Every week Apple adds tons of new media content on iTunes — music, books, movies and more. It's impossible to keep up with all of it, but it's not impossible to pick out the very best. Here they are! This week we've got new music from two 80s icons: Annie Lennox and Billy Idol. We have a new release of the latest Hobbit movie, a fantastic new Star Wars TV show, and more!
Nostalgia - Annie Lennox
First as one half of Eurythmics and later as a solo artist, Scottish singer Annie Lennox has had an enduring impact on pop music ever since the 1980s, when Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) hit radio waves in 1983. In her solo career, Lennox has become one of the greatest blue eyed soul singers ever. Nostalgia is a collection of her favorite soul, R&B and jazz songs from her childhood. She lets it rip with a growling cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' I Put a Spell On You, and puts her own spin on Hoagy Carmichael's Georgia On My Mind. Though that song's closely associated with Ray Charles, Billie Holiday did another famous cover of it, and Lennox revisit's Holiday's ouevre with Strange Fruit and God Bless the Child too. Twelve songs, all of them simply gorgeous.
Another figure of 1980s pop music, Billy Idol is back on the charts too. This is his first new album in nine years, and his best work in a much longer time than that. There are a few clunkers here, to be sure — I can pass on the title track, a weird biographical meandering with bizarre medieval instrumentation. Ghosts In My Guitar covers the same territory but is actually a listenable track. There's a lot of good stuff on here, and Steve Stevens' guitar work is unmistakable. Idol's back!
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition
Watch the second installment of Peter Jackson's epic The Hobbit trilogy again, this time with 25 extra minutes of new and extended scenes. What's more, iTunes Extras is packed with more than 9 hours special features: special effects info, behind the scenes with cast and crew, and much, much more.
It's broadcasting on Disney XD, but if you don't have Disney XD, or if you just want to keep it for posterity, here's your chance: the first season is available as a season pass on iTunes. Star Wars Rebels is the fantastic animated series that tells the story of the Rebellion's beginnings, set five years before the events in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Despite its Disney XD origin, Star Wars Rebels isn't just for kids — this is awesome Star Wars entertainment. Way better than the prequel movies too, though that's probably damning with faint praise.
From the stand-up comic that turned "Hot Pockets" into a punchline, Food: A Love Story is Jim Gaffigan's valentine to food, a subject he knows quite a bit about. In his second book, Gaffigan waxes philosophical on everything from gravy to kale, the bacon cheeseburger, pretzel bread and more.