New This Week: Katy Perry, Chuck Berry, Phoenix, and More

Wendy Geller
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Katy Perry: Witness

Searching for something to listen to this weekend? Yahoo Music has you covered with a rundown of some of this week’s biggest and buzzing releases, including Katy Perry, Chuck Berry, Phoenix, and more. Check back every Friday for a fresh list of albums to help fuel your weekend playlists.

Katy Perry: Witness (Capitol). One of 2017’s most anticipated records, Perry’s latest set is filled with the expected superstar guests (Nicki Minaj and Migos among them) and tip-top production. For all the hype, however, it falls a bit short in the personality department: Fans who love Perry for her Perry-ness, as well as her anthemic singalong hits, will find this is a somewhat soulless effort in comparison to much of her prior work.

Chuck Berry: CHUCK (Dualtone). The late Chuck Berry, who passed in March at the age of 90, hadn’t put out an album since 1979. This is his final gift to his fans, sounding as classic as it would have 38 years ago, and featuring dazzling reinventions of his own signature sound on a variety of new compositions. The set was recorded around his hometown St. Louis, and features his longtime backing group, including two of his children.

Phoenix: Ti Amo (Glassnote). It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from French synthpop band Phoenix, and on this release, they explore a breezy, ’70s-inspired soft rock love letter to the charms of Italy, calling up visions of everything idyllic about a summer spent south with no cares except eating gelato.

Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie: Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie (Rhino). As everyone knows, these two are one-half of Fleetwood Mac. This is the first time they’ve joined together to record as a duo — and while certainly an unexpected collaboration, it works, with the one caveat that it’s somewhat difficult to listen without hoping to hear the strains of Stevie Nicks joining in.

Glen Campbell: Adios (UMe). Campbell’s final album (he’s currently in the later stages of Alzheimer’s Disease) features songs written by Roger Miller, Bob Dylan, Dickey Lee, Jerry Reed, Fred Neil, and includes appearances from Willie Nelson and Vince Gill. The album is additionally very personal for many reasons, not the least of which is the inclusion of his daughter Ashley and sons Cal and Shannon on the recording.

Lady Antebellum: Heart Break (Capitol Nashville). The hit-making country trio took a different approach to creating their sixth album, choosing to leave Nashville to write and work in the beachy environments of Florida and Southern California. The result is a warm, breezy, and occasionally even funky set that isn’t quite like anything else in their catalog.

Rancid: Trouble Maker (Hellcat/Epitaph). East Bay punks Rancid have been stirring up albums filled with social commentary mixed into their own personal tales of emotion for two decades now. On their ninth studio album (produced by fellow punk legend Brett Gurewitz) they cement this legacy, offering fans an extension of their ska and rockabilly-tinged sound.

SZA: Ctrl (Top Dawg Entertainment/RCA). After several delays which left fans impatiently tapping their toes, alternative R&B singer-songwriter SZA — who’s written for Rihanna and Beyonce — finally has dropped her debut full-length. The set stands on its own and is only enhanced by appearances from A-list guests Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, Travis Scott, and James Fauntleroy.

Rise Against: Wolves (Virgin). It’s a good week for punk rock, as these veterans approach two decades strong and as popular as ever. This is not a particularly surprising record, nor is it as political as some of their others (it seems a bit vague, in fact), but fans will appreciate its timeless sound.

Gov’t Mule: Revolution Come…Revolution Go (Fantasy). Frontman Warren Haynes is nothing if not prolific. Gov’t Mule has an arsenal of richly told stories/songs under its belt, with this collection simply adding to its vault of material. Topically, as expected for a 2017 record, things lean toward the 2016 U.S. election and the effect it produced upon a nation.

Ani DiFranco: Binary (Righteous Babe). The 19th solo album by the seemingly unstoppable activist/feminist/songwriter offers fans exactly what they expect — deeply personal viewpoints combined with social and political commentary, all served up with precise musicality. As usual, DiFranco chooses carefully who she collaborates with; Jenny Scheinman, Ivan Neville, Maceo Parker, Justin Vernon, and Gail Ann Dorsey make appearances on the set.

London Grammar: Truth is a Beautiful Thing (Ministry of Sound). The sophomore set from the trip-hop trio finds them working with Paul Epworth and Greg Kurstin, who produce for Adele. Frontwoman Hannah Reid shows off her formidable voice on a range of different styles, all coated in an icy sonic polish.

The Secret Sisters: You Don’t Own Me Anymore (New West). Produced by Brandi Carlile, this set provides a snapshot of time, as well as a catharsis of self-expression for (real life) sisters Lydia and Laura Rogers, who underwent a series of extremely difficult personal and professional issues over the past few years.

Various Artists: Iconic Performances From The Monterey International Pop Festival (Monterey International Pop Festival) This retrospective of the famed 1967 Northern California festival features previously unreleased performances by the Grateful Dead and Laura Nyro, as well as performances Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Big Brother & The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkel, Buffalo Springfield, The Electric Flag, The Mamas & The Papas, and others.

Christina Grimmie: All Is Vanity (Republic). This is the posthumous, family-released album from the beloved singer, songwriter, fan favorite from NBC’s The Voice, and YouTube icon who tragically was killed by a fan last summer. Grimmie’s final songs — delivered beautifully — serve as an emotional tribute to a young life that was taken far too soon.