R. Kelly - Ignition
Weeks on Chart: 21 Peak: # 15 (May 2003) buy it!
Apparently, accusations of having sex with a minor and possessing child porn won't kill your career if you know how to put together good pop hooks. The Ignition remix, from Kelly's Chocolate Factory CD, is a great testament to Kelly's skills. Kelly's vocal quickly darts around the lyric and mixes up speeds to create different moods while staying very cool. The music has the smooth confidence of a soul classic with easy, fluid keyboards and a relaxed handclap beat. Kelly smartly uses backing singers, creating a moment of excitement with their toot toots and beep beeps. Kelly's lyric is pretty awful. The title comes from a charming sexual metaphor promising "to take my key and stick it in the ignition." Kelly's comeons have the usual brags about an opulent lifestyle and compare a girl to his Lexus and a football coach("the way you got me playin' the field"). Luckily, Ignition sounds so good that you don't focus on its silly words.
Radiohead - Optimistic
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: # 17 (Nov. 2000) buy it!
Radiohead's new Kid A CD is interesting and annoying, ambitious and self indulgent. The songs are often spacy and atmospheric and don't really go anywhere but Optimistic is fairly linear. It's a little like OK Computer's Paranoid Android with a little more juice. Unlike some of the Kid A songs, which have no guitar, Optimistic has a good direct, scratchy Jonny Greenwood guitar line which keeps the song moving. It also gets good texture from forboding percussion. Thom Yorke's vocals are compellingly tortured and not too idiosyncratic. Yorke starts the song with gloomy images of vultures circling and big fish eating little ones and evokes a unconcerned world. Presumably ironically, Yorke tells us it's good enough if you do the "best you can."
Radiohead - There There
Weeks on Chart: 10 Peak: # 40 (June 2003) buy it!
I'm guessing that even some of the millions who stuck with Radiohead for their atmospheric sonic experiments on Kid A and Amnesiac found it trying to find the brilliance among the pretension and obscure experimentation. Hail To The Thief isn't a group of catchy pop songs bit it does have a bit more song form than its predecessors. It's a little closer to Radiohead's first three records, which communicated alienation in challenging but somewhat accessible rock songs. There There is one of the band's most focused recent efforts. It's a fascinating mix of evocative textures that creates a haunting effect. There There starts with Phil Selway's muffled tom toms and clicking beat. Jonny Greenwood comes in with a tense, circular riff then he's joined by Colin Greenwood's solid bass line. Distorted or muted backing vocals pop in and out. One of the worst things about Kid A and Amnesiac was the tendency to deemphasize guitars. Jonny Greenwood and Ed O'Brien's guitars give substance and form to Thom Yorke's meanderings. There There slowly works its way towards a cathartic, chiming guitar riff which clashes with a harder guitar line. Yorke's vocal, of course, is the vehicle that carries There There and most of Radiohead's music. Depending on my mood and its context, I can find Yorke's needy, sensitive tuneful whine beautful or very irritating. Regardless, Yorke's ability to immerse himself in a song is fascinating. There There is apparently a love song of sorts. Yorke sings about "walking in your landscape" and tripping on broken branches. He says "heaven sent you to me" but also warns of sirens "singing you to shipwreck." There There ends with a familiarly gloomy line("we are accidents waiting to happen") but also has a startlingly creepy reference to phantom limbs("just because you feel it doesn't mean it's there") that, coupled with the dislocation in Yorke's voice, is a reminder of Radiohead's gift for original, striking images.
Rage Against the Machine - Guerrilla Radio
Weeks on Chart: 17 Peak: # 19 (Nov. 1999) buy it!
Guerrilla Radio is more driving, heartfelt guitar driven rock. Rage are probably the most popular political band around. While the excitement of their intense music probably attracts more fans than their left wing politics, the sincerity of their beliefs is part of their appeal. On Guerrila Radio, the band again comfortably mixes rock and rap. Zack de la Rocha sings optimistically, "it has to start something" and "can't stop us now."
Rage Against The Machine - Renegades Of Funk
Weeks on Chart: 11 Peak: # 29 (Dec. 2000) buy it!
Renegades Of Funk is from Renegades, a record of political songs originally done by people like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Cypress Hill. It's Rage Against The Machine's last CD with Singer Zack De La Rocha, who is leaving for a solo career. Renegades Of Funk is a cover of an Afrika Bambaataa song. Zack gets into it, having fun with the commands to move and groove. Rage always claim a single minded determination to fight for justice so they must like Renegades Of Funk's sweeping statements. Renegades' hook, "no matter how you try you can't stop us now", has the optimism of a Rage song like Guerilla Radio. There's also a little self aggrandizement. They boast, "we change the course of history" and compare themselves to Martin Luther King and Tom Paine. Renegades Of Funk is more about beats and less about guitars than the usual Rage song. The cheap Sci Fi synth recalls the sound of Afrika Bambaataa's time. The beats and the simple idealism create an appealing energy.
Rage Against The Machine - Sleep Now in the Fire
Weeks on Chart: 11 Peak: # 18 (April 2000) buy it!
On Sleep Now in the Fire, as usual, Zack de la Rocha delivers a heartfelt rant against the world's evils. With hyberbolic flair, the lyrics refer to a society willing to ruin the world to satisfy its desires and punish those who don't follow the greedy plan. Rage's passionate political beliefs make them distinctive but their music helps attracts the millions even when their message is a little over the top. Tom Morello's fast, driving guitar makes Sleep Now in the Fire great rock.
Rage Against The Machine - Testify
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: # 43 (Sept. 2000) buy it!
Testify, the third chart hit from the Battle of Los Angeles, debuted on the top 50 as the band was playing a protest concert outside the Democratic Convention. One of the pleasures of the convention coverage was watching anchors trying to explain the band. Despite the impression some of the reporters gave, the band are idealistic and somewhat simplistic but they know what they're talking about. Testify is about coverage of the Gulf War. They argue that the killing of Iraqis was all about oil profits and that the media put a soothing face on atrocities but had a responsibility to expose the dark side of U.S. actions. As always, the passion of the lyrics and Zach DeLaRocha 's singing grabs you but Tom Morello's big but melodic guitar sound keeps things appealing.
Rancid - Fall Back Down
Weeks on Chart: 7 Peak: # 42 (Sept. 2003) buy it!
It's been a good year for Rancid singer/co-songwriter Tim Armstrong. Diamonds and Guns from Transplants, Armstrong's side project was a minor hit. Now Fall Back Down from Indestructible, Rancid's first CD since 2000, is Rancid's biggest hit since Ruby Soho and Time Bomb off their 1995 And Out Comes The Wolves record. The success of bands like Good Charlotte, Sum 41 and Simple Plan, who do poppy versions of punk, has made radio more ready to embrace bands like Rancid again. After hearing the glossy, youthful versions of punk, it's good to hear Rancid's purer, less gimmicky, more adult version getting a chance. There's nothing remarkable or groundbreaking about Fall Back Down. While they may have influenced the latest generation of punks, they're still open to accusations that they closely mimic their predecessors, especially The Clash. Armstrong's rough rasp is pretty generic. He sounds a little that guy who rants in the Outback steakhouse advertisements. Still, Armstrong's singing is charmingly direct and he avoids cuteness. Similarly, Fall Back Down is likably straight forward. It has an appealing, upbeat feeling. Fall Back Down has good, slicing guitar playing and drummer Brett Reed and bass player Matt Freeman make sure Fall Back Down stays fast and fun. On Fall Back Down, Armstrong vows that despite his enemies and, especially, a woman who "betrayed me", with the help of "my crew", I'm gonna make it alright."
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Around the World
Weeks on Chart: 14 Peak: # 13 (Dec. 1999) buy it!
Scar Tissue, the first single from Californication, was a real breakthrough. The song, with Anthony Kiedis singing "with the birds I share this lonely view", had a nice sense of maturity. Around the World is more traditional Chili Peppers fare but it is a good time. Kiedis is cheerfully dopey whether crooning, doing a goofy rap or degenerating into gibberish. It's a fun love song with Kiedis singing "you say hello and I say I do" as well s a tribute to how life is beautiful all around the world.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way
Weeks on Chart: 24 Peak: # 1 (Sept. 2002) buy it!
Like Californication's Around The World, the title track from Red Hot Chili Peppers' new CD mixes the band's trademark styles. Unlike Around The World, By The Way is fun and likable and doesn't get too stupid. By The Way's verse has the mellow, serious sound of the band's recent hits. Its breaks have the Peppers' classic goofy, anarchic sound. The quieter parts remind me of Californication's Otherside. They avoid the heavy, humorless feel of some of the band's ballads. Anthony Kiedis' vocal, nicely underlined by John Frusciante's simple guitar strum, seems to have improved. He sounds more relaxed and comfortable than on some of the band's more serious songs and creates a little poignance as he sings about a "sad little girl singing songs to me beneath the marquee." The looser part, with Kiedis' wacky rap, Flea's heavy bass and Chad Smith's adroit drumming, resembles a Peppers song like Suck My Kiss. It would probably be annoying if it made up a whole song but here the playing around provides a nice contrast.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication
Weeks on Chart: 20 Peak: # 2 (Oct. 2000) buy it!
Do we really need another serious, sensitive single from the Chili Peppers? Scar Tissue was a very good song but I could do without their other recent displays of maturity. Californication is the fourth chart hit from the CD of the same name. Anthony Kiedis intones the lyrics so seriously that you'd think he was the first person to notice the shallowness of Hollywood life. His indictment is fairly predictable in pointing out that people are seduced and then exploited in their search for glamour and(taking a shot at Courtney Love) that plastic surgery and other tools create an arifticial world. The music is a little bland but John Frusciante has a good, sad guitar riff.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Cant Stop
Weeks on Chart: 25 Peak: # 8 (Feb. 2003) buy it!
Cant Stop, the third single from the By The Way CD, continues the Chili Peppers recent habit of following fairly serious, mature singles with looser, goofy songs that echo the bands anarchic earlier music. Like Around The World and other Chili Peppers songs, Cant Stop is a multipart song that quickly segues from wacky to sincere. Cant Stop is a good showcase for John Frusciantes versatility. He alternates between jagged and smooth guitar parts and even gets to play a hard rock solo and a bit of a skanky ska line. As usual, Anthony Kiedis is both annoying and charming. The verses showcase the typical free asssociation glibness hes used on songs like Give It Away but hes still appealing on the chorus singing about the world I love, the tears I dropped and the trains Ive hopped. Cant Stops familiarity is its strength and weakness. Cant Stop is genial and generally goes by easily but its so unmemorable and such a slight variation on other lightweight Chili Peppers songs that its basically pointless.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dosed
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: # 36 (July 2003) buy it!
I try to stay away from bad critic cliches but the fourth chart hit from the Chili Peppers' By The Way CD really invites me to write things like every time I listened to Dosed, I dozed or it sounds like Anthony Kiedis got a bad dose of something. The bottom line is Dosed is a bore. Dosed has a lot of nice and pretty things but it's really lightweight and Kiedis' vocal is quite awful. Kiedis uses a vague, odd, wimpy falsetto that makes him sound like he feels sick to his stomach. The good parts of Dosed are John Frusciante's smooth, sweet guitar playing and a nice uplifting chorus with good harmonies. Dosed has a kind spirit but the verses are lame and the whole song is very tame. With every song fit for easy listening radio, it becomes more unclear how the Chili Peppers have maintained their image as raucous rockers and why modern rock radio and their older fans haven't abandoned them. Dosed's lyric partly explains the song's melancholy mood. Dosed apparently is about a woman who died after working her magic on Kiedis.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Fortune Faded
Weeks on Chart: 10 Peak: # 14 (Jan. 2004) buy it!
Red Hot Chili Peppers continue to deal with how to make rock music as you reach middle age. It's good that they realized they'd seem silly if they kept making the kind of raucous music they made in the 80's. Their music these days is, mostly decent and competently made. But while it's pleasant and tasteful, it usually lacks much spark and can be plain boring. Fortune Faded, a new track on the Greatest Hits CD which covers the band's music since 1989, is more listenable, unexciting music. The best thing about Fortune Faded is John Frusciante's sleek processed guitar riff. Otherwise, with power chords, Flea's thumping bass and Chad Smith's pounding drums, Fortune Faded has the trappings of a rock song but little of the energy and surprise that can make one good. It passes by easily but uneventfully and repetitiously. Anthony Kiedis' vocal doesn't grab you. Especially for a guy who developed an image by doing things like playing concerts naked, his singing is mannered and bland. The lyric tell us that the reasons for his fading fortune include a "medicated state of mind" and the fact you can quickly find you've overstayed your welcome in a show biz world that's a "hell of an elevator."
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Otherside
Weeks on Chart: 7 Peak: # 3 (March 2000) buy it!
After the mindless diversion of Around the World, the third hit from the Californication CD returns to the more reflective tone of Scar Tissue, though Otherside, apparently about contemplating joining a dead friend, has a sadder, more agitated tone. The music is restrained with a quiet, insistent tone coming mostly from bass and drums until the guitars explode at the end. Older fans might not like it but the Chili Peppers keep showing signs of maturity.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Scar Tissue
Weeks on Chart: 17 Peak: # 1 (Oct. 1999) buy it!
In the past when the Chili Peppers did slow songs like My Friends, Soul to Squeeze and Under the Bridge, it seemed like they were trying to prove that they could be serious. Scar Tissue, the first single from the Californication CD, has a mature, adult sound but is also relaxed and unshowy. Without the theatrics of their previous biggest hit, Under the Bridge, Scar Tissue has good atmosphere and a reflective tone.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Zephyr Song
Weeks on Chart: 19 Peak: # 2 (Oct. 2002) buy it!
I was bored by some of the Chili Peppers' earlier attempts at a serious, adult sound but they've won me over with the By The Way CD's singles. Zephyr Song is fairly lightweight but it has the easy, natural flow of a classic. Zephyr Song follows a now common Chili Peppers pattern with a loose, goofy verse and a more serious, catchy chorus. But the verse isn't that goofy. Anthony Kiedes' vocal is playful rather than stupid. Kiedis' singing isn't great but he's became more comfortable as a balladeer. Zephyr Song's chorus is wonderful. Kiedis trades the verses' free association for a simple, elegant invitation to "fly away on my zephyr", promising "we'll find a place together." The song that came to mind the first time I heard Zephyr Song was Lulu's To Sir With Love. I still feel like the comparison is apt. Seemingly effortlessly, they both knock you out with a light, uplifting hook. Zephyr Song is a nice showcase for guitar player John Frusciante. He lays down a good fluid sound and plays a decent, unshowy doodle of a solo that fits the easy mood. Ending with majestic percussion crashes, the Chili Peppers sought a meaningful sound on Zephyr Song but they were smart enough to keep the mood relaxed.
Red Hot Chili Pepper - Otherside
Weeks on Chart: 20 Peak: # 1 (April 2000) buy it!
After the mindless diversion of Around the World, the third hit from the Californication CD returns to the more reflective tone of Scar Tissue. However, Otherside, apparently about contemplating joining a dead friend, has a sadder, more agitated tone. The music is restrained with a quiet, insistent tone coming mostly from bass and drums until guitars explode at the end. The Chili Peppers' new signs of maturity are generally welcome though Otherside risks the danger that too much maturity can be a little boring.
Rehab - It Don't Matter
Weeks on Chart: 2 Peak: # 45 (June 2001) buy it!
Rehab is Danny Boone and Brooks. They met as recovering addicts in an rehab center. It Don't Matter is from the Southern Discomfort CD. As with fellow Atlanta area rappers Outkast, who clearly influenced Rehab, it's good to hear Rehab's smooth grooves on the radio. It Don't Matter has a dark subject matter but the sound is cool and inviting with an easy beat and appealingly relaxed samples and guitar. The singers provide a good contrast between angry rap and smooth, reflective singing. It Don't Matter is about feeling like "depression's my only friend." The lyrics refer to "another day of feeling nothing", thinking "everything's beautiful as long as I ain't there" and hoping to lift "my pain into the air."
REM - Bad Day
Weeks on Chart: 11 Peak: # 30 (Oct. 2003) buy it!
Bad Day is one of three previously unreleased songs on REM's best of CD: In Time. In Time is a bit of an odd collection. It covers 1988 on, so it misses the music from REM's early, pre-Warner years(which have their own collection, Eponymous), when they made most of their best, most consistent records. In Time misses some seemingly obvious choices like Shiny Happy People(which the band apparently hates). It's a bit lopsided, with four songs from the hit filled Automatic For The People and only one from Out Of Time and Monster. In Time doesn't really recognize the fact that since New Adventures In Hi-Fi, REM's records haven't been that good. So the CD gives you interesting mediocrities like E-Bow The Letter and All The Way To Reno. In Time does gives a home to The Great Beyond, from Jim Carrey's Andy Kaufman movie, and brings new attention to At My Most Beautiful and Daysleeper, brilliant songs from REM's largely ignored Up CD. In Time is also a reminder of how, while always sounding like themselves, REM has never tried too hard to keep up with current trends or repeat what's brought them success. So it's odd that REM have so obviously recycled one of their bigger hits for Bad Day. From its verses stuffed with Michael Stipe's rush of nonsequitors and gibberish to its simple, singalong chorus, Bad Day basically is a rehash of It's The End Of The World. While Bad Day, which was written in the 80s, is a knockoff, it does have a lot of the qualities that have always made REM's music appealing. It's comforting to hear Peter Buck's nonstop flow of varied, likable jangly guitar riffs, Stipes's stong, warm vocal and Mike Mills sweet, unpolished backing vocals. The difference in Bad Day from End Of The World is its vibe. Stipe sang with youthful confidence about feeling fine, even as the world became more confusing and screwed up. On Bad Day, Stipe sings "count your bleesings", "we all fall down" and "please don't take a picture." I also like Bad Day's video. Besides smartly capturing the information saturated screen and obsession with freakish weather events of contemporary news shows, it also presents Stipe, Buck and Mills as unassuming tv presences I'd love to see on morning tv.
REM - The Great Beyond
Weeks on Chart: 16 Peak: # 3 (Jan. 2000) buy it!
The movie Man in the Moon, starring Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman, gets its name from the great REM song about Kaufman. The Great Beyond is from the movie's soundtrack. While they've lost their way commercially and, to some extent, artistically on their last two CDs, The Great Beyond shows the band's pop talents intact. It's a good song, reminiscent of their classic material. Like the song Man in the Moon, The Great Beyond starts slowly and gracefully and builds to a blissful climax. It has a reflective feel and a lush sound fleshed out with the strings. Michael Stipe has moved far from his mysterious and indecipherable singing of old with nice, clear plaintive vocals, singing of looking for answers and suddenly having things fall into place.
REM - Imitation Of Life
Weeks on Chart: 15 Peak: # 5 (May 2001) buy it!
REM's days of huge success are behind them but they continue to make good music. Imitation Of Life, from the Reveal CD is the kind of reflective, modest and appealing midtempo rocker REM's done in recent years. It resembles Bittersweet Me, The Great Beyond, Man On The Moon and Texarkana. Peter Buck plays a guitar line so amiable that it's hard to believe the recent accusations of air rage. The synth solo is charmingly cheap sounding. Michael Stipe's vocals do as much as the lyrics at establishing empathy as he encourages someone to stop crying and be "what you could."
Rhett Miller - Come Around
Weeks on Chart: 3 Peak: # 47 (March 2003) buy it!
Rhett Miller is on a break from leading the alt country band Old 97's. Come Around is from Miller's solo record, The Instigator. Not surprisingly, Come Around sounds a lot like an Old 97's song. Old 97's have normally struck me as fine but not particularly exciting or interesting. Most of Come Around is draggy. Miller whines over unimaginative backing with basic drumming and strumming. The mopey mood is appropriate for a self pitying song where Miller obsesses over a breakup. Just when Come Around seems like it's going to keep dully droning, Miller comes up with a killer hook. The chorus is very catchy. Miller yearningly relates that unless she comes back, he's "gonna be lonely for the rest of my life." The problem is, the song keeps going back to boring verses and the chorus isn't quite as appealing as it continually recurs.
Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera - Nobody Wants To Be Lonely
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: # 23 (March 2001) buy it!
Nobody Wants To Be Lonely, from Ricky Martin's Sound Loaded CD, is another celebrity duet that seem more like a contest than a collaboration. Martin's pleasant, unremarkable voice is better suited to light, dance pop so it's not surprising that Christina Aguilera's showy vocal acrobatics grab the spotlight on this sleek, empty piece of pop. The song starts with a slight Latin feel but soon has a glossy, generic feel and an uninteresting, repetitive beat. The lyrics are fairly lame. Martin asks someone whose "heart is cold and lost the will to love, like a broken arrow" "why don't you let me love you." The song drifts innocuously as Martin sings about his longing. It gets interesting for a moment on the chorus as Aguilera soars over Martin singing, "Time is precious and it's slipping away and I've been waitin' for you all of my life" but then slips back into repetition.
Ricky Martin - Living La Vida Loca
Weeks on Chart: 1 Peak: # 40 (Aug. 1999) buy it!
From his hugely successful English language debut. It's been the #1 pop song for the last two months so you probably know what you think about it. It certainly more interesting than the bland teen pop of the #2, the Backstreet Boys' I Want It That Way. The fact that a song with a distinct Latin flavor can be a smash hit is clearly a welcome development as well as a sign of things to come. It's a very good song. Martin projects an amusingly melodramatic persona and the beat and horns are infectious. I find it less appealing after hundreds of listenings but its appeal is still obvious.
Ricky Martin - Shake Your Bon Bon
Weeks on Chart: 6 Peak: # 36 (Dec. 1999) buy it!
I guess it's a sign of being a te en idol that even your stupidest songs can be hits. This one has the advantage o f also referring to dancing and butts. I think Livin La Vida Loca and La Copa de Vida were very good songs; they were fun mixes of pop and Latin music. The subs equent singles, She's All I Ever Had and Shake Your Bon Bon have been pretty bad.
Ricky Martin - She Bangs
Weeks on Chart: 7 Peak: # 37 (Nov. 2000) buy it!
She Bangs is from the new Sound Loaded CD. Like on Livin' La Vida Loca, horns and percussion create a high spirited party mood though Martin's vocals and the song in general are more leisurely paced than on Martin's huge hit. She Bangs is somewhat silly but fun Latin pop. Martin sings about an imposing lady who looks like a flower but stings like a bee. She's playing with him. After she "lit a fuse" she blew him off.
Ricky Martin - She's All I Ever Had
Weeks on Chart: 9 Peak: # 37 (Sept. 1999) buy it!
Presumably, this typical ballad was put on Martin's first English language record to hedge bets in case the more Latin flavored songs were too adventurous for a mainstream, anglo audience. The teen girls will probably eat it up but She's All I Ever Had is far less interesting or distinctive than Livin' La Vida Loca or La Copa de la Vida.
Rob Zombie - Feel So Numb
Weeks on Chart: 9 Peak: # 20 (Nov. 2001) buy it!
Feel So Numb, from Rob Zombie's The Sinister Urge CD, has Zombie's typically over the top sound. His music is so theatrical and goofy that I assume you're not supposed to take it completely seriously. Feel So Numb, with its big guitars, is a little more of a mainstream rock song than some of Zombie's work. Still, with its frantic industrial synths and beat and Zombie's maniacal wail, Feel So Numb's sound is still way larger than life. I assume Zombie's music is some sort of parody but I mostly don't get the joke and just find it abrasive. Feel So Numb is apparently a diatribe about the alienating nature of modern society.
Rob Zombie - Never Gonna Stop
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: # 18 (April 2002) buy it!
White Zombie, Rob Zombie's old band, combined hard rock and a big, flashy theatricality. Zombie's solo work gives greater emphasis to the hard rock part. Never Gonna Stop, from The Sinister Urge CD, is fairly standard hard rock. Zombie's lyrics(largely consisting of "never gonna stop me" and "scream if you want it, 'cause I want more") and howled vocals have tough guy attitude. Never Gonna Stop is quite stupid. At least, with its sprinkling of sweet, teenybopper style backing vocals, it's not as harsh as Feel So Numb, Sinister Urge's first chart hit.
Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise - Baby
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: # 42 (July 2000) buy it!
The Blackwater Surprise are one of the best stories in rock. A group of young musicians led by brothers Michael and Andrew Nehra discovered Bradley, who's now 50, after he'd been playing for years. Baby, from the Time To Discover CD, is a bluesy ballad with a nice, relaxed musical mood. Bradley is very cool as he gently seduces a woman. Bradley has the same cocky swagger as Prince at his best as he convinces a woman that it's alright if she stays tonight, telling her he'll be her lover and her friend.
Rolling Stones - Don't Stop
Weeks on Chart: 13 Peak: # 10 (Oct. 2002) buy it!
Don't Stop is one of four new songs on Forty Licks, which is billed as the first retrospective of the Stones' entire career. Knowing that people buying the two CD set or attending their concerts are mostly interested in their earlier music, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards don't seem to have exhausted themselves putting Don't Stop together. They certainly haven't repeated Jagger's attempt on last year's Goddess In The Doorway CD to distance himself from the classic Stones sound. There isn't much to Don't Stop. In comparison, Start Me Up is a complex puzzle. Still, there's something satisfying about Don't Stop's simplicity and familiarity. Don't Stop echoes better but similar feel good songs like Start Me Up, Happy, Honky Tonk Women and Tumbling Dice. Jagger wraps his big personality around Don't Stop. Like he does live, Jagger yells as much as sings but shows remarkable energy and warmth for a 59 year old. Richards and Ron Wood could probably play Don't Stop's guitar line in their sleep but their tight, jagged playing still creates a good edge. On Don't Stop, Jagger feels like his "baby" is peppering him "with poison darts" and is soon leaving him but he still asks her to share her "screams of passion" and kisses that draw blood.
Ryan Adams - New York, New York
Weeks on Chart: 15 Peak: # 23 (Jan. 2002) buy it!
New York, New York is from Gold, the former Whiskeytown frontman's second solo record. Adams' music continues to evolve from alt country to more mainstream rock. New York, New York shows the different sides of Adams' sound. His loose, rapid fire delivery evokes a Dylan song like Tangled Up In Blue but New York, New York also resembles songs by The Allman Brothers and Billy Joel. New York, New York has gotten attention because of its eerie video, filmed September 7th, showing Adams singing in front of a view of New York's downtown skyline with the Twin Towers in the center of the shot. But New York, New York also deserves attention because it's a darn good song. It has a great, fun feel with buoyant guitar and keyboards. Adams' flood of words is very charming. On New York, New York, Adams pays tribute to his adopted home but decides that, since his memories of the city are so intertwined with those of the love that broke his heart, it's time to go.