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Top 10 New Pop Albums January 14, 2014


Although the pace of major new releases is still in a bit of a post-holiday lull.  There is a set of new albums well worth hearing this week.  Veteran rock group Switchfoot leads the pack which also includes a strong set of new projects by female performers.

1. Switchfoot - Fading West

Switchfoot - Fading West
Courtesy Atlantic

Switchfoot are one of the few bands that manages to successfully straddle both the Christian rock and the mainstream rock worlds.  Their most recent studio album Vice Verses reached the top 10 across the overall album chart as well as Christian, rock, and alternative genre charts.  

The new album Fading West accompanies a documentary film of the same name.  The single "Who We Are" was the first from this project.  It reached the top 20 on the Christian, rock, and alternative songs charts.


2. Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes

Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes
Courtesy Columbia

Rock music living legend Bruce Springsteen topped the album chart with his last three consecutive studio albums.  The new album is a collection of cover songs, outtakes, and reworked versions of previously released songs.  Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello appears on the album.  Among the prominent songs that have been reworked are "The Ghost Of Tom Joad" which has been covered in the past by Rage Against the Machine and "American Skin (41 Shots)" which Bruce Springsteen has been playing live in tribute to Trayvon Martin.

Promotion of the new album has taken place through both the hit TV drama The Good Wife and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. The title song from the album has been released as the first single from the project.

3. Jennifer Nettles - That Girl

Jennifer Nettles - That Girl
Courtesy Mercury Nashville

Jennifer Nettles is best known as the lead vocalist for country music duo Sugarland.  They have released four studio albums.  All have reached the top 3 on the country albums chart.  The last two topped both country and the overall album chart.  All four sets have been certified platinum for sales.

That Girl is Jennifer Nettles' first solo album.  Rick Rubin produced the effort, and it includes songs co-written with a range of prominent artists including Butch Walker, Sara Bareilles, and Richard Marx.  The title single is a top 40 country hit.

4. Rosanne Cash - The River and the Thread

Rosanne Cash - The River and the Thread
Courtesy Blue Note

It has been more than four years since the last studio album from Rosanne Cash.  That was the collection of country music covers titled The List.  It became the highest charting album of her career.  Pop fans are still most familiar with Rosanne Cash for her 1980s hit single "Seven Year Ache."  The new album is her first to be released through Blue Note Records.

5. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Give the People What They Want

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Give the People What They Want
Courtesy Daptone

This fifth album from soul revivalist singer Sharon Jones and her group the Dap-Kings was delayed after the vocalist was diagnosed with cancer.  Following treatment she performed this past November as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The new album has received widespread acclaim for sticking true to the band's soulful heart.

6. Mary Chapin Carpenter - Songs From the Movie

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Songs From the Movie
Courtesy Rounder Records

Despite massive popular and critical success winning four consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in the 1990s, Mary Chapin Carpenter has always remained true to her personal muse.  For this new album, she revisits many of her past songs with new orchestral arrangements.

7. Chris Wallace - Hits Like a Hurricane EP

Chris Wallace - Hits Like a Hurricane EP
Courtesy ThinkSay

Chris Wallace first gained success as the lead vocalist for the group White Tie Affair.  They had a minor hit in 2008 with the song "Candle (Sick and Tired)."  The band officially broke up in 2012, and shortly after Chris Wallace released his first solo single "Remember When (Push Rewind)."  It reached the top 25 at mainstream pop radio.  This new EP includes the single "Keep Me Crazy" and will be followed by a re-release of his first full-length solo album Push Rewind this spring.

8. Pixies - EP2

Pixies - EP2
Courtesy PIAS America

The Pixies are revered alternative rock pioneers.  Last year the group released the single "Bagboy" as their first new music in over a decade.  It was followed by the release of EP1, the group's first music without founding member Kim Deal.  The new music received a negative critical response.  The new EP is the second in an expected series of three EPs by the band.

9. James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical

James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical
Courtesy Vagrant

James Vincent McMorrow is an Irish singer-songwriter.  His debut album Early In the Morning was released in 2010.  It received strong critical acclaim and was compared to the work of American alternative artist Bon Iver.  The new album moves away from the acoustic folk of the first release in a more soulful direction using electronic instruments.  The artist has said he moved in the new direction to avoid repeating himself.

10. The Crystal Method - The Crystal Method

The Crystal Method - The Crystal Method
Courtesy Tiny E

Electronic music duo the Crystal Method made a big splash with their 1997 debut album Vegas which has been certified platinum for sales. The new collection is their first in nearly five years.  It includes the single "Over It" including former The Voice contestant Dia Frampton.

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