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Product: Audio CD
Title: Beware
Label: Sequence
Artist: Panjabi MC
Rating: 1/5
Customer rating - 1 out of 5
do drugs help?

I heard "Beware" last summer, it was all over Europe. I loved it. I turned it up whenever I heard it...even asked random strangers to pump the volume. Also, this CD came so highly recommended...all the critics were raving about its greatness. So now I own it and never listen to it. What happened? Most of the songs are a slow rap (a paradox if I ever heard it) with indian instruments in the background. The rapper sounds sleepy or high or a combination of the two. There are only 3 songs with energy...and they're really good. But 3 out of what, 14? Maybe it sounds better if you smoke while listening to it?
Standout songs: Jogi, mundian to bach ke, beware

Product: Audio CD
Title: Elton John - Greatest Hits 1976-86
Label: Island
Artist: Elton John
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
A Keeper

This is the third Elton John greatest hits albums, and it is a keeper. Elton includes some great songs such as Elton's movingelegy to John Lennon, "Empty Garden", and the rocker "Wrap HerUp". Elton includes many classics here such as "Sorry Seems tobe the Hardest Word", "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" ( with KikiDee ), and the heartwarming "Blue Eyes". While the album couldfared better without the weak "Mama Can't Buy You Love", whichwas a song from Elton's miserable Thom Bell sessions from 1977and a surprise hit single in 1979, the album includes a lot ofElton's best work, like the touching and sad Cold War pop lovesong "Nikita", and the 1979 hit "Little Jeannie". But the bestsongs on the album are from 1983-84 period, the only tracks onthe album with his original backing band of Davey Johnstone onguitars, Dee Murray on bass, and Nigel Olsson on drums. Of the5 tracks featuring them, three tracks rank among Elton's great
classics. Those songs are "I Guess That's Why They Call It TheBlues", "I'm Still Standing", and "Sad Songs Say So Much". But2 tracks, "Kiss The Bride" and "Who Wears These Shoes", are onthe list of Elton's llittle-known masterworks. The band soundsgreat on the tunes, and Elton is at his best as well. This oneis a keeper for all fans of Elton.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Cosmic Thing
Label: Warner Brothers
Artist: The B-52's
Rating: 2/5
Customer rating - 2 out of 5

Four years after guitarist Ricky Wilson died of AIDS, the surviving members of The B-52's, that wacky Athens, GA group released Cosmic Thing, which propelled them from the novelty echelons to the mainstream vanguard, if even for a brief shining moment.
Granted, there is nothing quirky like "Rock Lobster", "Quiche Lorraine", or "52 Girls", but the songs are still infectious fun, especially their breakthrough single "Love Shack", "Deadbeat Club", and the title track, which from the get-go is in party mode and tells those in the groove to "shake that cosmic thing".
The mid-paced "Dry County" contains sound advice for those in the dumps: "When the blues whomp you up on the side of the head/Throw'em to the floor and kick'em out the door". However, I live in such a county and I've yet to see their solution work.
Songs like "Deadbeat Club" and the rowdy "Love Shack" lets us know that they are hippies at heart, going for skinny dipping or just having a good old time. If they hosted and played at a party in full swing, that would convince me to get my nose out of the books and dance away. Of course, I may need Kate Pierson's personal help in getting rid of my jitters.
A wilderness motif is also present in songs like "Junebug", "Bushfire", and "Roam". "Roam" encourages the virtue of exploring new places, "breaking boundaries", both political and mental.
"Channel Z" and "Topaz", on the other hand demonstrate that their spacey side has not dimmed a bit. The former song projects an activist side of them, as they rail against "politicrits pushin' dope", waste dumps, toxic fog, and tax dollars funding CIA wars. The solution is: "Time to open your windows/Let in better weather".
"Topaz" and "Follow Your Bliss" are my favorite tunes here. The latter is a keyboard instrumental with repeated chords that switch to another set of repeated chords. It's just enchanting!
3/5 of this album was produced by Nile Rodgers of Like A Virgin fame, and the rest by Don Was of Was (Not Was) fame.
Cosmic Thing is their best album since their debut, enhanced by the rainbow spectrum motif on the album cover. One of the last great albums produced in the closing year of the 1980's.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Chicago - The Musical (1996 Broadway Revival Cast)
Label: RCA
Artist: John Kander, Fred Ebb, Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
Broadway is sweeter...London is neater.

If you love Chicago as I do, then you are probably wondering which version to buy. The only obvious choice is to purchase both and decide which one you like better yourself, but it is my opinion that the Broadway lacks the edge, the sheer passion that the London soundtrack so crudely, yet gracefully exudes. There is no other Velma, but Ute Lemper. There is no dispute. Not Bebe Neuworth, nor Ruthie Henshall, not even Chita Rivera compares to the brilliantly slick and cunning performance of miss Lemper. I was fortunate enough to have seen her as Velma on Broadway last April. And let me also say that Karen Ziemba is in contention to be the ULTIMATE Roxie Hart. Or maybe I am just biased. You decide.