Top tunes, freshest hits for the fall semester

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September 12, 2008

1:28 PM

For music lovers, keeping a full wallet is no easy task. With major releases pouring out each week — from golden oldies to the hottest new voices — it’s hard to figure out where your money should go, and who really deserves that coveted spot in your CD booklet. Here’s a helpful guide for the latest and upcoming releases.

Oasis, “Dig Out Your Soul”

It’s been three years since the release of their sixth studio album, “Don’t Believe the Truth.” Now, the English rock band Oasis has finally returned with its seventh: “Dig Out Your Soul,” due Oct. 6. Recorded in Abbey Road Studios — possibly an attempt to rekindle the presence of the Beatles, the band’s heaviest influence — the quintet returns with another round of high-energy tracks for the tormented listener. The first single off the album, “The Shock of Lightning” (due Sept. 26), should offer the same soaring melodies and reflective lyricism that have long sparked the haunting voice of frontman Noel Gallagher.

Note to Reader: If you’ve never heard of Oasis — nearly impossible if you’ve lived through the ’90s — check out one of their iconic rock songs (“Wonderwall” or “Champagne Supernova”) or read up on the ongoing sibling rivalry between Noel and Liam Gallagher. These brothers share lead song-writing duties for the group.

Release Date: Oct. 6, 2008

T.I., “Paper Trail”

Difficult doesn’t even begin to describe the past year for Atlanta-based rapper T.I. From run-ins with the law and the death of one of his best friends to the stillborn death of his daughter, T.I. has endured many hardships, all while maintaining his Southern swagger and contagious humility. In preparation for his one-year jail sentence, T.I. is taking every opportunity to launch his career to the highest possible level, working on a new movie project, clothing line, record and television production and — the best part — a new album. His sixth studio album to date, “Paper Trail” could be one of the best-selling albums of the year. With an abstract CD cover and great tunes oozing from almost every track, T.I. proves he’s still a force to be reckoned with in the rap game. Look for his second single, “Whatever You Like,” which has topped the charts for the past three weeks.

Producers/Artists featured on the album: Swizz Beatz, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Scott Storch, Danja

Release Date: Sept. 30, 2008

Ne-Yo, “The Year of the Gentleman”

With sharp suits, crooner-style singing and spiffy hats to cover that big, bald head, R&B singer Ne-Yo returns this fall for his ’60s-inspired studio album, “The Year of the Gentleman.” Influenced by the sounds of the Rat Pack, ‘Gentleman’ once again shows off Ne-Yo’s sophisticated approach to songwriting and production, with more odes to the women who can’t quit breaking his heart. Soft melodies, swaying beats and mood-enhancing tracks (couples, you know), give Ne-Yo the tools to capture the essence of a true gentleman — class.

Best Tracks: Miss Independent, Stop This World, Closer

Release Date: Sept. 16, 2008

Thievery Corporation, “Radio Retaliation”

On its fifth studio album, “Radio Retaliation,” the Washington, D.C.-based acid jazz duo — which has provided music for a number of movies (“Garden State”) and T.V. shows (“The Sopranos”) — lives up to its eclectic, tried-and-true approach to songwriting. Using non-Western influences, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation confront such socio-political issues as corruption and economic downfall on an international level. Both original and thoughtful, the album grooves with new rhythms and a diverse set of languages, pushing for a more progressive, socially conscious way to listen to music.

Featured Artists: Femi Kuti, Seu Jorge, Anushka Shankar, the late Chuck Brown, Notch.

Release Date: Sept. 23, 2008

The Cure, “Dream 4.13”

One of the most influential rock bands of the ’80s, The Cure has permeated pop culture with everything from goth-inspired clothing (smudged red lipstick and frazzled hair) to covers of bands such as 311 and Death Cab for Cutie. With 12 studio albums and some pretty memorable songs (“Just Like Heaven,” “Lovesong”), The Cure raises the bar on its 13th album, “4:13 Dream,” putting an upbeat, angsty spin on their post-punk influences.

Released tracks: “The Only One,” “Freakshow,” “Sleep When I’m Dead”

Release Date: Oct. 14, 2008

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