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Product: Audio CD
Title: Measure of a Man
Label: Rca
Artist: Clay Aiken
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
This is an awesome CD

Clay Aiken is, quite simply, everything a pop vocalist should be! Not since the incomparable Michael Bolton have I EVER heard anyone infuse their music with such an exquisite blend of power, honesty, vulnerability and sensitivity! Measure of a Man is the album Clay was born to make, and is a my top contender for Album of the Year! Given his flawless interpretive skills, with every heartfelt lyric, listeners are truly transported to another place. "Run to Me," "I Survived You," and "No More Sad Songs" are PERFECT examples of this. Like Bolton, Aiken has an AMAZING instinct for what songs fit his voice, an ability that takes some singers years to acquire. More power to Clay for being able to exercise that ability so early in what I know will be a lifelong career!

Product: Audio CD
Title: Superhero
Label: Motown / Pgd
Artist: Brian McKnight
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5

In the past few years, the smooth R'n'B genre has suffered major blows, with the decline of Boyz II Men, the absence of Babyface, the thuggery of R.Kelly, and the hit and miss of almost every other group. However, Brian McKnight has found his niche. He sings from the heart, his songs sound passionate, and his lyrics at least bother to relate to real life. This album is what I've personally been waiting for- something slow and meaningful to listen to. It's also everything I didn't get from Boyz II Men's last attempt, R. Kelly's downward spiral into thug life, Babyface's terrible new album, and K-Ci and JoJo's one hit albums. Trust me on this one; it will satisfy your love song needs.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Volume 1: Sound Magic
Label: Real World
Artist: Afro Celt Sound System
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
wow wow WOW . . . drawn to the rhythm

When I saw this CD in the store, I broke out laughing... But I knew I had to have it, as I loved the idea. Seldom has the spontaneous purchase of a CD been so rewarding for me. This is a brilliant piece of work, one which sends me into spontaneous fits of dancing every time I listen to it - which has elicited some comments, as I play it at work.
My only "criticism" is that the drumming is not as developed as I might have hoped -- but I'm not really complaining; this is a beautiful & brilliant CD. I can hardly wait to see what "Volume 2: Release" has to offer. It's due out in May, & I've already ordered it through Amazon.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Room for Squares
Label: Sony
Artist: John Mayer
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Great guitar and cruising music!

As a fairly competent musician/songwriter, I think I hold my own at spotting exciting new artists. John Mayer's music is a fresh apple and his talent is well-balanced, especially for his age. Sometimes compared to Dave Matthews in his sound, I would also bring in a Michael Franks vocal quality and you'll be closer to John Mayer's voice...and it's a good voice. As we all know, not many things are totally unique in music these days, it has pretty much all been done before... it's the individual's approach that births a new original. John Mayer is writing lyrics that speak of breaking illusions and breaking out of them - not a new subject for lyrics but the difference here is that he doesn't take the cheap route of using the common anger that we find in many artists' content. That is what sets him apart from the modern crowd. Mayer's good storytelling comes with melodies you'll be bouncing around in your head for a long while after you've gotten out of the car. His guitar work shows a honed technique and a natural talent for the instrument. Bottom line - Mayer yields a CD that you can easily listen to again and again ... and you'll probably feel better for doing so. I'll be interested to hear what John Mayer will put out in the future, considering the fact that "Room for Squares" shows that he's already got it.