England's Newest Hit Makers!

November 13, 2012 2:36 PM ET

Like most people, I have a hard time figuring out who's better: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, or Christina Aguilera!

And here it is, scant weeks before the holidays, and they all have new albums!

So let's get methodical about it! The Beatles have just released a massive box set containing all their albums – in vinyl, no less! The Rolling Stones have also released a new collection, with loads of hits and a sexy gorilla on its cover! And Christina Aguilera – perhaps you've seen her on TV? – brings us Lotus, a brand new collection of great songs, featuring distinguished guests CeeLo Green, Blake Shelton, and a picture of her naked on its cover!

Shall we cut to the chase?

Beatles songs: Old. Rolling Stones songs: Old. Christina Aguilera songs: New!

Beatles: Old guys. Rolling Stones: Old guys. Christina Aguilera: Naked! Blonde!

Next week: Optometrists vs. Ophthalmologists! Who's sexier?

Susan Boyle: Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage (Syco/Columbia) As always, I like to start this blog off with the album I consider to be the week's best – and when it comes to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Susan Boyle, who on earth could argue? The sensational Boyle, seen here on her album cover, wittily mocks her competition this week with an artfully chosen version of "Send In The Clowns" – vaguely reminiscent of that odd Stones outtake from Black And Blue, arrangement-wise – then goes in for the kill with not one but two songs featuring former pop idol Donny Osmond, himself no stranger to the vagaries of the pop music game! Boyle's startling grasp of the latest in psycho-acoustic audio technology reaches its peak here with "You'll Never Walk Alone"--which within its scant three minutes and 24 seconds contains a series of sub-sonic frequencies which will methodically cause 1) gastrointestinal discomfort, 2) involuntary sexual arousal, and 3) an urge to drive to Dunkin Donuts for a Chocolate Iced Bismark! Only bummer? Still no Rush covers!

Green Day: °Dos! (Reprise) Funny that after all this time, few people really seem to get Green Day! This new album, coming on the tail of some other one or something, may be the first that shows the much-loved trio for what they really are: tech nerds! Entirely devoted to the DOS operating system – for indeed, in their early days, the guys spent a lot of time with their Atari 2600s, arguing about the merits of Apple's ProDOS and asking their parents to buy them that ultra-hot new Coleco Adam – this album rocks and rocks hard! Best track may be the offensively titled "F*** Time" – God, are these guys punks or what? – in which charismatic Billy Joe Armstrong curses the laws of relativity for not allowing him to go back in time and buy that IBM Peanut he so desperately wanted but couldn't afford! The music sounds like the same old Who/Kinks/Jam/Buzzcocks mishmash, but heck – these guys have way better hair! Plus I like their name!

One Direction: Take Me Home (Syco) In some ways the best band that ever existed, in others just a bunch of dorks put together for some British reality show, One Direction are nothing if not a fun-loving group of air-breathers! Their latest set, potentially their best ever, shows the Brit chaps to be uninhibited about their weaknesses, musically or otherwise! Instructed to go into a phone booth and make a phone call for their new album cover shot, the poor guys simply can't figure out how to get into the booth and, as the photo illustrates, are deeply concerned their growing fan base might think them dunderheads! Word has it that their cruel art director intends to make the "direction" for their next album's cover involve them both patting their heads and rubbing their tummies at the same time! The album includes some songs!

The Beatles: Stereo Vinyl Box Set (Capitol) Some packages are almost laughable in terms of actually being reviewed, and this staggering set – a collection of 14 Beatle albums, pressed on 180-gram, audiophile vinyl – may rank at the very top of the heap. A beautiful box notable not just for the marvelous, historic sounds contained within, but for the look and texture of the collection itself, it's about all the Beatles any sane human would ever need. But picking up the albums, pulling the vinyl discs out of their respective jackets, perhaps thumbing through the deluxe hardcover book also included here, ranks right up there with actually hearing the music in terms of sensory experiences: It's pure history, marvelously packaged and setting the bar for top-notch, catalog vinyl reissues. Americans of a certain age may find it mildly unsettling to find the band's earliest recordings in a different sequence than Capitol Records provided us, just as UK listeners may wonder how Magical Mystery Tour became an entire album rather than a groovy EP, but a methodical listening of all the discs within evokes nothing but absolute joy no matter what your country of origin. All things considered: about as good as it gets.

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