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Big Names Line Up For Fall Music Season

Of the Oakland Press

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Welcome to fall.

OK, summer technically has three weeks left as a season, but we all know that's bunk. Labor day is upon us. School's back, or just about back, in session. There's a whole paradigm shift that's brought the curtain down on summer and put us in another kind of mind set.

Some aren't happy about that, but the music business is pretty darn gleeful -- especially in this age of declining sales and increasing pirating.

The last four months of the year are the industry's biggest, as artists and their labels rush to bring out their latest releases in time for the holidays, when people will presumably (and that's a big presumption these days) spend a bit of money.

So the coming weeks will be filled with superstar releases and a parade of buzzed-about titles and events. Not everything is rock-solid, of course, but here's some of what we're excited about as we fall forward into the fourth quarter...

Kid Rock, "Roll On": The best song from "Rock N Roll Jesus" is coming as the Clarkston rocker's next single, and it has the potential to push the double-platinum album even further than "All Summer Long." Plus we can't wait to see the video Rock and company shot last week at the Motown Historical Museum.

Superstars on Parade: Details are scarce right now, but there are reports that November will see new fare from U2 (expected to be titled "No Line on the Horizon"), Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston. R. Kelly is also said to be readying something new, and Detroit rap hero Eminem has been working hard at his new studio in Ferndale, but a release this fall is more wished-for than definite.

Heavy metal thunder: It's going to be a good fall for headbangers and hard rockers. Metallica's much-anticipated "Death Magnetic" rolls out with an atypical Friday (Sept. 12) release. AC/DC delivers "Black Ice," its first new album in eight years, on Oct. 21, exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, with a tour to follow. Buckcherry follows up the surprise platinum smash of 2006's "15" with "Black Butterfly" on Sept. 16, the same day Ann Arbor's Taproot ends a three-year absence with "Our Long Road Home." Hinder rolls out its sophomore set, "Take It to the Limit," on Nov. 4. And Nickelback's Nov. 18 release, tentatively titled "Burn it to the Ground," hopes to make good on 2005's record-setting "All the Right Reasons."

Madonna at Ford Field: The family-averse Material Girl comes home Nov. 18 -- for the first time since 2001. It's a big place and a big ticket price, but, as she sings, music makes the people come together...

"Jennifer Hudson": The "American Idol" finalist and "Dreamgirls" Oscar winner's long awaited debut is set for a Sept. 30 release and is already in the "Spotlight" thanks to her rapidly climbing third single.

Ne-Yo, "Year of the Gentleman": The R&B/pop songsmith has made plenty of hits for others -- including the aforementioned Ms. Hudson -- but there's hope that his third album, due out Sept. 16, will put him in the rarefied territory of some of his clients.

"High School Musical 3: Senior Year": Yeah, it's cheesy and cloying -- but it's also a juggernaut that moves from the Disney Channel to the big screen on Oct. 24, with the soundtrack hitting earlier that week. But does it still have the same heft now that Mylie Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers have won over much of the Mouse crowd?

Guns N' Roses, "Chinese Democracy": Yes, we've been "excited" about it coming out for more falls than we can count. But the release of a new track, "Shackler's Revenge," via "Rock Band 2" and the involvement of super-manager Irving Azoff, who's helmed recent Wal-Mart triumphs for the Eagles and Journey, are hopeful signs that the bloated project may actually see the light of day -- much to the consternation of those who have wagered it never would.

Rappers' Delight: Young Jeezy's "The Recession," which hits Tuesday, opens the hip-hop floodgates that will also see releases by luminaries such as Ludacris ("Theater of the Mind," Oct. 21), T.I. ("Paper Trail," Sept. 30), Missy Elliott ("Block Party," Sept. 9), Nelly ("Brass Knuckles" Sept. 16), Pretty Ricky (" '80s Babies," Sept. 23), T-Pain, "Thr33 Ringz," Sept. 30) and Common, "Invincible Summer," Sept. 30), as well as 50 Cent, P. Diddy, Jay-Z and, possibly, Dr. Dre's long-in--the-making "Detox."

They will rock you...again: Queen + Paul Rodgers deliver the first studio fruits of their collaboration -- and the first Queen studio project since 1995 -- with "The Cosmos Rocks" on Oct. 28 (six weeks after its release in the U.K.), featuring tunes such as "Call Me," "C-lebrity" and "Say It's Not True."

Michelle Branch, "Everything Comes and Goes": The former teen rocker made a convincing country star with the Wreckers. Now she gets to work that market on her own with the expected October release of "Everything Comes and Goes."

A Cure for your ills: After touring us with a succession of singles (four so far), the Cure delivers its first album in four years, "4:13 Dream," on Oct. 13, preceded by an EP, "Hypnagogic States," on Sept. 13.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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