After two weeks packed with huge releases this week brings three CDs that definitely have their audiences but won't have folks camped out Monday night waiting for the doors to open on Tuesday. You've got a pop band that your mom loves, a cult country band that you've probably never heard of but has sold out your local concert shed the past two summers, and that guy you used to like when he sang for that band you can't remember. Let's get to it.
Zac Brown Band - You Get What You Give - As much as I hate to admit it, not every new country act is totally worthless. While I at first dismissed the Zac Brown Band as another in a long line of Kenny Chesney frat-pop-country acts when I heard their hit, "Toes", I have slowly started to gain admiration for Mr. Brown and his band. While not as hardcore and anti-establishment as my favorite alt-country artists, there is something to be said for knowing how to bend just enough to be commercial, yet remain true to your own vision. The Zac Brown Band has managed to do that so far, and look to continue that with this, their sophomore major label effort.
Maroon 5 - Hands All Over - The ladies love them some Adam Levine, don't they? Seriously, in this economy, who else sells CDs and tickets in these quantities? I mean, people realize you can find music for free on the internet now, right? Your mom loves Maroon 5 so much, she will gladly drop $10 today on this, unless you tell her that Shania Twain's ex (Mutt Lange) produced it. That might cancel it out in some weird adult contemporary radio math format way. However, country superstar group Lady Antebellum provide vocals on a song, so that's not just your mom, but now Grandmom is getting a copy for Christmas. Oh, and on the Deluxe Edition there is a live Alicia Keys cover of "If I Ain't Got You", and didn't you once say you were an Alicia Keys fan? Run!
Serj Tankian - Imperfect Harmonies - Serj Tankian has been called many things: singer, poet, songwriter, activist, composer. Platinum-selling artist isn't one of them. Remember when System of a Down broke and they were just a weird band with some weird catchy songs? Man, what happened to rock? Seriously, why am I even talking about Serj Tankian? I know last week I was talking crap about Weezer, but one thing I'll give them credit for is they can write a catchy tune. I received press releases every day from publicists pushing tours that feature bands that all sound exactly the same. It's like there are 100 Stone Sours running around out there, and everytime one of them split up, five more pop up in its place. What does that have to do with anything? Nothing. I just miss System of a Down, and "Aerials" was a kick-ass song.