Just because I get a lot of free music doesn't mean I still don't suffer from occasional bouts of New Release Neurosis. You know, NRN: frequent finance-related fretting when tons of hot new albums are dropped around holiday season but you hardly have the dough for a Big Mac and fries, let alone a shiny new record. I feel you, gang. So in the name of helping my fellow cash-poor music fans, here are five of fall's biggest albums — and one good song from each to sate your jukebox jones. Let's fight the scourge of NRN one track at a time, shall we?
The album: Loud (Island Def Jam)
The download: Raining Men
Rihanna's follow-up to dark, disturbing bestseller Rated R is a lighter, party-minded affair, and the good times start with Raining Men, a hyperkinetic island with randy pal Nicki Minaj, who is in no mood to deal with dopey dudes. "Set your standards lower, boy, you're aiming too high!" It hurts so good, ladies.
The album: Illuminations (Reprise)
The download: Hidden Away
Mysteriously bearded, barefoot producer Rick Rubin was hired to take some of the Roquefort out of poperatic smiley boy Josh Groban. The full-throated singer can still heat things up, but Rubin's preferred spare arrangements, as on Hidden Away (written with songwriter Dan Wilson), keep Grobsy from turning into Velveeta fondue.
The album: Born Free (Atlantic/WEA)
The download: Care
It's good to be Kid Rock, a music-biz survivor who's tweaked his Detroit dirt-ball routine just enough to keep hip-hoppers and country-rock fans interested. On strange-bedfellows duet Care, the bad boy born Bob Ritchie invites country cougar Martina McBride and rapper T.I. to share the Jack Daniels with him.
The album: Greatest Hits … So Far!!! (La Face)
The download: Trouble
The newly pregnant Alecia "Pink" Moore is another pop act who's managed to cultivate a full complex career at a time when stars are disposable one-and-done comets. So congrats to her for getting to "greatest hits" status. She's had a bunch of chart-toppers (Get the Party Started being her biggest), but I've always liked 2003's metallic brouhaha Trouble, co-written by Rancid's Tim Armstrong.
The album: Get Closer (Capitol)
The download: Put You in a Song
Mr. Nicole Kidman has been through some tough times over the course of seven albums, but you can finally hear a hunky Aussie who's enjoying himself. I appreciate the sentiment behind Put You in a Song: A guy's best chance to get a girl is to write about her. Cheap but effective!
Weekend movies Dollar amounts in millions
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, $125.1
Due Date, $9.2
The Next Three Days, $6.8
Source: Hollywood.com, estimate for Friday-Sunday.
Top 5 prime-time TV shows
NFL Football: New England at Pittsburgh (NBC)
Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
Dancing With the Stars Results (ABC)
Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick (NBC)
Source: Nielsen Co., for week ending Nov. 14
Top 5 albums on iTunes
Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, Kid Cudi
Speak Now, Taylor Swift
The Lady Killer, Cee Lo Green
My Kinda Party, Jason Aldean
Sigh No More, Mumford & Sons
Source: iTunes, for week ending Nov. 15
Top 5 Yahoo search terms in Tampa Bay
Michael Douglas family
St. Petersburg Rib Fest