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Barenaked Ladies

Stunt ~The Ladies have done more than lie in bed the way Brian Wilson did; they've spent some quality sandbox time mastering the intricacies of catchy pop records, hooks and all. Sounding at times like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young after a week in the Caribbean, the Ladies mix a dash of rap with a pop backbeat on "One Week," while "It's All Been Done" is classic 1960s Top 40, right down to the "woo-hoo-hoo" backing vocals. The lyrics are the hidden joy on this record, with lines like "I love you more than I did the week before I discovered alcohol" and the male voice singing about tying his pantyhose around his neck. The songs are well crafted and the production flushes out the Ladies' hidden musical talents, resulting in their best effort since Gordon. --Katie Sigler

Beastie Boys

Hello Nasty~ No review yet. Want to write one?

Beck

Mutations~It's unfortunate how much attention has been paid to how this album was recorded--quickly, without the same level of studio fuss that marked Beck's breakthrough album, Odelay. That's a shame because our favorite chameleon has pulled the neatest trick of all: he's dropped the lyrical schtick that sometimes marred his sonic wizardry, leaving listeners to wonder if he even believed in the music he was playing. That's not an issue here. At times, he sounds like Ray Davies updated for the '90s, stripping himself bare with lovely, simple songs that linger long after they've supposedly ended. Beck may have made his initial mark with "Loser," a clever but insincere admission of inferiority; he's more likely to be remembered for the similar but more heartfelt confession of "Nobody's Fault But My Own." --Keith Moerer

Big Bad VooDoo Daddy

Big Bad VooDoo Daddy ~Grunge angst got old. We wanted to have fun. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was there, ready with serviceable, pumped-up swing. Their music is straight, uptempo, dance floor jazz. There's nothing particularly original going on, but the sleazy horns and snappy arrangements get the job done. There's nothing campy or tongue-in-cheek either; the music just barrels ahead...like good rock & roll. --Steve Tignor



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