5 albums you should check out today including Smashing Pumpkins, Anderson .Paak, Mariah Carey and more

Here's run down of the top five album releases from the previous week and what makes them worth a listen

5 albums you should check out today including Smashing Pumpkins, Anderson .Paak, Mariah Carey and more

The year's almost come to an end, but that doesn't mean the musical world is stepping off the gas pedal. Last week saw yet another batch of impressive music releases, carrying on the trend of the year so far. Among the many noteworthy releases, some stood out as key highlights that definitely deserve a listen.

From Mariah Carey's much-awaited comeback to Smashing Pumpkins resurrecting their original line-up to Creed II's star-studded soundtrack and more, last week spoiled music aficionados for choice. To save you the trouble of sifting through the countless options on streaming services, here is our pick of the top 5 releases from the week:

Anderson .Paak - Oxnard

Album art for Anderson .Paak's 'Oxnard' (Photo Credit: Aftermath Entertainment)
Album art for Anderson .Paak's 'Oxnard' (Photo Credit: Aftermath Entertainment)

Anderson .Paak's much-awaited new album, 'Oxnard', released last week to rave reviews. The album is the first to be released via Aftermath Records and head honcho Dr. Dre worked closely with .Paak on the album, helming most of the production. The follow-up to 2016’s 'Malibu' boasts a string of high-profile collaborations, including Kendrick Lamar ('Tints'), Pusha-T, J. Cole, Snoop Dogg, Q-Tip, ScHoolboy Q, and more. 

'Oxnard' displays .Paak at his most playful best as he sings, raps and plays a host of instruments through the 14-track effort. "Two control freaks, perfectionists that just can’t stop working on a project,” he said of working with mentor Dre. And, it clearly shows on the album.

Listen to the full album here.

Smashing Pumpkins - Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.

Album art for Smashing Pumpkins' 'Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.
Album art for Smashing Pumpkins' 'Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.

For the first time in 20 years, 90s alt rock legends Smashing Pumpkins returned with the original lineup of Billy Corgan, James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlain on their comeback record 'Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1'. Longtime guitarist Jeff Schroeder rounded up the lineup to produce the crisp, 8-track effort that shows the Pumpkins step back into the thick of things with new, rejuvenated energy.  

While the critical response to the album has been mixed, longtime fans of the band will get to see a mix of the old and the new as they are re-introduced to a band that made a name for itself with its non-conformist ideas and no-bulls**t approach. 

Listen to the full album here.

The Good, the Bad, and the Queen - Merrie Land

Album art for The Good, the Bad and the Queen's 'Merrie Land'
Album art for The Good, the Bad and the Queen's 'Merrie Land'

Damon Albarn has been having quite a productive year. He returned with Gorillaz's new album 'The Now Now' earlier this year, which arrived less than a year after their last release. Pushing his creative boundaries even further, Albarn reunited with Paul Simonon (The Clash), Simon Tong (The Verve), and Tony Allen under the banner of the supergroup The Good, the Bad and the Queen with the new album 'Merrie Land'.

Arriving a full decade after their self-titled debut, the album is a politically charged one, with a scathing criticism of Brexit intertwined into its jangly, meandering sound. Listen to the full album here.

Mariah Carey - Caution

Album art for Mariah Carey's 'Caution'.
Album art for Mariah Carey's 'Caution'.

'Caution' is Mariah Carey’s first release since 2014’s 'Me. I Am Mariah… the Elusive Chanteuse'. Guest spots on the 10-track effort include Blood Orange, Slick Rick, Ty Dolla $ign, and Gunna. But what's more interesting is that the list of producers credited on the album outweigh the artist collaboration.

Apart from Carey herself, the list of producers includes Skrillex, No I.D., Timbaland, Nineteen85, Poo Bear and many more. In spite of all the cooks adding their own touch to the broth, the album is far from cluttered. 15 albums into her sprawling career, Mimi reminds us why her very name is synonymous with musical excellence.

Listen to the full album here.

Mike WiLL Made-IT - Creed II: The Album

Album art for 'Creed II: The Album', the OST of the forthcoming Rocky sequel
Album art for 'Creed II: The Album', the OST of the forthcoming Rocky sequel

Legendary producer Mike WiLL Made-It’s star-studded soundtrack to one of the most anticipated films of this fall arrived last Friday. 2018 has been the year of exquisite soundtracks and the sequel to the 'Rocky' reboot from 2015 is yet another to flex its chops.

Previewed by ScHoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, and Eearz’s 'Kill ‘Em With Success', as well as the Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell Williams link-up 'The Mantra', the album also features Bon Iver, Lil’ Wayne, Nas, Nicki Minaj, Vince Staples, ASAP Rocky, and Rick Ross, as well as a posse cut called 'F.I.G.H.T.' featuring Gucci Mane, YG, Trouble, Migos' Quavo, and more. 

Listen to the full album here.