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Product: Audio CD
Title: The Emancipation of Mimi
Label: Island
Artist: Mariah Carey
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Freedom for Mimi!

Mariah Carey returns strong, proud and super confident with her brand new release The Emancipation of Mimi! Mariah considers Mimi to be another name symbolizing her true inner self-so even the title of the CD proudly and forcefully announces that she is trying new, fresh things on this CD. Mariah explains it herself in the liner notes for her new CD: her "emancipation" is "to free from restraint, control, oppression, or the power of another" or "to free from any controlling influence" or "to free somebody from restrictions or conventions." You know what? Mariah is a strong creative force and we all are better off for it! The Emancipation of Mimi really highlights how well Mariah can write and co-produce with other incredible talents such as the Neptunes, Kanye West, and R. Kelly. Mariah's new CD is full of songs featuring very personal lyrics-she is brave enough to share her real emotions with us here! The CD also proves even once again that Mariah's dazzling voice has not diminished with time! The album overflows with super creative lyrics and her exceptionally versatile voice makes it very special and a great addition to your collection!

The CD starts off strong with the song entitled "It's Like That." Not only is this a beautiful song, the musical arrangement is strong, aggressive and awesome! Mariah simply sounds great; her voice is perfect here! Then comes the song "We Belong Together"--thoughtful, beautiful, with a great beat! With "We Belong Together" Mariah sings about a love that is no longer.

Mariah also stays in the hip hop scene with songs like "Shake It Off" and the street jam "One and Only." And, if you like THAT, try also the Neptunes-produced "Say Somethin'" which she performs with Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams. Excellent! Mariah also does "Mine Again" with James Poyser on keyboards and "Fly Like A Bird" really shows off what Mariah can do!

Mariah works well with the other greats that I mentioned above; but there are even more talents on this awesome CD! Another Island Def Jam artist who you just might have heard of once or twice-a guy called Kanye West-collaborates with Mariah on "Stay the Night." What's more, three of the "Emancipation" songs are both co-written and co-produced by Mariah and James "Big Jim" Wright: "I Wish You Knew," "Circles," and "Fly Like a Bird." Trey Lorenz, Fatman Scoop, and Jermaine Dupri also provide vocals on this CD. The track "To The Floor" features Nelly.

One critic from Vibe magazine wrote that "Mariah gets back to her winning formula with Mimi." This almost seems like an understatement; the CD is really that good! Do yourself a major favor and get this-enjoy it today!

Product: Audio CD
Title: Land of the Bottom Line
Label: Windham Hill Records
Artist: John Gorka
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Not his best disc - but it includes his best song

I'm a huge John Gorka fan. All of his discs are worth owning - "Out of the Valley" is my personal favorite. But this disc includes a song which blows me away every time I listen to it - "I Saw A Stranger With Your Hair." If you've ever loved someone and lost her (or him) - listen to this song. It captures the heartache like no other song I've heard.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Bruised Orange
Label: Oh Boy
Artist: John Prine
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
I Beg to Differ

While this album is just as wonderful as the reviewers below have said, and a classic of the singer-songwriter genre, I want to cast a vote in favor of the cut "If You Don't Want My Love" which is much-maligned below. While it has none of the whimsy and humor which characterize most of Prine's work, it is in fact a perfect encapsulation of a bitter cast-off lover's state of mind -- and stays on and on in the memory. It is in fact my favorite cut on the album!

Product: Audio CD
Title: But Seriously: American Comedy Box
Label: Rhino Records
Artist: Bruce, Dangerfield, Fields, Pryor
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
A Scholarly Sampling Of Comedy

I had wanted this pricey CD box set for years. It was frankly, disappointing. Some of the recordings at the beginning, (they're listed chronologically), are of such poor quality that they're difficult to understand. Even though it was truly interesting listening to the individual styles, it's sort of a listen once then file it kind of deal. It's not something I'd listen to repeatedly or bring out at parties. I was also sorry to hear that many of the more recent entries have concepts or words that aren't appropriate for children to listen to, (i.e.Robin Williams' take on Lorena Bobbitt). It's not like Robin Williams has never worked clean and been funny at the same time.
On the more positive side, I learned a lot, both from the recordings and also from the extensive newspaper-style liner notes that accompany it. It also contains several comedy bits I remember having heard as a child in the 60's, such as those by the Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson, and the classic "Who's On First" by Abbott & Costello. Okay, all things considered I guess I'm not sorry I bought it. It brought back memories, and allowed me to share some of them with my neice and nephew.