Make no mistake: Thanksgiving is over, and the musical bones have been scraped clean. Here's what awaits you in the digital dustbin: Black Eyed Peas are the upstairs neighbors who don't know when to stop. Bryan Adams is the dude at the bar ranting about his glory days. Ke$ha is every father's nightmare. My Chemical Romance play cops-and-robbers in the desert. Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj keeps us guessing about her sexuality and wondering if she's really the new queen of hip-hop.
SKIP: The Black Eyed Peas, "The Beginning"
Just when I finally was able to get "I Gotta Feeing" out of my head, the Black Eyed Peas return with more. The Peas bust out every whirl, beep, boing, and computer sound available to keep us young, stupid, bumping, and grinding. will.i.am and his hip-hop Scooby Doo gang make music that sounds like an arcade game's revenge. "The Beginning" is the continuing soundtrack to the party that won't stop and the obnoxious party guest who won't leave. You know, the one singing "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" at the top of her lungs before puking on your couch.
SKIP: Bryan Adams, "Bare Bones"
While the Black Eyed Peas charge into the future riding a pack of zeros and ones, classic rocker Bryan Adams goes to his back catalog. Armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and some piano accompaniment, Adams busts out FM favorites in an update from his '97 "Unplugged" collection. This album goes a bit deeper but still feels like nostalgia. Nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia; however, if you're looking for Bryan Adams the Artist, skip "Bare Bones" and check out his photography. The dude knows how to work a camera.
SKIP: Ke$ha, "Cannibal"
Ke$ha is Miley Cyrus' Nashville evil twin and the low-rent cousin to Katy Perry. No easy task. Her EP "Cannibal" is just what you'd expect: nine songs of bad Madonna reruns that lead with shock value, follow with vapidness, and are bathed in a sea of Auto-Tune. It's music to give you gonorrhea.
PLAY: My Chemical Romance, "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys"
In 1973, The Who released a concept album called "Quadrophenia" in which the four band members take on alter egos. It's a record that saved a lot of teenagers' lives -- including my own. It's also given me a soft spot in my heart for a band that has the energy and balls to release a concept album. The Killjoys of the album's title are My Chemical Romance's alter egos, living in a California of 2019. The whole thing feels like a coked-up, apocalyptic, Hot Topic version of a Robert Rodriguez film. It's no "Quadrophenia," but God, it sounds like high art after a bunch of Ke$ha songs.
PLAY: Nicki Minaj, "Pink Friday"
You gotta worry when someone comes out of the gate with hype like "New Queen of Hip-Hop" written on her back. Nicki Minaj has been guesting on tracks for most of hip-hop royalty (Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Ludacris, to name a few), so it's not surprising that she's making her own run for the throne. No doubt Minaj can spit rhymes and profanity with the best of the hip-hop boys club. "Pink Friday" tries to walk the line between gangsta-girl edge and R&B diva soul. It's not always successful, but it's an attention-grabbing debut. Nicki Minaj may not be the queen yet, but she's definitely got her eye on the prize.