March 1, 2012 | by Juliette Ebner
Whole lotta covers

Out singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright returns with his seventh studio album "Out of the Game" to be released May 1. (Photo by Tina Tyrell; courtesy the Karpel Group)

This spring brings the release of several albums from icons, “American Idols,” Broadway divas and more. Some artists, such as Madonna and Adam Lambert, are releasing long-awaited returns to the music scene, while others are reworking their sound or releasing covers projects.

After a successful performance at the halftime show of the Super Bowl this year,Madonna’s long-awaited new album, “MDNA” drops March 26. The album will have 15 tracks, including first single “Give Me All Your Luvin’” and her Golden Globe-winning, “Masterpiece.”

Adam Lambert, of “American Idol” fame, has his second album, “Trespassing,” slated for a March 20 release. The out singer acted as an executive producer and co-wrote many of the tracks, working with guest artists such as Pharrell Williams, Sam Sparro and Bruno Mars.

Tony winner Idina Menzel, best known for her work on Broadway in “Wicked” and “Rent,” has a new CD and DVD coming out March 6 for her PBS special, “Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony.” The concert, recorded in Toronto, will feature Broadway numbers and reworkings of songs such as Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and Sting’s “Roxanne.” Taye Diggs, Menzel’s husband, also makes a guest appearance.

Another “American Idol” alum Clay Aiken has a new album “Steadfast” coming out on March 26. This new album comes on the heels of the out singer’s participation on the NBC’s reality series “The Celebrity Apprentice.” The album is an extension of Aiken’s previous album, “Tried and True,” with an original song, “Bring Back My Love” and covers of songs by Neil Sedaka and Connie Francis.

Gay singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright has teamed up with producer Mark Ronson for his newest album “Out of the Game” to be released May 1. This is Wainwright’s seventh studio album and features musicians such as the Dap-Kings, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Wainwright’s sister, Martha Wainwright.

Local gay indie singer/songwriter Tom Goss releases “Lost Songs and Underdogs” on April 3. Goss holed up in a one-room cabin in rural Virginia, turned off his phone and computer and wrote the project during a time of soul searching. He calls it “direct, honest” and his “most intimate” project yet. It’s available in a couple editions with various bonus tracks and perks. Go to tomgossmusic.net for details.

Pop singer Katy Perry is releasing a special edition of her album “Teenage Dream” on March  27. The new album, entitled “Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection,” will feature the original 12 tracks plus three new ones, a Tommy Sunshine megamix of Perry’s previous six singles, the Kanye West version of “E.T.,” the Missy Elliot version of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and an acoustic version of “The One That Got Away.”

Grammy-winning R&B singer Macy Gray returns with a new album “Covered,” set to release March 26. The album features 16 covers including Gray’s take on the Eurythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain Again,” the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps” and even Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.”

Lionel Richie has a new album coming out on March 26, “Tuskegee.” The album includes 13 tracks, each one featuring a different country act with Richie, such as the Rascal Flatts joining him on “Dancing on the Ceiling,” Jennifer Nettles on “Hello” and Shania Twain on his classic duet with Diana Ross, “Endless Love.”

Bruce Springsteen is back on March 6 with “Wrecking Ball,” his 17th studio album. The album features 11 new recordings including “We Take Care of Our Own” and two bonus tracks on the special edition.

Coming off a touching tribute to Etta James at the Grammys, Bonnie Raitt has a new album, “Slipstream” slated to drop April 10. This is her first studio album in seven years and will feature renditions of classics songs by artists such as Bob Dylan and more.

The Counting Crows have a new album, also coming out April 10, entitled “Underwater Sunshine (or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation).” They too are covering Bob Dylan with their own rendition of “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” as well as Big Star’s “The Ballad of El Goodo” and “Ooh La La” by The Faces.

And don’t forget local drag queen Shi-Queeta-Lee’s debut single “My Name is LOVE,” about making a difference and stopping the hate and bullying. The single is available for download at cdbaby.com/cd/shiqueetalee for $1.29.

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