Today is a good day for music lovers. In addition to a new album from the Killers, there are a number of high-profile releases that you might want to download from iTunes or buy from your local record store—if it hasn't already been turned into a Starbucks.
Cruel Summer, G.O.O.D. Music
While Kanye West is definitely present on most of the album, it's not officially his follow-up to 2010's excellent My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or a concept album like last year's Jay-Z collaboration, Watch the Throne. It's a showcase for his record label, G.O.O.D. Music, which includes Pusha T, Kid Cudi, John Legend, Common, and more.
Despite the fact that Cruel Summer wasn't officially out until today, you've probably already heard a few of the tracks blaring from car stereos and playing in the clubs. "Mercy" has been a hit all summer long. Other singles, including "New God Flow" (Kanye West, Pusha T, Ghostface Killah) and "Clique" (Kanye West, Jay-Z, Big Sean), spread like wildfire once they were leaked on the Internet.
So why buy the entire album? Because the G.O.O.D. Music crew has put out 12 pretty solid, danceable tracks, a nice reminder that Kanye West, despite his questionable taste in tabloid-fodder girlfriends, is still a damn good producer.
Tempest, Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan can't sing or play guitar like he used to, but he is still one of rock's greatest songwriters, and it shows on Tempest, his 35th studio album. It has garnered almost unanimous praise, including a five-star review from Rolling Stone. Dylan, at 71, doesn't seem to have lost any of his bite or ambition, including plenty of pointed political jabs and a grisly, nearly 14-minute rumination on the Titanic disaster.
When some questioned his liberal use of quotations from various writers on Tempest, he called the critics "wussies and pussies," pointing out that there is a rich tradition of quoting others in jazz and folk music. It appears that Dylan, much like Kanye, does not much care for haters.
Kiss, Carly Rae Jepsen
Earlier this year, Carly Rae Jepsen scored with a little underground hit titled "Call Me Maybe," and by underground we mean every American was forcibly subjected to it until, like the national anthem, they could recite it by memory. Now the Jepster is back with an entire album of sugary-sweet pop songs that you will profess to hate as you secretly dance to them in your bedroom.
Don't fight it. Give in to the mindless hook of "Good Time," Jepsen's collaboration with Owl City. Fall in the love with the 26-year-old Canadian as she teams up with the Biebs on "Beautiful." In five years, we'll all barely remember her, as if she was a fever dream we had after consuming drug-laced pixie sticks in a meadow. Embrace her now before everyone gets distracted by the next one-hit wonder.
Speaking of which, have you heard the song "Gangnam Style?"
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.