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Pop Making Sense
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2010-01-13

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Last year saw overdue comebacks, sleeper hits and monumental arrivals. Here are some hot 2010 releases worthy to cut short any winter hibernation. Titles and street dates are subject to change.

Last year Whitney Houston reclaimed the spotlight. Now, she is going to remind listeners where it all started with the re-release of her debut Whitney. The 25-year anniversary edition contains an a cappella version and remix of "How Will I Know" plus a live rendition of "Greatest Love of All." The accompanying DVD has the set's four promotional video clips, as well as a young Houston singing "Home" from The Wiz on The Merv Griffin Show. This reissue will be out Jan. 19.

It is said that Christina Aguilera is teaming with impressive acts like Sia, M.I.A., Santigold, Le Tigre, Ladytron and Goldfrapp for her next album, due in March. This will be her first as a mom. Don't forget, Aguilera's other project is a role in the motion picture Burlesque. Here, Cher will play the club owner.

What will be the year's most bizarre pairing? It might be David Byrne and Fatboy Slim collaborating with guest vocalists on the Imelda Marcos-inspired full-length Here Lies Love or it could be the all-star line-up of Lou Reed, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Barry Gibb and Bobby Womack on The Gorillaz's The Plastic Beach.

Sia's much-anticipated We Are Born will arrive in April. On the bisexual artist's latest, Bird and the Bee, mastermind Greg Kurstin is producing. The Australian singer-songwriter has leaked a version of "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie and a new take on "You've Changed"—as if Sia's heavenly remake of "Under the Milky Way" from the Lincoln commercials was not enough.

Sigur Ros' frontman Jonsi steps out on his own again with Go. The mostly acoustic outing will have arrangements by classical composer Nico Muhly, who worked with Bjork, as well as partially queer acts Antony and the Johnsons and Grizzly Bear.

On top of having a hand in Kylie Minogue's forthcoming album, Scissor Sisters is readying for its third release. Like Minogue, the New York-based quintet is working with producer Stuart Price. Hopefully, vocalist Ana Matronic will have a larger presence here.

After a 10-year break, Sade returns with Soldier of Love. Don't fret; Soldier of Love should be available Feb. 9, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Will Placebo resurrect its stateside tour? It was indefinitely postponed after bi singer Brian Molko fainted during a show in Japan. Unfortunately, the '80s-influenced La Roux canceled its two prior Chicago gigs. Hopefully, the third time is a charm, as La Roux is scheduled to take to the stage on Thursday, Feb. 1, at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln.

It is true: Lilith Fair will be back with a Chicago stop. Sheryl Crow and Mary J. Blige are among the great female artists already on board.

Lesbian identical twin sisters Tegan and Sara will be at The Aragon, 1106 W. Lawrence, Friday, March 26, before committing to Lilith Fair dates.

Is the world ready to see Sacha Baron Cohen portray Freddie Mercury? Rumors are amuck that the actor behind Bruno will be portraying Queen's flamboyant frontman. A biopic on the '70s all-girl rock group The Runaways will hit the big screen Friday, March 19.

With a fantastically gritty rock sound reminiscent of The Runaways, Hunter Valentine is going to step forth with a full length in 2010. Hunter Valentine has opened for The True Color Tour veterans The Cliks.

The Cliks saw yet another line-up change in 2009. Still led by Lucas Silveira, the band is continuing as a trio, with Tobi Parks on bass and Dresden Dolls' drummer Brian Viglione on the skins. A concert in its latest incarnation is a must-see. A solo acoustic version of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" recently has become a YouTube hit for Silveira.

Many great independent acts will be back in the forefront this year. Keep an eye out for the domestic issue of British songbird Dot Allison's folk-gone-Memphis masterpiece Room 7½. IAMX will tour again this spring and a remix album hopefully will see the light of day. Superb storyteller Namoli Brennet's Black Crow lands in the end of February. Fans of The Cure will want to check out Veil Veil Vanish's debut, arriving Tuesday, Feb. 23.

There will be an abundance of gay artists with new material. Boy George's latest, "Amazing Grace," is now on YouTube; this song recalls his "Bow Down Mister" days. Now that Telling on Trixie has broken up, lead singer Derek Nicoletto is branching out with Derek and the Darling. Chicago's very own Jason Antone will have remixes and a music video for his upcoming track "Ooh Ooh Ooh." Levi Kreis' next single "Gonna Be Alright" will be available with a special remix package. The talent behind "We're Okay" will also have a music video for "Nothing at All." Expect new material from the out dance-pop singer Brian Kent.

Also hitting shelves in 2010 will be long-awaited albums by Erykah Badu, Blondie, Toni Braxton, Dido, Estelle, Faithless, Peter Gabriel, Goldfrapp, Groove Armada, Heart, club diva-in-the-making Kelly King, British dance sensation Little Boots, Billie Ray Martin, Massive Attack, Natalie Merchant, Kylie Minogue, ] Monica, No Doubt, Sinead O'Connor, Olive's Ruth Ann, Cat Power, Radiohead, Corinne Bailey Rae, R.E.M., She & Him, Tracey Thorn, Jody Watley and Amy Winehouse.


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