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Product: Audio CD
Title: Born
Label: Decca
Artist:
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Pop goes the cello


You probably heard Victory or Winter while you were watching the Olympic figure skaters, so a couple of these tracks might seem just vaguely familiar. Of course that Olympic exposure didn't hurt sales of Bond's one and only CD. And unless there's a French judge involved in the scoring, this CD gets a 10.0.I haven't been this excited about anything musical since Elton John was wearing pink glasses. One BBC reviewer wrote: "With Nigel Kennedy and Vanessa Mae, the classical music scene has been getting raunchier and raunchier in recent years. Now a four piece string quartet called Bond have sent temperatures rising still further."Personally, I've hemmed and hawed over classical music for at least three decades. Sure "Bolero" can get my battery charged and I'm not above putting a sonata on the stereo while trying to seduce a date. But I bought this CD on purpose. I wanted to listen to it in the car, at home, at the office. It's electrically charged, pun fully intended. It's exciting. It's intriguing. And I may be about to prove that you can sing along to an instrumental piece after all.The problem seems to be that the four classically trained women who make up this quartet - playing first and second violin, cello and viola - are too good looking. Really. Go find their photos. I'm NOT going to compare them to a 007 conquest. I mean it. But it's going to take great restraint.So they're beautiful. Stunning. Gorgeous. All four of them. I didn't know that when I heard them, but, ironically, it seems to be a handicap. Consider the words quoted by the BBC of UK opera star Sir Thomas Allen: "The recording business is in decline, so it produces all these gimmicks, the wet T-shirts and pubescence."Well, Sir Thomas was undoubtedly pleased that Bond was banned from the UK's classical charts because their music sounded too pop. Allen claims groups like Bond are responsible for "dumbing down" classical music. Funny, you'd think a classical aficianado might think the word renaissance had some positive overtones.They've sold more than a million copies of their debut album "Born." And nobody's plunking down $[money] to stare at the cover. The music is wonderful. It's not sure if it's pop or classical, but frankly, who cares?I ran out to the music store specifically for this CD and didn't know which section to look in (try pop). I couldn't even remember the group's name. I've certainly never done that for the London Philharmonic. Is it dumbed-down classical? Neo-classical? Classically influenced pop? I'm not sure. But I like it. A lot. Even if they are pretty.



Product: Audio CD
Title: In The Zone
Label: Jive
Artist: Britney Spears
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Probably Britney's Best


With her fourth disc, Britney Spears shows that she's either evolving into a more mature and expressive artist, or listening better to what her management is telling her to do. Either way, "In the Zone" is a much-appreciated departure from her earlier discs in its deviation from the typical buggle gum pop of her earlier years. Gone is the innocent chick who sang "Lucky," and in her place is a club-going pseudo-freak who only wants to be breathed on a lil bit. Standout tracks include the first single "Me Against the Music," as well as "Breathe on Me," "Toxic," and "(I've Got That) Boom Boom." This album shows a greater sophistication in production (Brit worked with a long list of them here) and a heightened naughtiness in lyrics. The main fault of this disc is the really poor quality of Britney's voice. No matter how it is morphed and electronically heightened it is still very apparent that this girl can't sing to save her life. But the hooks are there and you'll be in a going-out mood before you know it. Not one of the all-time bests, but an adequate accomplishment for Britney.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Who The Hell Is John Eddie?
Label: Lost Highway
Artist: John Eddie
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
A mixture of maturity with some old ways


I've been listening to John for a long time now. His teenage angst hasn't ever changed. But there is clearly some lyrical content on this album that is far more mature than before. The reviewer doesn't understand the humor that John has when he cuts his nose to spite his face. John's had it hard, anyone who's heard him interviewed knows that. Despite that, his songs show a depth of humor that is unusual and touches the inner soul of anyone who's ever struggled to make it. Thoreau once wrote that all men live a life of quiet desperation. John puts that desperation to music. He makes the desperation just a little less lonely. Great album!



Product: Audio CD
Title: The Fat of the Land
Label: Warner Brothers
Artist: The Prodigy
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Not bad, not bad at all...


The Fat of the Land, eh? What can be said about this that hasn't already been mentioned? Prodigy's breakthrough album (at least as far as you Yanks are concerned, these guys were already massive over here in good ol' Blighty, largely thanks to Liam Howlett's studio wizardry and songwriting know-how).
First off, it must be known that this album is nowhere near as good as the Prodge's previous CDs, "Experience" and "Jilted Generation". Liam himself said that, after the worldwide smash of Firestarter, he had pretty much no idea how to follow up on that song (although he did an admirable job with Breathe and Smack My B***h Up, the other two singles from this album). But the other tracks are kind of hit and miss. Funky Sh** and Serial Thrilla start out well, but don't show much of a progression throughout their running time. Narayan bores the living death out of me (I find it hard to believe it was spawned by the same mind that gave us Voodoo People and The Heat (The Energy)). Diesel Power is admittidly very cool, largely thanks to Kool Keith's sophisticated verbosity. The less said about Fuel My Fire, the better.
What saddens me most about the Prodigy, is how most people tend to lump them in with every other mainstream electronica act (Chemical Bros, Crystal Method, Fatboy Slim), when they are, at least in this reviewer's humble opinion, so much better than those abominations (I stopped being a fan of the Chemicals as soon as I discovered a certain group called Meat Beat Manifesto, and I have always despised Fatboy Slim, even when I was a young nipper who knew sod-all about the musical underground). Still, when one listens to some of the songs on this album, it's excusable.
I've given this four stars as, despite its flaws, it's still a cracking listen (the positive moments far outweigh the negative ones), and easily one of the best mainstream CDs I've heard. Just don't expect to completely blown away as with previous Prodigy albums.
Oh, and I suggest you don't pay any heed to that thoughtless piece of ignorance posted by K.P. He/she plagarised the entire thing from a music review site called Music Junkies Anonymous. Here's a little tip - if you're gonna slag the mighty Prodge, at least make sure you're capable of writing something original.