Record Release Rundown: The Latest Bob Mould, Meshell Ndegeocello, 50 Cent and More

What albums should you be listening to this weekend?

ByABC News
June 8, 2014, 7:00 AM
50 Cent performs in concert at MetLife Stadium on June 1, 2014 in East Rutherford City, New Jersey.
50 Cent performs in concert at MetLife Stadium on June 1, 2014 in East Rutherford City, New Jersey.
Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images

June 8, 2014 -- intro: This week, former Husker Du and Sugar front-man Bob Mould issues another hard-edged back-to-basics record, eclectic funk and soul star, Meshell Ndegeocello issues her 11th eclectic album, 50 Cent returns after a five year break, Echo & The Bunnymen remain as strong as ever more than thirty years into their career, the long-awaited return of nineties trip-hop and alt-rock act Ruby finally gives us a full-length release, and lo-fi buzz-band Parquet Courts issue their second offering. It has been a busy week and there is a lot to discuss!

quicklist: 1title: Bob Mould’s “Beauty & Ruin” ****1/2text: Bob Mould has spent the last few years releasing a string of truly impressive records that pay homage to his years as a hardcore and alt-rock veteran while alternating between hard-edged sounds and pure pop gold. Fans of Mould’s eighties Husker Du output would find much to love in these last few records. It’s as if time stood still for Mould sonically speaking. He’s not mellowing in the least. He’s getting better. Tune-wise, he remains an ace-songsmith, and his gorgeous

melodies often shine through even when buried beneath a wall of guitar fuzz.

The sticker on the cover of “Beauty & Ruin” calls this album “A lifetime of emotion in 36 minutes.” That may be over-stating it, but this is a really passionately rollicking record. In fact, it is a more stunningly assured effort than Mould’s effective last album, 2012’s “Silver Age.” It finds true balance in all of Mould’s strengths. It hits you hard with great punk velocity and bile, but at the same time, these are beautifully crafted pop songs. If his past work with Husker Du and Sugar weren’t proof enough, this record cements Mould’s strong footing in the worlds of both punk and power-pop.

Given the sea-saw of melody and destruction that Mould has delivered here, perhaps “Beauty & Ruin” is a perfect title for this often tightly-wound release. This record was meant to be played at top-volume.

Focus Tracks:

“I Don’t Know You Anymore” Aided by a hilarious music video made for “Funny Or Die,” in which Mould makes sad realizations about the modern music industry and Colin Meloy of the Decemberists provides some self-mocking levity, this strong, hook-driven pop song should get the hits and listens it deserves. Mould is after all a pop writer in a punk’s body and this is one of his strongest singles to date.

“Let The Beauty Be” This is one of the few songs where the guitars recede, giving way to an Elvis Costello-esque ballad in the most classic sense.

“Kid With The Crooked Face” Evoking his hardcore past, you can hardly hear Mould’s voice over the guitar and drum fury, but he’s yelling like a madman, all without losing his sense for melody. In fact this song wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Foo Fighters’ album, “The Colour And The Shape.” No doubt, Dave Grohl has some Mould influence. It may be a two-way street.

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quicklist: 2title: Meshell Ndegeocello’s “Comet, Come To Me” ****text: Bassist and singer Meshell Ndegeocello is now on her 11th album and her sound is as diverse and eclectic as ever. Keep in mind, this is a woman who has spent her career working with everyone from John Mellencamp to Talib Kweli and Redman. If you haven’t heard her cover of Radiohead’s “The National Anthem” from the 2006 tribute album, “Exit Music” you need to immediately.