Music preview

“Unlike the movie industry, the music business doesn’t really have hot release times like in the summer months or during Christmas time. Generally, good music comes out just about any time of the year. That idea seems to be squashed the following two months when, starting next Tuesday, the first of these 16 hotly anticipated albums below is released.”

Unlike the movie industry, the music business doesn’t really have hot release times like in the summer months or during Christmas time. Generally, good music comes out just about any time of the year.

That idea seems to be squashed the following two months when, starting next Tuesday, the first of these 16 hotly anticipated albums below is released.

May 1

?Ne-Yo: Because of You

This album follows up his 2006 smash In My Own Words, which showed that Ne-Yo is one of the top urban singers around.

?Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Baby 81

The group of shoegazers hasn’t released a bad album yet and Baby 81 is just as good as anything they’ve done. Like their past work, Baby 81 is moody and filled with angst and reverb.

?Feist: The Reminder

The beauty of Leslie Feist’s voice is a stark contrast from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The Reminder shows why the Broken Social Scene member doesn’t need an overbearing band to catapult her into greatness – she can do it on her own.

May 8

?Bjork: Volta

Every album Bjork has released has been weird and Volta will likely be no different, especially on the tracks she recorded with hip hop producer Timbaland.

May 15

?Linkin Park: Minutes to Midnight

Honestly, who knew Linkin Park was still around? This is only worth noting because the band is dropping the rap-rock style that made them popular.

?Wilco: Sky Blue Sky

Few groups are as good as Wilco, and the band’s fan base should only increase with the excellent Sky Blue Sky.

May 22

?Ozzy Osbourne: Black Rain

Osbourne hasn’t released an album in five years while he had a reality TV show. Not that music from Osbourne is too bad of a thing, so long as there’s a lot of Zach Wylde guitar solos.

?Three 6 Mafia: Last 2 Walk

Three 6 Mafia has only gotten better as their career has gone on. The culmination was an Oscar win last fall. It should be interesting to see if the group can stay hungry on Last 2 Walk.

May 29

?Velvet Revolver Libertad

Now that Audioslave has broken up because of personal and musical differences (a.k.a. they hate each other), Velvet Revolver is the greatest supergroup going. Libertad is rumored to be funkier and less pure rock ‘n’ roll, which may not be a good thing.

June 5

?Ryan Adams: Easy Tiger

Ryan Adams is mostly hit or miss, but when he hits like he did on Gold and Love is Hell, he’s really good. Hopefully, Easy Tiger hits because people will tire of his crazy antics, like trying to score a gig at Stonehenge.

?Marilyn Manson: Eat Me, Drink Me

Eat Me, Drink Me is supposed to be Manson’s most personal album, which will be strange, which is why it is interesting.

June 12

?Queens of the Stone Age: Era Vulgaris

On Era Vulgaris, there’s likely to be the same great Queens sauntering rock with heavy-handed drumming and cool guest stars. Guesting on Era Vulgaris is Trent Reznor, Julian Casablancas and, once again, Mark Lanegan.

June 19

?The Mooney Suzuki: Have Mercy

The garage rockers who are 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration have been kicked around by major labels, which ruined their sound on Alive & Amplified, a goofy 1960s rock mess. Have Mercy shows the Mooneys are back to their roots with big guitars and harmonizing vocals.

?The White Stripes: Icky Thump

The Stripes are finally back after Jack White took a break to play with the Raconteurs. Recorded in Nashville, White told Rolling Stone that Icky Thump has a range of sounds and sonically, it’s not the same as previous releases.

June 26

?50 Cent: Curtis S.S.K.

Featuring guest spots from Eminem, Akon, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige and Robin Thicke, it should be interesting to see if 50 Cent still has the angry swagger that made him so popular. After all, he has been up to very tough things like signing books, acting and having a video game based on him.