Chris Willman
September 26, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT


DIDO Life for Rent The chanteuse spent a year honing her sophomore effort with brother/producer Rollo. If single ”White Flag” is any indication, it won’t stray from her 1999 multiplatinum debut. THE BUZZ She earned her wings with No Angel, but can she fly without Eminem? (9/30)

STING Sacred Love On his eighth solo album, the savvy Mr. Sumner combed the globe for intriguing collaborators, from Mary J. Blige (duetting on ”Whenever I Say Your Name”) to Norah Jones’ half sister, sitarist Anoushka Shankar. THE BUZZ We’re guessing the world’s wealthiest Jaguar salesman can still find a way to drive up the charts. (9/30)


THE DISTILLERS Coral Fang The much-hyped punk upstarts make an inevitable grab for the brass nose ring with a ferocious but polished major-label debut. Producer Gil Norton (the Pixies, Foo Fighters) helped the foursome leap from ramshackle hardcore to wide-screen rock. THE BUZZ The Distillers’ true-believer intensity and singer Brody Armstrong’s irresistible growl will turn some faux-hawked heads. (10/14)

BARBRA STREISAND The Movie Album Nearly 20 years after Babs struck gold with The Broadway Album, she’s finally set her sights — and her pipes — on cinema songs. Among the classics tackled are ”Moon River” and, less obviously, a tune from the 1982 Burt and Goldie flick Best Friends. THE BUZZ If ya like Barbra and you’re into movies… (10/14)

ROD STEWART The Great American Songbook: Volume 2 Remember how Neil Diamond had a surprise late-career hit with a Christmas album…and prompt-ly released two more holiday discs in a row? Enjoying a similar resurgence, Stewart has quickly produced a second set of big-band balladry, reviving the overfamiliar likes of ”As Time Goes By.” THE BUZZ Slicked-up standards may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, but it’ll be a natural for upper-demo stocking stuffing. (10/21)

JOE STRUMMER & THE MESCALEROS Streetcore Barring future compilations, this new disc (completed by Strummer’s bandmates after his death last year) will probably be his last will and testament. The Mescaleros aren’t exactly world-beaters when it comes to world beat, but there’s a playful vibe at work here that makes one think the Clash titan died a happy man. THE BUZZ Sentimental fans should help make this his best-selling solo record ever. (10/21)

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