R&B albums dominate the last major release date before Christmas, as we get new sets from Ciara, R. Kelly, and Diddy Dirty Money. Plus, a posthumous Michael Jackson set arrives for the holidays, as does the major label debut from “American Idol” runner up Crystal Bowersox.
Crystal Bowersox, “Farmer”s Daughter” (19 Recordings/Jive): Season 9 “American Idol” runner-up shows off her singer/songwriter chops by penning 10 of the 12 songs on her Jive debut. Read review here.
Greyson Chance, “Waiting Outside the Lines” (ElevenEleven/Guy Oseary/Geffen): In case you can”t wait for his full-length album next year, high school kid who caused an YouTube sensation with his cover of Lady GaGa”s “Paparazzi” puts out three songs just in time for Christmas, including, of course, “Paparazzi” and first single, “Waiting Outside the Lines.”
Ciara, “Basic Instinct” (LaFace): It”s barely been a year since her last album, “Fantasy Ride,” but the R&B/pop singer is already back. First single, “Ride,” came out way back in April, and two other singles have already hit radio. In her official bio, she explains her motivation: “Ultimately, Ciara hopes to set herself and her family up so they never have commercial concerns. Planning for tomorrow, Ciara focuses on handling her business today. I talk to my team, I say, “We got to get that money”.” It”s up to you whether you want to help her out or not.
Diddy Dirty Money, “Last Train to Paris” (Bad Boy/Atlantic): It”s P Diddy and two female singers plus a train-load of his famous friends on his fifth studio album. See if you can find them buried underneath contributions from Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Lil wayne, Drake and nearly a dozen more. Four tracks on the set, which Diddy describes as “electro-hip-hop-soul-funk,” have already been released, including R&B hit “Hello Good Morning” featuring T.I.
Michael Jackson, “Michael” (Epic): MJ”s first posthumous album filled with all previously-unreleased treats. The work spans from way back to the “Thriller” era up to shortly before his 2009 death. Producers Akon and Teddy Riley are among those who completed the 10 tunes.
R. Kelly, “Love Letter” (Jive): Kelly shows off his romantic side on this set, inspired by such influences as Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke. First single, “When a Woman Loves,” received a Grammy nomination for best traditional R&B vocal performance.
Leona Lewis, “The Labyrinth Tour: Live from the O2,” (J): British thrush”s light has dimmed Stateside slightly, but not her voice. It remains strong and vibrant on this live set from London”s O2 arena.
Tank, Now or Never” (Atlantic): His switch from Blackstreet to Atlantic slowed the release of the R&B singers for a hot minute, but he”s back with a suite of sexy tunes. Clothing optional.