Audio Vaporware

I can remember a time when album-release dates meant something.

When a label said the new Foreigner album would be out and such and such a date, by God, that's when it came out. But no more.

Some notable delays in recent weeks: Left Eye's solo joint, Mariah's "Glitter," and the kicker, N.E.R.D.'s debut CD, "In Search Of..." And this isn't your typical delayed release date either. Usually albums are pushed back to coincide with appearances and publicity, or to avoid going head to head with other high-powered releases. But Chad and Pharrell of N.E.R.D. intend to re-record the entire album using live instrumentation — this despite the fact that advance copies of the initial release have already gone out to the music press and have found their way on to Napster, AudioGalaxy et al.

Not since Prince's Black Album has there been such a strange and high-profile non-release. I just hope it's worth the wait.