Bruce Springsteen has put together a three-CD collection of work spanning his career in The Essential Bruce Springsteen on Columbia.
The first two discs cover his classic cuts, from "Blinded By the Light," "Thunder Road," "The River" and "Born To Run" to "Born in the U.S.A.," "Dancing in the Dark," "Human Touch" and "Streets of Philadelphia."
The third "bonus" disc offers more obscure songs and live cuts as early as 1979. Columbia also has issued a separate companion double DVD featuring Springsteen Live in Barcelona. The DVD contains the entire October 2002 Barcelona concert, as well as a bonus disc of interviews and select U.S. concert footage from Springsteen's recent The Rising tour.
Columbia continues its Now That's What I Call Music! collection series with Vol. 14. The new disc offers 20 recent singles from a broad spectrum of artists. Included are Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," Bow Wow's "Let's Get Down," Justin Timberlake's "Senorita," Jagged Edge's "Walked Outta Heaven," Liz Phair's "Why Can't I?," Fountains of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom," Nickelback's "Someday" and 3 Doors Down's "Here Without You." The label also has issued a Now That's What I Call Music DVD collection, which includes videos from Snoop Dogg, Ginuwine, Jessica Simpson, Counting Crows, Evanescence, Lisa Marie Presley, Coldplay, Train and more.
Zebrahead returns with its third album, after a three-year absence, and the result is a high-octane hour of 15 rapidfire rock bullets.
Taking its never-slow-down vocal and guitar cues from the Offspring, while taking a furious punk-rap hint from bands like Cypress Hill, 311 and Kid Rock, Zebrahead is not for those afraid of volume. These guys rock hard, fast and loud.
Nearly every track on MFZB (named after its fan club) crackles with electric energy. "Rescue Me," a fiery bit of introspection, opens things with a chugging guitar and Offspring-like chorus where singer Justin Mauriello begs "rescue me/from this world/from myself … before I grow old."
That's followed by the head-crackin' rap of the lovers' fight song, "Over the Edge," which has one of the slickest anthem rock choruses on the album. "Hello Tomorrow" starts out slower with an easy strummed guitar that segues into a slamming rocker, with nods at Green Day power-riffing. In "The Set-Up," Mauriello says "lie to me/tell me everything will be alright" before launching into a spitfire recounting of a lover's breakup. And speaking of spitfire, Mauriello has one of the fastest tongues in rock today; the raps that pepper the verses on many of these tracks — like the funk-punk fest "Alone" — are so fast it's dizzying. Just try to spit the words out along with him. I dare you!
MFZB is a welcome return from this California powerhouse, and one of the top hard rock discs of the year.
(Zebrahead will play the House of Blues with Chicago band Lucky Boys Confusion on Nov. 24.)