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And All That Could Have Been
And All That Could Have Been
12 used & new from $28.49

1 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Worst live album of all-time", May 2, 2002
This recording is probably the worst live album of all-time, bar Vanilla Ice: Extremely Live. Now before a bunch of gothic-freaks start sending us well thought-out e-mails like "U GUYZ R FOOOLZ!!! NINE INCH NAILS RULZZ!!!," let us explain. It's not like we hate Nine Inch Nails or Trent Reznor - far from it, actually. We still consider his second album Downward Spiral to be one of the greatest metal albums ever recorded, gaining major accolades from everyone. But, as everyone knows, Reznor went downhill from there, releasing two-discs of mediocrity in Fragile, and literally doing what the title said in Things Falling Apart. And now, in what seems like an attempt to cash-in on the fanbase he had in the mid-90s, the one-man-band has come out with a live recording that hears a compilation of both old and new material. For example, take a listen to "Terrible Lie," from his practically unheard of first album Pretty Hate Machine. Those who have listened to the tune know that it's a classic amongst industrial rock, but Reznor literally rips apart his own song to shreds in this rendition, implementing 80s electronica and a drummer who can't time his beats right. Similar comments can be said about the majority of songs on the CD, all being from his first two albums, and when anything from his later recordings appear, it hurts the ears to listen to it. And for those brave enough to venture into the second CD, you'll be victim to something worse than any Nine Inch Nails tune you'll ever listen to - Trent Reznor Unplugged. That's right; Reznor screams his lungs out with an accompanying piano playing out his softer tunes, in a bonus disc that you have to hear to believe.
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Strange Attitude
Strange Attitude
59 used & new from $1.70

2.0 out of 5 stars "Don�t bother with this", April 28, 2002
This review is from: Strange Attitude (Audio CD)
Now's your chance to experience the wildness of Benjamin Diamond's scratching by picking up the DJ's greatest tunes in this 2-CD set. Hailing from France under the name Benjamin Cohen, Diamond started his career off as a punk rocker, playing guitar with bands like El Destroyo, Sister Double Happiness and on numerous compilations, before finally hitting it big by teaming up with Thomas Bangalater of Daft Punk in Stardust's Music Sounds Better With You. Realizing that he had great potential as a mixer and vocalist, Cohen changed his name to the more illustrious Diamond and released his first album Strange Attitude in 2001. Tying in with his Asian tour comes the Limited Edition, including an extra disc that features B-sides, video clips and remixes - but, as everyone knows, bonus features can't make up for a terrible album, with Diamond's first recording sounding like a perfect clone of fellow French band Air. Filled with pretentious lyrics, overused bass lines and numerous repetitions, the album seems only suited to yuppie-types and brainless supermodels - ironically, the majority of which frequented his gig. Numerous critics have praised his singing on former recordings (which we acknowledge and agree with), but here it sounds monotonous and dull, lacking the passion that Diamond had in his former bands. And while the album has also received acclaim for Diamond's wide repertoire of talent, with him playing the majority of keyboards and guitar, we refuse to chalk up the instruments as one of his "gifts", mainly due to the fact that he just isn't any good at playing either one of them. Don't bother with this; pick up something by Daft Punk, Phoenix or Air instead.


When I Was Cruel
When I Was Cruel
Offered by insomniacsonline
Price: $9.99
153 used & new from $0.01

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "A fantastic piece of work", April 28, 2002
This review is from: When I Was Cruel (Audio CD)
If the name `Elvis Costello' to you only conjures up thoughts of `something to do with Presley' or `that guy from Austin Powers 2', then stop reading this review right now, go to a record store and buy yourself a clue. Right, so for those of you who have the least bit of musical knowledge, you'll know that Costello's been around for longer than most can remember. He's a versatile artist who's changed from being a punk rocker in the 70s to a new wave performer in the 80s & 90s, both with stunning results. And now with When I Was Cruel, his first solo recording in nearly six years, he's ventured somewhere between both styles, with the title harkening back to the days of 1977's My Aim Is True, when his name used to mentioned along with The Clash and the Sex Pistols. The actual album, however, lacks the firepower that made his initial tunes so ferocious, sounding like modern-day `punk' songs, but with fantastic lyrics, great riffs and superb vocals. It starts off with the sublime "45", with Costello proving that at nearly 50, he can still rock, though not as hard as he once could. A subtle bass lets us hear the singer's lyrics, while a restrained drumbeat kicks into Costello's guitar, resonating classic 70s beats in a tune that ultimately falls short. On tracks like "Tear Off Your Own Head" and "Alibi", Costello uses lines like "I love you just as much as I hate your guts", evidently to make his music sound harder than it is. The results, however, turned out to be grittier versions of his alt-pop songs, which at first sounded off the wall, but slowly became somewhat enjoyable. When I Was Cruel isn't exactly what we were hoping for (something along the lines of his earlier work would've been preferred), but it's still a fantastic piece of work.


In Our Gun
In Our Gun
Offered by Multilingual Books and Records
Price: $9.99
131 used & new from $0.01

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Be in awe", April 28, 2002
This review is from: In Our Gun (Audio CD)
Before Gomez came along in 1998, there were really only three types of Britpop music: 1) the Beatles "homage", used by bands like Oasis and Pulp, 2) the trippy space-rock, like Radiohead or the Verve, and 3) the overused techno method, that the Charlatans have recently implemented. But five guys from Liverpool changed all that, proving that you could be an indie rock band, and use styles like blues, soul and reggae in your music. Their third real album after the entertaining, but slightly flat B-sides collection Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline, In Our Gun sees Gomez using their three years off well, implementing numerous innovative tunes that will surely make countless bands jealous. Instead of putting out the first tunes that came to their fingers, like they did in the mediocre Liquid Skin, they've experimented with 30s-esque country, modern-day dub, 80s electronica and various other now-underused techniques. The album starts off well with "Shot Shot", a tune obviously aimed at fans of their previous releases, but with a superb jazz saxophone that somehow works well with the vocal stylings of Ben Ottewell Tom Gray and Ian Ball. It straight away changes direction in "Rex Kramer", a superb O Brother, Where Art Thou?-esque tune that surely, along with the aforementioned album, signals a comeback for bluegrass music. As the album goes on, noticeable influences turn up, with Beck and Pavement feeling prominent on "Even Song", "Ruff Stuff", "Drench" and titular track "In Our Gun", while both "Ping One Down" and "Army Dub" seem straight out of a Lee "Scratch" Perry record. Despite the fact that there is definitely a noticeable change in Gomez' latest tunes, die-hard fans will enjoy it if they're open-minded enough, while casual listeners will surely be in awe at what a modern day band can achieve.


Release
Release
25 used & new from $0.01

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Horrible collection of tunes", April 28, 2002
This review is from: Release (Audio CD)
Huge in the end 80s/early 90s, the Pet Shop Boys met the demand for psychedelic dance music at their respective time, with their first two releases Please and Actually selling hundreds of thousands of copies upon their respective releases. Despite this fact though, they have over the years faltered in terms of both music and their publicity, with members Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant still putting out pretty the much the exact same tunes that they started with. The mid-90s were a disastrous time for the British duo, with the only movement for Bilingual, Nightlife and Introspective being from the `Sales' rack to the `Bargain Bin'. And even though this year's Closer To Heaven, an album that they wrote but didn't produce, was exceptionally enjoyable, they've come back with Release, another horrible collection of tunes that must've seemed great 15 years back, but feels tiresome now. The recording opens with hit-single "Home and Dry", a song that uses the prolonging effect on the lyrics, e.g. "Home and Dry/Home and Dry-ey-ey-ey-ey", making us want to pull our hair out as it seems to last nearly forever. It is, however, followed by their Beatles homage "I Get Along" that asks the question: What would John Lennon have sounded like if he turned out to be a washed-up has-been? - in truth, though, it's not half-bad a track, and would be enjoyed by people who still wear parachute pants. Song's like "E-Mail" and "The Night I Fell In Love" see the boys attempting to update themselves a bit, with the former concerning modern technology, and the latter, their terrible journey into pseudo-white rap (Eminem). But not everything will make your ears bleed, ex-Smith's guitarist Johnny Marr plays on a few tracks - it, however, is not exactly anything to write home about. There's no doubt that this album will be enjoyed by 80s purists, but for newcomers, if you've got a ... note burning a hole in your pocket, or your local CD store is going out of business, and this is all that's left on the shelf...then try and buy the shelves.


Fat Chance
Fat Chance
Offered by VinumGeckoMusic&More
Price: $13.28
49 used & new from $1.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "A pleasurably addictive experience", April 28, 2002
This review is from: Fat Chance (Audio CD)
While the cover of debut-performer Biscuit Boy's CD makes it look more like a hip-hop/punk album than a Supergrass-esque Britpop recording, the tracks don't disappoint. It again reiterates that the 80's band The Housemartins were arguably the most underrated group to come out of this planet since Cream, spawning such great musicians as Biscuit Boy himself (Paul Heaton), the band The Beautiful South and even the extremely-talented Norman Cook. A preamble states, "I am Biscuit Boy, I am full of sugar but I am good for you" - a phrase that pretty much describes what the album is: feel-good yet imperfect songs. But Heaton, unlike his former collaborator Cook, hasn't gone and done a `Fatboy Slim'; he's stuck to his indie roots and put out a wholly enjoyable album. Almost 40 now, Heaton still shows that he can perform as well as the rest out his past cohorts putting out lyrics that combine love, politics, the media and even salvation seekers into bright and jaunty yet loose tracks. Opening with the melodically seamless "10 Lessons In Love" that unites excellent trumpeting with first-rate guitar riffs backed by The Mescaleros' Martin Slattery and Scott Shields. The danceable "If" is a subtly constructed track making Heaton sound like a young Bob Dylan with 21st century equipment that at the same time lyrically attacks deceitful liberals with lines like "If God comes down/Which he won't/Half the do-gooders/Will find they don't. Our favorite though has to be "The Real Blues", combining classic gospel blues with Heaton's trademark raspy yet surefire voice to produce a perfectly recorded track with backing by a great drumbeat. Combining rock, blues, country, gospel and dance, Biscuit Boy's first album is a pleasurably addictive experience that'll make you go out and buy a Housemartins CD.


Beetroot
Beetroot
12 used & new from $3.00

3.0 out of 5 stars "Not exactly a perfect album", April 28, 2002
This review is from: Beetroot (Audio CD)
While not exactly a perfect album, Brit-pop Cast's new album Beetroot comes pretty close to the best they band will ever be. Ditching their Beatles-esque sensibilities for James Brown-Marvin Gaye inspired pieces that they say "keeps things interesting" - which it does, but doesn't mean it's good. Cast's sense of music seems to have mutated into something that you at times love and at others despise with all your heart. The album starts off with the extremely addictive hit single "Desert Drought" with its combination of keyed up backing vocals and heart-pounding drums making it sound like something out of a Guy Ritchie film - but what really stands out is the legendary Jethro Tull's guest flute on the track, sounding incredibly fresh in an age of angst-filled rock and unappealing hip-hop. Then again, "Kingdoms and Crowns" intricate tempo and repetitive melodic bass beat remind us of the awfully terrible Peter Gabriel - something which we'd prefer not to hear on a Cast album. The album is back on track with "I Never Can Say" going back to their original All Change roots, sounding very much like The Who with added sweet and often eerie effects and is accompanied by the excellent "High Wire" combining strange disco pop with Cast's unconventional music style. The record seems to follow the same trend as it goes on, a few good followed by a few bad, making it ultimately quite average. What will be interesting is when they incorporate the finest songs from this CD on to a Best of Cast album - something we'll be sure to pick up. In the end, we must say we are quite disappointed that the Hong Kong version of the CD only includes eleven tracks compared to the twelve on the American version and the full thirteen on the UK collection, missing out on a couple of songs that could have put the album into the `exceptional' territory - but then again, it could've made it terribly horrific as well.


Wonderland
Wonderland
Offered by IMS Distribution
Price: $8.07
97 used & new from $0.01

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Need to write more pure rock and roll songs", April 28, 2002
This review is from: Wonderland (Audio CD)
Mellowing down from their dance-pop sensibilities into a 70's Velvet Underground-inspired band, The Charlatans seem to have changed their egotistical, over-the-top attitude into a relaxed unruffled band with some fully admirable tracks, although not all of which are exactly perfectly assembled. Following up their disastrous "Us And Us Only" - their latest album being their second album after keyboardist Rob Collins passed away, with most of the songs being, as Mark Collins describes it, "more to the point." It kicks off with what sounds like a tribute to the Sex Pistols "Pretty Vacant" in "You're So Pretty - We're So Pretty", with enjoyably clattered guitar pulses and a superb backing through a traditional dance beat. It's, however, followed by the extremely high-pitched "Judas", that uses an annoyingly cyclical background guitar that sounds like its out of an 80's videogame. It gets worse in the so-called `hit single' "Love Is The Key" - an extremely over-glossed pseudo-Californian song that drags on for much too long considering the chorus is basically "Love Is The Key/Love Is The Key" repeated over and over, combined with a guitar so loud you can hardly even hear the lyrics. It is however redeemed much later on in "And If I Fall" the starts off sound like an Ennio Morricone tune, and kicks into familiar Charlatans territory that reminds us how good Tellin' Stories was. As the CD comes to a close, we notice that The Charlatans will never be at such a high period as they were before, and realize we have to enjoy what we have. But we must say that The Charlatans need to write more pure rock and roll songs and leave remixing to the DJs.


Live on Brighton Beach
Live on Brighton Beach
47 used & new from $4.41

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Great live gig", April 28, 2002
This review is from: Live on Brighton Beach (Audio CD)
Now this is how a live recording should be. None of that compilation-from-different-performances bull - but just one night, one set and 30,000 people, with all the perfections and mistakes. Many know that Fatboy Slim is up there with Radiohead, U2 and System of a Down in terms of great live gigs, but unlike most of his performances, his appearance at Bright Beach saw him, uncharacteristically, playing not only favorites like "Star 69" and "Sunset (Bird Of Prey), but some Norman Cook's favorite techno tunes from the `90s, including his renditions of tracks by Basement Jaxx, Santos, Underworld, Letfield and Raven Maize amongst others. Opening with a shortened, slower version of the Trainspotting classic "Born Slippy", the album kicks into full gear with a more upbeat rendering of the DJ's own "Right Here Right Now" that obviously got the crowd going quite a bit. Cook proceeds to perform a similar act throughout the rest of the album, redefining celebrated DJs' greatest hits in his own innovative way. There really isn't much of a track definition in terms of different tunes, with numerous songs overlapping each other. Notably, a tune like "Where's Your Head At?" is listed on the back as being track eight, but can be heard more evidently on track's seven and nine, making the CD more suited to a party situation rather than you just sitting at home with your headphones on. If you're a fan of Fatboy Slim - and we don't mean You've Come A Long Way Baby - then you'll surely find some great aspects in this live recording. If you're only preference to the DJ is "Rockefeller Skank" then we recommend that you stick to listening to J-Lo.


Grammy Nominees 2002
Grammy Nominees 2002
74 used & new from $0.01

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Hear the majority of them if you switch on your radio", April 28, 2002
This review is from: Grammy Nominees 2002 (Audio CD)
Like the Oscars, many argue that the Grammy's are nothing more than a marketing tool to help out manufactured bands gain recognition in the field of music, with bands like The Spice Girls, N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys frequently receiving nods for fields like Best Artist of The Year, despite the fact that no-one can really tell the difference between any of their music. However, the past few years have seen unknown and superb talent receiving the props they deserve, with `70s giant Carlos Santana running away with the majority of the awards two years ago, and U2 grabbing Record and Song of the Year in 2001. This year sees an eclectic mix of hit-and-miss tunes from the Grammy judges (read: old farts), with U2 getting nominated again, and Bob Dylan, Elton John, R.E.M. Alicia Keys and fictional band Soggy Bottom Boys all receiving well-deserved nods. But as soon as we see Michael Jackson's inclusion on this compilation, we know there're going to be some horrible misjudgments - and there are: Craig David, Brian McKnight, Backstreet Boy, Five For Fighting and Nelly Furtado are all integrated into the awards. And, as always, will probably garner undeserved prizes for their useless music, yet again ditching the great bands like the Strokes - chosen as Best Album Of 2001 by Time, NME, Entertainment Weekly and yours truly at HK Magazine, but not even seeing one nomination. As for the tunes on the CD themselves, their pretty much even, a great tune like "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" is followed by MJ's "You Rock My World", with that format dominating the whole collection as the album goes on. Pick it up if you're a fan of excellent mainstream music, but you can probably hear the majority of them if you switch on your radio


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