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Product: Audio CD
Title: Resigned
Label: Sony
Artist: Michael Penn
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
fine melodies + sharp lyrics + inventive arrangements = wow!

Michael Penn's first two albums (now both unfortunately out of print) both sported a handful of beautifully crafted pop songs that stuck in the brain because of evocative lyrics and Penn's distinctive musical sense, but compared to "Resigned," both "March" and "Free-For-All" sound like mere warm-ups. Producer Brendan O'Brien, who produced "100% Fun," arguably Matthew Sweet's most satisfying long player to date, fleshes out Penn's sound and gives his songs a finished quality; where before Penn's music shone, now it shimmers.
Another factor that gives "Resigned" a greater cohesiveness is the consistent use of a four-piece band with Penn on guitar, Patrick Warren on keyboards, O'Brien on bass and Dan McCarroll on drums. The earlier albums had Penn and Warren at the creative center with session musicians filling in the rest of the parts. Here, all four musicians clearly have plenty of ideas, and the interplay is often stunning. Just listen to the intro to "Out of My Hands," with O'Brien's slightly distorted bass and Penn's delicate guitar figure playing off of each other, establishing a mighty sense of longing even before the vocals come in.
If "Resigned" has an overall theme, it is one of self-criticism: "Try" is an acidic, uptempo pop song full of bitter self-reflection; ditto "Selfish," which declares "You might find a prince a men/Until that day my name is Penn." Even when not directing his attention so unforgivingly toward himself, Penn keeps the level of craftsmanship high. "Small Black Box," which uses a nicely developed metaphor to essay the tendency to analyze things gone wrong, may seem modest at first, but its melody and lyrics are indelible. It's the kind of song you wish Paul McCartney would start writing. "I Can Tell," the album's majestic closer, is just as carefully constructed and emotionally resonant. As the strings fade at the end of the song, you might very well be compelled to start the CD over and listen to the whole thing again.

Product: Audio CD
Title: American Life
Label: Warner Brothers
Artist: Madonna
Rating: 2/5
Customer rating - 2 out of 5
Smelldonna's Stinker

How can anyone like listening to this hasbeen? She's a really bad singer(and I mean ~BAD~), and anyway her career has completely nose-dived.

*2 Stars* One for the tacky cover(it takes guts), and the other for her one octave voice. At least she has William Hung beaten.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Rough Harvest
Label: Mercury / Universal
Artist: John Cougar Mellencamp
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
A different approach to old favorites

I have been a long time fan of John Mellencamp and probably own every CD and cassette ever recorded. I really like this CD as it gives a fresh new prospective to some old favorites. The harmonizing is excellent and I enjoy the sound of the violin in many of the songs. It's a fun CD and I like to put it on while I'm doing my housework. Since I know most of the words of the songs anyway, I just sing right along and have a great time. John's rendition of "Farewell Anglelina" is relaxing and sweet. I enjoyed looking at this side of John Mellencamp and I must say that it's one of my favorites as it seems to be much more laid back and personal.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Play
Label: V2. / Bmg
Artist: Moby
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Very creative and well produced

I actually enjoy Moby for more of his ambient stuff, which is pretty much the 2nd half of this CD. But the first half of the disc is still very well written! From songs like "Honey", to "Inside" and the very chilling "My Weakness" you cant miss on this one. Moby definetly struck a winner with this album.