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Product: Audio CD
Title: Reality [Bonus Disc]
Label: Sony
Artist: David Bowie
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Bowie in top form


This album rocks big time. Instant new classics include the driving "New Killer Star", "Never Get Old", "She'll Drive The Big Car" and "Fall Dog Bombs The Moon". Further proof of his ongoing relevance.
People will never stop comparing a new Bowie release to previous stuff, fair enough... but I guarantee you this one's a stayer and stands strong on it's own feet.
Highly recommended.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Laundry Service
Label: Sony
Artist: Shakira
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Excellent


Having only seen the video for "Whenever, Wherever", I was not prepared for what I found on this cd. Parents, this one is ok for younger teens-nothing objectionable here. The lyrics are included, which I appreciated.
I found Shakira's voice to be more of a cross between Jewel and the Cranberries' lead singer, not overbearing or annoying. The music style of each song is somewhat different. I heard things similar to Madonna, No Doubt, Ricky Martin, Donna Summer disco, and even a dash of B-52's. "Under Your Clothes" is a heartfelt love song, with lyrics like '..because of you I'm running out of reasons to cry'. The radio hit is presented in both English and Spanish, as is "Objection (Tango)". "Rules" is a Go-Go's style poppy sing-a-long. "The One" is another slower, belted out love song. "Ready for the Good Times" is total dance floor disco. "Fool" is the Alanis Morrisette style song, great vocals here. My very favorite is the Spanish sung "Te Dejo Madrid"--this is a fun, joyful song, that just makes you want to jump up and down for joy and be happy. Love that one! "Poem to a Horse" is the No Doubt style song. I can totally see Gwen singing this one. "Eyes Like Yours" sounds like it could have come from the Madonna 'Ray of Light' album--it's got an Hindu/India/sitar kind of sound, over a funky beat. Great backgound vocals on that track.
Overall, I really enjoy this cd, and will definitely be picking up Shakira's previous, Spanish language disks.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Measure of a Man
Label: Rca
Artist: Clay Aiken
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Clay does a great job on this CD in such a short time!


I love Clay. Loved him on AI2, and I think he has loads of talent. I bought the CD the day it came out, and initially I liked it but thought all the songs sounded the same. Then I listened again...and again...and again...and it's now in my car, at work, and at home. I love this CD! Clay does a fine job with all of the songs, and although I was hoping for those stronger songs, vocally, this CD is a great example of Clay's style and personality. I am looking forward to buying Ruben Studdard's CD and comparing which CD I enjoy best. Oh, and I read the liner notes on Clay's CD and saw that Danielle Broisebois sings background vocals on a couple of Clay's songs, which are terrific and encouraged me to buy Danielle's older CD (Arrive All Over You) and I'm enjoying her vocals as well!



Product: Audio CD
Title: Mahler - The Symphonies / Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti
Label: Decca
Artist: John Shirley-Quirk, Martti Talveala, Helga Dernesch
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
very powerful but not the greatest


This cycle offers a great deal of music for the money. I feel reluctant to offer the highest rating as I find the quality of the interpretations somewhat uneven. No. 1 is excellent, No.2 is very well performed vocally and orchestrally, but is quite overpowered and lacking in spiritual depth in the finale, No. 3 is good but not great (say compared to Haitink or Tennstedt), No. 4 is very good, No. 5 is too brisk, Nos. 6 & 7 are somewhat overdramatized, No. 8 is by general concensus a classic performance, and No. 9 is fine too, given that the extreme contrasts and rather aggressive edge to the sound is justifiable by the corresponding notes in the score itself (as explained in detail in the excellent documeentation). The CSO playing is superlative throughout the cycle. I do find that Solti misses some of the Wunderhorn fun of the middle symphonies to a degree. The digital recording is very close and as a result the sound picture has a harder edge than is sometimes appropriate for the music. It does not always make for comfortable listening in spite of the brilliant playing. I do enjoy the 8th in this cycle, especially the contributions of the off-stage brass at the closing sections of the Veni, Creator Spiritus and the Alles Vergangliche, however, the organ playing is much louder than in most of the other recordings of this epic work. At essentially budget price it remains a fine recommendation.