It would be unbecoming of me, an open-minded music fan, to proclaim that this week's new releases are less than stellar!
After all, these albums have been put together by artists who doubtlessly worked very hard to make wonderful recordings for us all to enjoy!
Is it their fault that when compiled in list form, no single disc really leaps out as an absolute must-have?
In fact--isn't a week offering maybe 15 "B+" albums intrinsically better than one offering two "A+" discs and 13 absolute stinkers?
For that matter, wouldn't you prefer merely getting your little finger cut off rather than your entire hand?
So you see? That's why I like Less Than Jake!
Saints Of Los Angeles (Motley) Hey, I took German in high school, so maybe I'm completely nuts here, but shouldn't this album's title be either Santo De Los Angeles or Saints Of The Angels? Like, you know, either one or the other! In the same manner, this is either a long-awaited reunion album that will thrill and chill longtime fans to the core of their very being or a cynical exploitation of a rapidly imploding music marketplace that cares for money and nothing else but money--musical credibility be damned! I can't say for certain--I'm sort of afraid of commitment--but I will mention that back in German class, we spent a lot of time discussing the difference between bratwurst and wienerschnitzel! That reminds me--isn't Mick Mars in this band?
I, Flathead: The Songs Of Kash Buk And The Klowns (Nonesuch) Get this: In my quest to listen to virtually everything, I inadvertently burned this on a CD-R and merely wrote the words "I, Flathead" on it and nothing else! So a few days later, I picked it up, put it in my car stereo, and had absolutely no idea who it was! My only clue? The two words I'd written! Putting it in repeat-play mode, I went down my mental list of who those two words might apply to--Sinead O'Connor, Justin Timberlake, somebody whose first name started with "Lil," that guy from Limp Bizkit--but was completely stumped! Now that I know it's by Ry Cooder, though, I think it's good! You will, too! Critics like him!
Last 2 Walk (Columbia) I've always been afraid to express my affection for Three 6 Mafia, largely because as a young Italian boy I was instructed by my parents to be very careful about discussing certain subjects in public! Luckily, the fact that these guys are actual Oscar winners--I still remember their acceptance speech with great fondness--makes all the difference in the world! Some say the CD's title refers to the fact that everyone has departed from this famed rap collective but the duo of DJ Paul and Juicy J; others suggest that in a remarkable stylistic shift, the pair have recorded an unexpectedly tender, emo-based album focusing on their earliest days in pre-school! I simply say that any album featuring such heart-warming tracks as "Weed, Blow, Pills" and "Click Bang" is one I want to play loudly and repeatedly to establish my credentials as a hater of haters! Remember: all language will soon become meaningless!
Moon Is The New Earth (Megaforce) So I went and saw the Who last year at the Hollywood Bowl and was absolutely transfixed by the opening band--a power trio in the spirit of Blue Cheer, the James Gang, and, I dunno, Mountain if there was no fat guy! They were great! And what the heck they were doing opening up for the Who is anyone's guess! All I know is, these are the same guys, this new album's title is exactly the sort of title every artist needs to aspire to, and their chance of getting any radio airplay in this century is about as likely as...uh...the Who! Weird!
Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust (XL) From Iceland and now fresh off the Bonnaroo trail, these lovably fun trick noisemakers have returned with a gorgeous, moody album that will win the hearts and minds of all who hear it! Apparently the title can be erroneously translated as Hey Kids, Imagine The Fun You'll Have When Your Parents See You Buying Albums Featuring Naked Guys Running Across A Freeway, but really--who on earth would make the effort?
Exile In Guyville (CD/DVD) (ATO/RCA) For the longest time I avoided this album, largely because I misread its title and thought the last thing I wanted to hear was a concept album about Guyana and that whole Jonestown thing! What a dope! In fact, this deluxe reissue of Liz Phair's 1993 solo album is about sex 'n' stuff! Does it still hold up? You got me! All I know is, if the accompanying DVD featured a movie with a bunch of early '90s rock writers put on trial for spending way too much time writing about Liz, Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield--and they were found guilty and hanged until dead!--it would definitely add to this set's allure!
The Very Best Of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself (CD/DVD) (Capitol/EMI) If you had asked me years ago if I ever envisioned myself writing a positive review about a collection of tracks and music videos by Billy Idol, I would have probably responded, "In what format? On both CD and DVD? And I'd be writing about it in my blog on Yahoo?" Then you'd look at me briefly, your eyes would widen, and you'd make some lame excuse and walk away, wondering what on earth I was talking about. Then I'd get that weird headache again! One more reason why it's good we never met back then!
The Sound Of Madness (Atlantic) According to Amazon, people looking for product by Shinedown are often looking for similar product by 3 Doors Down, Disturbed, and Seether! Sheesh! Can't they spell?