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Product: Audio CD
Title: Best: 1991-2004
Label: Warner Brothers
Artist: Seal
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Almost Perfect! -- Still A must buy!

Sometimes I think people do these reviews just so they can complain. As always, Greatest Hits Albums are done for two reasons. First, to sum up an artists career so far and allow those who have become recent fans of the artist to hear previous hits. And second, for the labels to cash in on holiday sales. With that being said, as Greatest Hits albums go, it's almost perfect. While it does fall into the trap of featuring too many tracks from the latest album (lables often do this) it does leave off a few essential hits such as "In the Beginning." But where it lack it also does some surpising and great things, such as including the Jakatta hit remix version of "My Vision". One of the biggest dance singles of 2003 throughout european clubs and radio, and the [...] clubs of the US, it was especially nice to see it included here since it is technically his biggest worldwide hit to date. So it would have been nice to have included the original Adamski feat Seal mix of "Killer" since it was that original version that introduced the world to Seal in the first place. But that's minor. Then to add a second disc of acoustic mixes makes this a Must-have purchase. I look forward to a Seal remix album that contains his multitude a hit dance remixes. Although given the vast amount of remixes and their length, many up to 10 mintues long, it would probably have to be a two or even three disc set. Oh well ... we could dream.

Product: Audio CD
Title: The Rising
Label: Sony
Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
sit down and listen

This is a brilliant collection of songs. Sit down and listen to the CD two times back to back. What you don't get the first time will hit you where it counts by the second listen through.

Product: Audio CD
Title: In Your Arms Again
Label: Back Porch
Artist: Jr. John Hammond
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
Gritty Acoustic Blues

After a more than two dozen discs and a distinguished career as one of the foremost interpreters of classic acoustic blues, the turn of the century found John Hammond in danger of becoming a blues museum piece. His discs were all well done but it was difficult to distinguish any one from the others. That all changed in 2001 with the release of Tom Wait covers, Wicked Grin, which scored him significant cross-over success with its compelling interpretations of numbers that grew up outside the Mississippi delta. He followed that release in 2003 with Ready For Love which featured not only his first ever self-penned number but a new found energy that pushed the tracks beyond mere interpretation. This effort continues the hot streak. With covers by Percy Mayfield, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Reed, Howlin' Wolf, Ray Charles and others as well as two brand new numbers this disc bristles with energy. Hammond's well honed acoustic guitar chops and well traveled voice propel number after number into a new listening experience. Even numbers like Charles' classic, I Got a Woman, which has received lots of play this year as a result of the terrific movie Ray and its accompanying soundtrack, seem to have a vibrant edge. While too many acoustic guitar blues discs sound much the same from beginning to end, Hammond is by turns a jug band style national steel master, a soul cat, a folk balladeer and a gruff, ready to rumble bluesman. A great way to start out your blues year.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Heavier Things
Label: Sony
Artist: John Mayer
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
John back to " '83 "?

I was introduced to John Mayer's music a few years back when he was still in the "underground college music scene" and almost instantly appreciated and loved his music. Not only were the music and lyrics exceptional, but I could relate to them as well. When I heard that he was coming out with a new album in September, I was excited to see what kind of personal growth would be reflected in his music. I didn't like it at first -- it's somewhat of a change from his first album, and after listening to the first album hundreds of times over it was hard to get used to the new stuff -- but it really grew on me. I think that "Heavier Things" is a perfect compliment to "Room For Squares". In "Heavier Things", he remarks that he's more grounded, and it shows. He sings about more adult issues and feelings with a less angsty edge than his first album. He is only a few years wiser than me, but once again, I can relate to his music. I look forward to his future albums.