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Product: Audio CD
Title: Before the Storm
Label: Strictly Rhythm
Artist: Darude
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Excellent!


The first time I've heard music by Darude was in DDRMAX: Dance Dance Revolution for PS2, which included Sandstorm. I was hooked immediately and went online to try and get as much Darude music as possible. Definitely get this one, if only for Sandstorm.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Invincible
Label: Sony
Artist: Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Still the man


Michael is still the king. Invincible is becoming my favorite album of his. The track Speechless is the most beautiful song I have ever heard. Mike gives us great dance songs too. Privacy shows us his hatered for the press(can ya blame him?) in a great rock song. You Are My Life is a beautiful song too. 2000 Watts is a very cool song. The only songs I dont care for too much are Invincible(is about a woman not him)and Heartbreaker. I like them but there not the best. I think the reason why this album didnt sell is because of all the bad things said about Michael. I hate how they treat him. Anyway buy this album you will not regret it.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Dream a Dream
Label: Sony
Artist:
Rating: 2/5
Customer rating - 2 out of 5
She has a good voice, but she sings with no feeling.


Like many others, I was introduced to Charlotte Church a couple years ago, during the "Voice Of An Angel" hype. "Dream A Dream" is better than VOAA, simply because Charlotte's voice has matured greatly. The title track in particular is extremely well done (and Billy Gilman, who previously had annoyed me to no end, also turns in a credible performance). However, even to an opera novice like me, it's obvious Charlotte has a long way to go to reach the status of a Renee Fleming or Frederica von Stade, the latter whom Charlotte's voice superficially resembles. The comparisons to Sarah Brightman, however, are not far fetched. Opera purists rant about how her singing is a textbook case on how not to sing; her fans rhapsodize about her magical voice. To someone who doesn't fall into either camp, it's a decent album made by a 14-year-old who sings pretty well--emphasis on 14-year-old.



Product: Audio CD
Title: One Night Only
Label: Universal
Artist: Elton John
Rating: 2/5
Customer rating - 2 out of 5
Should have waited for a studio


I'll start by admitting my biases. Live albums, by nature, are pure industry product. Think back to the 1970's when record companies could cheaply release a live album (because it cost next-to-nothing to make...no studio time). Nevertheless, the 90's (and heading into 2000) saw a resurgeance in safe, over-produced live discs. In fact, three "filler" genres have dominated recent record sales: A) the Greatest Hits/Best Of disc, B) the soundtrack, C) the live album (Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, all those tepid MTV Unplugged thingies). Occasionally an artist releases a truly important live recording (Dylan's Before the Flood and Warren Zevon's Stand in the Fire both come to mind), but it's damn rare.
Thus, I find this EJ offering rather complacent. Never did I find myself rocking out of my chair or swaying to and fro (with the slower numbers) during this disc. In particular, Elton's voice sounds kind of rough. Oh, EJ hits all his marks, I guess...he makes his way, workmanlike, through these songs, but I'm not quite sure what makes this one worth owning. The strongest reason to buy this, perhaps, is the guest appearance by Mary J. Blige, a truly talented R&B artist whom I'm surprised even appeared with Elton (the other guest appearances are mostly forgettable...Bryan Adams????).
Mostly, if EJ is going to release pure product, I'd prefer that he include lesser-known songs (of course, the disc wouldn't sell as well). I'm not sure what he sang during those two nights at Madison Square Garden, but there must be better songs. What made Live in Australia a halfway decent record (though it, too, isn't great) was Elton's inclusion of very early songs. One Night Only may include all the hits, but when I feel like listening to Bennie and the Jets, I think I'll pop in my Goodbye Yellow Brick Road disc.