Gwen Stefani has announced that her second solo album, The Sweet Escape, will be released on Dec. 5, in conjunction with a concert DVD, Harajuku Lovers Live, from her Love. Angel. Music. Baby. tour. But I bet you didn’t know that Stefani is also releasing a series of eight dolls that reflect the Harajuku-inspired fashions of L.A.M.B. They look a bit like alien creatures with big heads dressed in skimpy outfits. I for one am a bit creeped out by this marketing development from the woman who penned the kick-ass song “Just a Girl.”
It may not even be Halloween yet, but a slew of artists have released their Christmas albums lately, including perennial lesbian favorite Sarah McLachlan, whose Wintersong includes her remake of Joni Mitchell’s “River” and several other tunes that seem a bit depressing for the holidays (then again, maybe that’s appropriate, given that the holidays can be so depressing the National Mental Health Association has a special page explaining how to deal with it).
If that’s not your cup of tea, you can pick up Aimee Mann‘s One More Drifter in the Snow, if only to hear her sing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Plus, it has a weird, slightly disturbing photo of Mann leaning through the plastic antlers of a fake reindeer.
If you’re determined to have a happy holiday instead of a moody, alt-rock one in which you spend most of your time writing in your journal, get your hands on Rachael Ray‘s How Cool Is That Christmas. That’s right, the ubiquitous Food Network star is kicking off a line of compilation CDs with this disc. It includes classics like Frank Sinatra singing “White Christmas” and Aretha Franklin in “Winter Wonderland.” Hey, at least it’ll keep you peppy while you try to churn out Christmas cookies in 30 minutes or less!