Can't Get No Satisfaction?

Matchbox Twenty Mad Season By

Matchbox Twenty

Despite their inexplicable name change, Matchbox "Twenty" keep riding the gravy train that made Yourself Or Someone Like You such a success. Other than a few unnecessary trumpet and string arrangements, Mad Season gives a respectable background to Rob Thomas' catchy, bittersweet songwriting. It's nothing new, but it's respectable, even likable white-bread rock. GRADE: B+

Britney Spears Oops...I Did It Again

Britney moves from bubble-gum pop to slightly harder candy, pouring her spunky vocal syrup over saccharine lyrics and harder-hitting hip-hop beats. So richly produced, the songs are nearly irresistible-but like the best desserts, you should only indulge a few bites at a time. Delectable albeit derivative, these tracks are a must on your Napster playlist for whenever you crave a pixie fix. GRADE: B

Belle & Sebastian Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant

Even when they're changing direction, Belle and Sebastian hold on to that coy and awkward manner that makes them so appealing. Their most soulful album to date, Fold Your Hands... can be your best friend after a tough breakup or just the soundtrack to a nice day for a sulk. GRADE: A-

Super Furry Animals Mwng

Slightly folky rock drenched in gushing melody and sung in Welsh. Apparently, "mwng" is Welsh for "timeless album done by a stellar band at the top of their game". Welsh is an efficient language.


Sonic Youth NYC Ghosts and Flowers

This is the sound of a subway screeching to a halt underneath the titanic roar of a city above. Twenty years into their career, Sonic Youth have raised the bar again, making a record that's incredibly challenging even if its dissonance sometimes gets ahead of itself. GRADE: B

Pearl Jam Binaural

Pearl Jam isn't the anthem rock band you grew up with anymore. But they haven't gotten quieter this time around-just smarter. Where earlier albums were conflicted and angry, Binaural manages to be honest and self-satisfied without sounding complacent. Pearl Jam have started playing in a new arena these days-our hearts. GRADE: A-

Everclear Songs From an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile

On Songs From An American Movie, Everclear does to Van Morrison what Madonna did to Don McLean: take a classic tune and gloss it up till it shines like a big old wad o' slobber. The band's cover of "Brown Eyed Girl" is painfully oversized and synthesized, yet ironically it's one of the album's high points. Silly sound effects and samples abound, making this album a sad summer letdown. GRADE: C-

Busta Rhymes Anarchy

Whathadillyo? When did Busta start trying to be a Ruff Ryder? Anarchy is just that-misguided chaos-with Busta's rapid-fire delivery entangled in disjointed tracks and tired DMX-esque hooks. Too bad its most engaging song, the explosive "Bladow!", is merely a sub-par (and similiarly exclamatory) update to the Busta that once got us all in check. GRADE: C


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