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Back Tracks

Old dogs learn some new tricks

Sebadoh in concert at the Electric Ballroom, London, Britain - 22 Aug 2011

Artist: Sting
Album: The Last Ship (Sept. 23)
Years Since Last Album: 3
New Twist: It’s actually the soundtrack to a musical about shipbuilding, which will go into production next year.
Potential Success: It suddenly seems like Broadway is what Sting’s entire post-Police output has been building to. Slam dunk.

Artist: Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band
Album: Take Me to the Land of Hell (Sept. 17)
Years Since Last Album: 4
New Twist: The album features musical and typographical innovators like tUnEyArDs and ?uestlove.
Potential Success: The avant-gardester has risen to the occasion for decades, most recently by curating the hugely successful Meltdown Festival in London. It’ll be brilliant, and sell 20 copies.

Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: Hesitation Marks (Sept. 3)
Years Since Last Album: 5
New Twist: Lindsey Buckingham does guest vocals. Yes, that Lindsey Buckingham. Also: new logo.
Potential Success: Black eyeliner never goes out of style.

Artist: Elton John
Album: The Diving Board (Sept. 24)
Years Since Last Album: 7
New Twist: Not so much a new twist as an old one—it has the same piano, bass and drums that marked John’s early recordings.
Potential Success: His solo albums haven’t broken the top 10 on the U.S. Billboard chart since 1997, but the stripped-down approach may intrigue older fans.

Artist: Cher
Album: Closer to the Truth (Sept. 24)
Years Since Last Album: 11
New Twist: Cher does country on one song, while trance-master Paul Oakenfold produced the lead single.
Potential Success: There was a collaboration with Lady Gaga, who didn’t like the result and blocked its release—which isn’t a good sign, considering Gaga’s pop instincts.

Artist: Sebadoh (pictured)
Album: Defend Yourself (Sept. 17)
Years Since Last Album: 14
New Twist: New drummer.
Potential Success: Lo-fi indie rock is back, along with the rest of the ’90s. See: The reunions of Dinosaur Jr. and Sentridoh, which is Sebadoh frontman Lou Barlow’s side project.

Artist: Toad the Wet Sprocket
Album: New Constellation (Sept. 17)
Years Since Last Album: 16
New Twist: Do you need a twist after 16 years away?
Potential Success: FM radio could never get enough of these saccharine alt-rockers with the Monty Python–inspired name.
But FM radio ain’t what it used to be.

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