It’s the Labour Day weekend, and you know what that means: Summer’s over. Time to go back to school. Time to go back to work. And time for me to work up an intro to a Fall Music Preview.
But honestly, after 15 years of music reviewing, I’ve used pretty much every fall pun, harvest quip, weather analogy and snappy seasonal metaphor in the newspaper hack’s handbook. This year, how about we just skip the jibber-jabber and cut to the chase? As we both know only too well, there are countless new albums dropping between now and December from artists of all shapes, sizes, styles and stripes. So without further ado, here are 15 top contenders for your fall playlist, a list of other notable releases to watch for, and a guide to this year’s box sets and holiday fare. Naturally, everything is subject to change. Just like the autumn weather. (Sorry; old habits die hard.)
Top Albums (A-Z)
Aerosmith | Music From Another Dimension!
The Boston blues-rockers quit squabbling long enough to crank out their first disc in eight years with producer Steve Lillywhite. First singles Legendary Child and Lover Alot bode well. Nov. 6.
Bob Dylan | Tempest
Zimmy’s 35th studio disc reportedly features a tribute to John Lennon and a 14-minute song about the Titanic that includes a Leo DiCaprio reference. Everybody must get stoned. Sept. 11.
Green Day | ¡Uno! | ¡Dos! | ¡Tré!
Broadway’s most successful punk trio up the ante with a trilogy of albums. Hopefully they don’t all sound like the predictably anthemic first single Oh Love. Sept. 25 | Nov. 13 | Jan. 15.
Carly Rae Jepsen | Kiss
Call Me Maybe was one of the biggest hits of the summer. Now we’ll see if Justin Bieber’s 26-year-old protege has more in store, or if we should start calling her one-hit wonder. Sept. 18.
Alicia Keys | Girl on Fire
Mama Keys says she wants her fifth album — produced by baby-daddy Swizz Beatz — to “liberate (and) empower” fans. Would it be all right if we were just entertained instead? Nov. 27.
The Killers | Battle Born
Canuck producer Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite had a hand in the Vegas rockers’ fourth disc. Does this mean they’re moving from their Springsteen period into their U2 era? Sept. 18.
KISS | Monster
Paul and Gene — joined once again by Not-Ace and Not-Peter — try to pry a few more shekels out of the fan base with a followup to 2009’ back-to-basics outing Sonic Boom. Oct. 16.
No Doubt | Push and Shove
After 11 years, several false starts and other assorted delays, Gwen Stefani and co. finally finish their sixth studio album. Sure hope nobody told them ska died years ago. Sept. 25.
One Direction | Take Me Home
OMG! Like, the second album from these U.K. teens will totes be the most awesome thing ever recorded in the history of the world. Assuming your kid still likes them by then. November.
Graham Parker & The Rumour | Three Chords Good
The criminally underappreciated Parker — one of the ’70s angriest young men — and his crack band reunited for their first album in 31 years. Somebody wake up Grandpa. Nov. 20.
Pink | The Truth About Love
Have motherhood and happily married life tamed pop rebel Alecia Moore? Well, the first single from her sixth album is titled Blow Me (One Last Kiss). Does that answer your question? Sept. 18.
Soundgarden | King Animal
The good news: The Seattle grunge icons are readying their first disc in 16 years. The bad: It’s only a matter of time before Chris Cornell quits to make another wretched solo album. Nov. 13.
Taylor Swift | Red
T-Swizzy and her BFF AutoTune unveil another batch of songs about every boy, man and creepy old perv — yeah, we’re still looking at you, John Mayer — she’s ever dated. Oct. 22.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse | Psychedelic Pill Back in the saddle again: Barely four months after their blast from the past Americana, Shakey and his loudest band return with another dose of old-school garage-rock noise. October.
ZZ Top | La Futura
It took That Little Ol’ Band from Texas nearly nine years to make this followup to Mescalera. Even Justin Bieber could have grown a foot-long beard in that time. Sept. 11.
Also on the way:
Matchbox Twenty | North
The Sheepdogs | The Sheepdogs
Stars | The North
The Vaccines | Come of Age
Avett Brothers | The Carpenter
Nelly Furtado | The Spirit Indestructible Dave Matthews Band | Away From the World Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra | Theatre Is Evil Pet Shop Boys | Elysium The Raveonettes | Observator Chris Robinson Brotherhood | The Magic Door The XX | Coexist
Band of Horses | Mirage Rock
Big & Rich | Hillbilly Jedi
Dinosaur Jr. | I Bet On Sky
Ben Folds Five | The Sound of the Life of the Mind James Iha | Look to the Sky Dwight Yoakam | 3 Pears
Jason Collett | Reckon
deadmau5 | >album title goes here<
Dragonette | Bodyparts
Mumford & Sons | Babel
Pete Seeger | A More Perfect Union & Pete Remembers Woody
Tori Amos | Gold Dust
Iris DeMent | Sing the Delta
Heart | Fanatic
Diana Krall | Glad Rag Doll
Van Morrison | Born to Sing: No Plan B
Muse | The 2nd Law
Beth Orton | Sugaring Season
Three Days Grace | Transit of Venus
The Tragically Hip | Now For Plan A
The Wallflowers | Glad All Over
Danko Jones | Rock and Roll Is Black and Blue John Fogerty | Wrote a Song For Everyone Ben Harper | By My Side Jeff Lynne | Long Wave & Mr. Blue Sky Barbra Streisand | Release Me
Brandy | Two Eleven
Donald Fagen | Sunken Condos
Benjamin Gibbard | Former Lives
Mika | The Origin of Love
Martha Wainwright | Come Home to Mama
will.i.am. | #willpower
Tony Bennett | Viva Duets
Stone Sour | House of Gold & Bones Part 1
A$AP Rocky | LongLiveA$AP
Big Boi | Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
50 Cent | Street King Immortal
Deftones | Koi No Yokan
M.I.A. | Matangi
Alvin & the Chipmunks | Christmas with the Chipmunks. Sept. 25.
Blake Shelton | Cheer, It's Christmas. Oct. 2.
Polyphonic Spree | Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays Volume One. Oct. 23.
Rod Stewart | Merry Christmas, Baby. Oct. 30.
Tracey Thorn | Tinsel and Lights. Oct. 30.
Michael Jackson | Bad: 25th Anniversary Edition (4 discs). Sept. 18.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band | 50th Anniversary Collection (4 CDs). Sept. 25.
Woody Guthrie | The Complete Government Recordings (7 CDs). Sept. 25.
Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders | Keystone Companions: Complete Fantasy Recordings (4 CDs). Sept. 25.
The Beatles | Magical Mystery Tour Deluxe Editions (2 DVDs, 2 EPs). Oct. 9.
Peter Gabriel | So 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (3 discs) | Immersion Edition (8 discs). Oct. 23.
Bill Withers | Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums Collection (9 CDs). Oct. 23.
Louis Armstrong | Complete Columbia/Okeh & RCA Victor Recordings 1925-1933 (10 CDs). Oct. 30.
Elvis Presley | Prince From Another Planet: 40th Anniversary Edition (3 discs). Oct. 30.
The Velvet Underground & Nico | The Velvet Underground & Nico 45th Anniversary (6 CDs). Oct. 30.