbean-infused songs. Overall: man, is it poignant.
Lady Gaga, Fame Monster
This album is conceptual—it’s Lady Gaga’s debut from last year, but packaged with eight new songs. Somehow that works with the theme though, right? The songs on this one are more of her patented electro-pop, but with tinges of disco and rock opera.
Shakira, She Wolf
Shakira’s hair has gotten straighter and her dance moves have gotten wonkier, but other than that, not a whole lot has changed for her since “Oral Fixation.” We’re still kind of digging her vibe, though.
Adam Lambert, For Your Entertainment
After his run on “American Idol,” we were expecting a lot more from Adam Lambert. But instead, he’s going the shock route. He’s adopted the theatricality of all the ladies above. Too bad his songs are tepid and stale. Even though they’re written by the likes of Gaga, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, and Rivers Cuomo. Next!
Susan Boyle, I Dreamed A Dream
Susan’s voice is pretty, but this album is so expected it hurts. First off, it’s named I Dreamed A Dream, the song that made her an overnight sensation. Other than that, it’s covers—many she did on “Britain’s Got Talent.” I wish she’d taken more of a chance here.