Halftime Report

Taking a look at some of the most buzzed-about albums of the year

Chance It'll Be Nominated for a Grammy: 10 percent. It's good while you're listening to it, but once you turn it off, this release is easy to forget. It's also nearly 2 years old in Europe, and the delayed American release won't bode well for her when it's time for year-end lists.


Weezer (Red Album)

Santogold jumps and dresses like a cheetah.
Santogold jumps and dresses like a cheetah.

What's the Buzz? They've been oddball rock stars for the past 15 years, and there's very little that these L.A.-based dudes haven't accomplished. Their string of eponymous releases is always wildly popular with fans, and anticipation for the Red Album just scored them a cover story this week in Spin magazine.

Is It Worth a Damn? Rivers Cuomo doesn't disappoint in the slightest. Of the ten songs included in this short-but-sweet disc, all of them make you want to fall in love. Tunes like "Heart Songs" and "Pork and Beans" showcase how versatile the group is. Plus, it was produced by Rick Rubin. When's the last time he struck out?

Chance It'll Be Nominated for a Grammy: 85 percent. The one thing they haven't accomplished yet is winning a Grammy, and if rock continues to have a down year creativity-wise, the Red Album should warrant this band a miniature gramophone for sure.

The Roots

Rising Down

What's the Buzz? The Roots have been doing a ton of press in support of the album, and with only two original members of the group left (Black Thought and ?uestlove), it was a mystery how much Rising Down would even sound like the Roots.

Is It Worth a Damn? Rising Down isn't exactly the group's classic album, Things Fall Apart, and if you expect it to sound like that, you'll be disappointed. But as far as raw honesty goes, this is its most in-your-face album to date. And Black Thought raps like he's a can of Red Bull on "75 Bars."

Chance It'll Be Nominated for a Grammy: 70 percent. The group has lots of respect with industry insiders, and that should help. But the album is dark, angry, and unflinching, so don't be surprised if it gets passed over for a more-commercial rap selection.

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