<%-- Page Title--%> Pop Beat <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 115 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

July 25, 2003

<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- 5% Text Table--%>

The Music They Make...

CD Review

Various: The American Song-Poem Anthology

None of the lyricists celebrated in this surreal compilation would ever have found employment in the Brill building, or any other home of great pop. But it wasn't for want of trying.
Each of the 28 songs here represents several hundred dollars spent by idealistic would-be songwriters, in answer to adverts calling for "poems" that could be turned into songs.
Their lyrics range from eulogies to American presidents and paeans to the thrill of driving a convertible while wearing a headband, via such dubious proclamations as "Burmese land is like monkey land" and "I am the maker of smooth music".
In fact, in the hands of such unscrupulous performers as Dick Kent and Gene Marshall, the lyricists are the unwitting makers of glutinous soul, cud-chewing country and hammering disco. Sometimes the music is profoundly inappropriate - not least when the MSR Singers transform the mournful blues of I'm Just the Other Woman into a slimily louche concoction layering sleazy sax and falsetto-male vocals.
With kitsch radiating from every crevice, this album is too much to take in at one sitting, but you can't help admiring its warped genius.

Medicine: The Mechanical Forces of Love

Glitchy Beach Boys harmonies" is how Brad Laner describes the music he makes under the Medicine banner. It's as close as anybody will get in a micro-soundbite.
Laner has been making Medicine music since 1991, but while they were once a five-piece band that you could file under "rock". 2003's Medicine is just Laner, a room full of gadgets and the extraordinary voice of Shannon Lee, daughter of kung-fu star Bruce.
At one level, Medicine deal in sweet soul music and ethereal pop hooks, as in Sodden Rockets and Good For Me, but there are always a dozen things happening at once. Lee's voice floats past like clouds or flutters down as if it had been chopped up in a blender; electronic rhythms overlap, drop out, disintegrate or start running in reverse. It's spiritual, too, particularly in the haunting mantra of Best Future ("You know you die alone... never need to atone... for the life you made").

Source: The Guardian and Billboard.com

The Billboard Top Ten Albums

1. Ashanti, Chapter II
2. Beyonce, Dangerously In Love
3. Luther Vandross, Dance With My Father
4. Michelle Branch, Hotel Paper
5. 50 Cent, Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
6. Metallica, St. Anger
7. Evanescence, Fallen
8. Monica, After The Storm
9. Norah Jones, Come Away With Me
10. Three 6 Mafia, Da Unbreakables

Top Ten R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

1. Ashanti, Chapter II
2. Beyonce, Dangerously In Love
3. Luther Vandross, Dance With My Father
4. Monica, After The Storm
5. Three 6 Mafia, Da Unbreakables
6. 50 Cent, Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
7. Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, Kings Of Crunk
8. 12 21 R. Kelly, Chocolate Factory
9. Gang Starr, The Ownerz
10. Soundtrack, 2 Fast 2 Furious

Top Ten Country Albums

1. Buddy Jewell, Buddy Jewell
2. Lonestar, From There To Here: Greatest Hits
3. Toby Keith, Unleashed
4. George Strait, Honkytonkville
5. Tracy Byrd, The Truth About Men
6. Shania Twain, Up!
7. Kenny Chesney, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems
8. Willie Nelson & Friends, Live And Kickin'
9. Tim McGraw, Tim McGraw And The Dancehall Doctors
10. Jimmy Wayne, Jimmy Wayne



(C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is jointly published by the Daily Star with the technical assistance provided by Onirban.