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Eminem, Ashley And Other Things Coming In 2008

Of the Oakland Press

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At the outset of 2007, we could not have predicted that the top sellers of the year would be a holiday album (Josh Groban’s “Noel”) and the debut set by an “American Idol” runner-up (Daughtry). So maybe we should be a bit gunshy at the beginning of 2008.


The new year presents lots of possibilities in the music world. A Led Zeppelin tour? The new Guns ’N Roses album finally coming out? Eminem to ride — and rap — again? Ashlee Simpson to sing live?! Those are among the many expected developments for 2008, some of which actually have some factual basis.

So, read on to find out what we know and what we expect — and what rumors we’re happy to merely continue spreading.

Eminem’s next album

The always controversial Detroit rapper has reportedly been working on his sixth album — tentatively titled “King Mathers,” his first since “Curtain Call: The Hits” in 2005 — at his usual haunt (54 Sound in Ferndale) and in Los Angeles. Some expect T.I. to repay the favor of Eminem’s guest shot on his “T.I. vs. T.I.P.” album, but real details are harder to get than the identity of CIA agents. However, its fate seems tied to ...

Dr. Dre detoxes

The chronic perfectionist’s follow-up to the multiplatinum “2001” is tagged for a June release — always, of course, subject to change, especially since Dre told one interviewer that it would come out after “King Mathers.” A who’s-who of hip-hop has been linked to the concept album, including Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes.

Metallica rules

The headbangers have been working on their ninth studio album with über-producer Rick Rubin. No release date is set yet, but the quartet has lined up a number of summer festivals — reportedly including Bonnaroo — so the album will presumably be done, if not out, by the time we’re wearing flip-flops again.

AC/DC flips on the switch

The Australian rockers haven’t added any new riffs to their classic ouvre since 2000’s “Stiff Upper Lip,” but they’ve been promising something new for the past few years, and indications are strong that in 2008, they’ll be shaking us all night long again.

Mariah Carey glitters anew

Thanks to 2005’s “The Emancipation of Mimi,” Carey has gone from pop punchline to redeemed superstar with a new album due in the second quarter of the year. “Mimi” mastermind Jermaine Dupri is back on board, along with hitmakers Stargate, Danja, will.i.am and Scott Storch.

Madonna makes out

The Michigan-born Material Girl will celebrate her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction with an expected April release that includes collaborations with Kanye West and the Justin Timberlake-Timbaland team.

Usher ends the wait

Though Chris Brown and Ne-Yo have been happy to fill the R&B loverman void, Usher is ready to give the (mostly) ladies what they want with his follow-up to 2004’s 9-million-plus selling “Confessions.” T-Pain and Ludacris are among his helpers on the new album, which is expected in the spring.

Sophomores in session

Las Vegas rockers Panic! at the Disco try to make good on their platinum freshman success with a second album due March 25. The Fray gets out of Denver again with an expected summer release, and Gnarls Barkley is hoping to drive fans “Crazy” again in the spring.

Will the Stones roll?

The Rolling Stones will definitely be seen this year — on the big screen, when the buzzed-about Martin Scorsese documentary “Shine a Light” premieres, probably in spring. There are whispers of a tour to support it, which could prove true as long as Keith Richards stays away from palm trees.

... and The Eagles fly?

Following the success of last year’s “Long Road Out of Eden,” the classic country rockers plan to take wing and tour again — and presumably continue their habit of setting new records for high ticket prices.

Thank God they’re ... country girls?

Jewel and Jessica Simpson both plan to twang it up a little on their next releases, though neither has a firm release date yet (Jess’ sister Ashlee stays the pop course on “Bittersweet World” in March). Hot newcomer Taylor Swift and the Kristian Bush-led Sugarland are eyeballing fall for their next efforts, and Shania Twain plans to regain her crowd with her own autumn outing that comes more than five years after “Up!”

Coldplay heats up

The British band has been working with producer Brian Eno for what’s said to be a highly experimental set that’s due in the summer.

U2 will follow

Eno has been doing double duty with the Irish quartet, with Daniel Lanois again part of the team that’s creating what’s said to be a guitar-dominated set. Guess we can expect it to have some real, er, Edge ... ar, ar, ar. Prior to that, the group rolls out a 3-D IMAX concert film on Jan. 23.

Comeback (not-so) kids

R.E.M. hopes to re-excite its fan base with the harder rocking “Accelerate,” which is due April 1. Janet Jackson makes another bid for post-nipplegate traction Feb. 26, when she releases “Discipline.” Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger hopes to make good on a series of failed solo singles when the long-delayed “Her Name is Nicole” is finally released in the first quarter. After 2004’s “Baptism” failed to go platinum, Lenny Kravitz hopes that “It’s Time For a Love Revolution” on Feb. 5. And the B-52's open the love shack again on March 25 with "Funplex," their first set of new material in 16 years.

Summer nights (tell me more!)

The outdoor concert season is five or so months away, but it’s never too early to look ahead. Among the acts talking about playing under the stars are the Dave Matthews Band, James Taylor, Santana, Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn and classic rock pairings of Journey and Heart, Boston and REO Speedwagon and Def Leppard and Styx. Kenny Chesney, meanwhile, brings Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood on his annual stadium tour, which is due to hit town Aug. 2 at Ford Field.

That for which we have no answer

A Led Zeppelin tour? Don’t fire up those lighters just yet; there’s still no word on that front, despite money offers that could buy a few small countries. Frontman Robert Plant will hit the road with his “Raising Sand” collaborator Alison Krauss, however. Will Guns ’N Roses’ “Chinese Democracy” finally see the light of day? We’ll certainly hear that it’s coming at least five times this year — and we wouldn’t feel quite right if we didn’t, would we?

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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