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It's the hot new releases of the week


By Miranda Smith

With a host of new releases out in the region for the new year, we take a look at some of the major albums expected to top the UAE's music charts soon.

Y Not by Ringo Starr: Ringo Starr has always done best with a little help from his friends, be it with the Beatles in the 1960s or the high-profile contributors to his solo albums. The big guns are firing again on his newest release, Y Not, and to good effect.

Joe Walsh, Dave Stewart, Richard Marx, Van Dyke Parks and Joss Stone (who duets on the gritty album-closer Who's Your Daddy) help Starr write some of his best and most poignant songs in years. And the marquee guest – fellow Fab Paul McCartney – delivers, too, laying a loping bassline into the song Peace Dream (which name-checks John Lennon by the way) and a haunting echo vocal into the string-laden Walk With You.

The ever-optimistic Starr tells us he's tired of being negative at the album's outset. It's hard to be anything but positive in this kind of company.

This is War by 30 Seconds to Mars: When 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto wants to go epic, he doesn't go halfway. In nearly every song on the band's third album, This Is War, Leto enlists the services of a backing choir (some of the vocals were provided by fans, recorded at a series of so-called summits held around the world), while others came from a group of Tibetan monks.

Produced for the most part by U2 collaborator Flood, the new album rarely operates at anything less than a frenzied fever pitch, with thundering percussion grooves, Leto's top-of-the-lungs yowl and wave after wave of Edge-style guitar theatrics.

A widely reported collaboration with Kanye West (Hurricane) didn't make the album – Leto has blamed label issues – but perhaps that was for the best.

It's not easy to imagine where the rapper would have found room to fit here.

The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga: As if Lady Gaga's debut album, The Fame, wasn't loaded with enough hits – four number ones on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart, to be exact – the set's companion EP boasts eight new tracks, nearly all of which are worthy of heavy rotation.

Following the Marilyn Manson-esque bravado of Bad Romance is Alejandro, where Gaga channels Ace of Base's Don't Turn Around, and she improves on her first crack at a light Caribbean stomper from The Fame, Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say).

Meanwhile, Telephone – one of two recently charting duets by Gaga and Beyonce – trumps its predecessor, Videophone, in the feistiness department.

Gaga sings of her popped heart seams on the piano power ballad Speechless, while on Monster, the artist talks about the "monster who ate my heart."

Who else but Gaga could make crushes sound this, well, crushing?

All albums are out now from Dh65


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