Various artists, Muppets: The Green Album – As if the Jason Segel-penned reboot of the Muppet movie franchise, set to hit theaters in November, wasn’t gaining enough buzz, Disney is releasing a set of classic Muppets tunes performed by contemporary artists. Andrew Bird takes on “Bein’ Green,” OK Go reinterprets “The Muppet Show Theme,” The Fray sings “Mahna Mahna,” and Weezer teams up with Paramore’s Hayley Williams on “The Rainbow Connection.”
Beirut, The Rip Tide – Zach Condon and his band have done what few would even contemplate: turn Balkan, Mexican and French folk music into an acclaimed pop sensation. For their third, full-length album, Beirut eschews an encompassing World music theme, though the hallmarks and instruments are still there, in favor of a decidedly mature pop feel and sound.
Lenny Kravitz, Black and White America – Kravitz has had a remarkable 20-plus year career, despite the fact that his blend of funk, psychedelic and classic rock often confounded music critics and executives. He’s said that his music reflects his background, having a black Christian mother and a white Jewish father, and a range of influences. His latest opus takes Kravitz to a deeply personal place. Musically, the album ranges from funk to pop to rock, but his lyrics explore race, diversity and unity in modern America.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, I’m With You – It’s hard to think about a band as popular as the Chili Peppers staging a “comeback.” However, after the (second) departure of guitarist John Frusciante, the band’s future was unclear, but the band’s remaining members were soon looking for the perfect replacement to allow them to continue in the Chili Peppers’ tradition. According to a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the new album, their 10th, does just that. But if it reminds you at all of The Rolling Stones, it’s no wonder. Frontman Anthony Kiedis told the magazine classic Stones’ albums such as Exile on Main Street and Tattoo You were huge influences.