By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
TUBCoffee Tea Soda Pop Pee (Centipede)
Big, expansive, working-class rock & roll—what the Replacements might have turned into had they only sobered up in time. A primer for practically every other local band on how to do it right:simple, easy melodies shoved up against primal yowling.
WUSAmerican Style (Breakin' Records)
Wus fiddle with wild, space-jazz jams, funky bubble-gum psychedelia, New Age effects, samples, tape loops, hip-hop beats, and guitar squeals that sound like cats slowly getting their balls sautťed. You could probably hear something new with each listen, and without any drugs, either. What Beck would sound like on a GHB binge, or the less migraine-inducing parts of experimental Japanese noise bands. Messy, bratty, freaky, disturbing, paranoid, but ultimately unlike anything else out there.
And now—fish in a barrel! The year's most tragic CDs, signs that the end is truly nigh. And nary a mention of that most obvious of bands, the one that recently played a show in New York during which their lead singer drunkenly insulted the crowd, dropped trou, stuck his dick out, moaned about his ex-girlfriend and his dog, offered to "service [the audience] anally," according to SPINmagazine, and held up his middle and index fingers and asked, "Who wants to smell Madonna?" No, no mention of them at all. But thanks for the blind plug in the Rolling Stone article, anyway!
Antiseptic girly-girl foof. After they lip-synched a two-song set at Westminster Mall in January, I wrote a story about how I just knewthey'd be huge—not because they have any real talent, but because of the powerful marketing machinery behind them, which is reallyhow the music biz operates. Sure enough, their album came out two months later, eventually hitting platinum. I wish I had been wrong.
GARTH BROOKSGarth Brooks In . . . the Life of Chris Gaines (Capitol)
Freak-boy Garth tries to be all rock & roll but comes off like Billy Joel with a bad hair-and-makeup job. The Michael Jackson of country, for all the right reasons—none of them artistic ones.
CHRIS CORNELLEuphoria Morning (A&M/Interscope)
In which the former Soundgarden shrieker succumbs to wussy Paul Westerberg disease in his first at bat, a soft, squishy, "introspective" yawner that you forget you ever heard as soon as the laser lifts—if you can stay awake till then.
CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNGLooking Forward (Warner Bros.)
Aren't they dead yet? More like Looking for Work, which should be the mantra of those first three guys. Some people should never, everget back together.
LIMP BIZKITSignificant Other (Interscope)Nah—too easy.
LITA Place in the Sun (RCA)
Special guest critic—Robert Christgau of the Village Voice: "Led by two Orange County lads whose dad was a pop DJ, they like Vegas and old Cadillacs; make too much of their play on 'come,' 'complete' and 'completely miserable'; and serve as a dull-dull-dull reminder to anyone besotted with Blink 182 that punk in itself guaranteed nothing even in the days of the Real Kids and the Suicide Commandos. Grade: C."
POWERMAN 5000Tonight the Stars Revolt! (Uni/DreamWorks)
The stars ain't the onlything revolting.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERSCalifornication (Warner Bros.)
Same ol' snore-all. Maybe they'd be better if they were back on heroin. And please—old men shouldn't be seen in public without their shirts on.
Take an honest-to-God legend like Carlos Santana and pair him with some of the dullest, most uninteresting figures in all of modern popdom in a horrifically misguided attempt to make him seem "current" and "happening" to the youngfolk. Result: Dave Matthews, Rob Thomas, et al. steal Santana's soul, transforming him into their evil, just-as-bland selves. A high crime.
SUBLIMEGreatest Hits (MCA)
Purely for nonmusical reasons. This is the fourth posthumous rehashing—regurgitation, actually—of Sublime material in the four post-Brad Nowell years, which tells you more about how the marketing department at MCA thinks than whether there was ever an actual need for this (couldn't the Sublimealbum have basically been a greatest hits, too?). Apparently, in MCA's eyes, Sublime's legacy is destined to live on through an endless stream of repackaging—expect the inevitable slew of box sets, "lost" track collections, remasterings ("WITH GREATLY IMPROVED SOUND QUALITY!"), "tribute" albums, Nowell's-death-anniversary reissues and God knows what else to follow. The danger, of course, is that no one will remember why Sublime mattered in the first place. Vultures plucking at corpses is the apt metaphor here.