Valid XHTML 1.0!

Valid CSS!

Product: Audio CD
Title: American Life/Die Another Day
Label: Warner Brothers
Artist: Madonna
Rating: 2/5
Customer rating - 2 out of 5
Not Satisfied

I had big expectations for American Life. The lyrics lived up to them. No one can argue that Madonna has great insight into the trappings of fame, but we've heard it all before (remember Substitute for Love?). That aside, there is only one reason to buy this song, and that is for the beautiful, beautiful chorus. Madonna could have taken that chorus and made a beautiul ballad out of it, but she didn't. (With the recent success of songs such as Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, I think it could have been a hit). She also could have made a killer techno/dance song, but the synthesized background effects seem VERY watered down. It does seem like the B-side of the single. If she wanted this to be a good techno song that hinted of war terror, why did she not do some really scary stuff with the synthesizers? Also why not throw in some background voices (remember Like A Prayer?). This song could have been hauntingly beautiful, but it's not. I just have to ask, is Madonna capable of beautiful ballads any more (like Take a Bow) or is she just too afraid to risk having a flop song, trading quality music for chart status and club play? Wow, that's really low.

Product: Audio CD
Title: It Was All a Dream
Label: Bad Boy
Artist: Dream
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
So kute

A few weeks ago, I saw this CD at a local store. About to embark on a 6 hour bus ride, I bought the CD. My friends and I were listening to this amazing CD all the way to and from New Jersey!
Dream has put together an amazing CD with popular singles such as He Loves U Not and This is Me mixed with other songs and fun interludes. The 4 girls who make up this band have an amazing vocal range, and they have an incredible future as musicians. In this era of "boy bands" and rappers, good pop music is hard to find. It was All a Dream is a great CD for anyone searching for good pop music!

Product: Audio CD
Title: Smile From the Streets You Hold
Label: Birdman
Artist: John Frusciante
Rating: 1/5
Customer rating - 1 out of 5

I think these first two solo albums are celebrated and derided for equally legitimate reasons. The people who like this period of John's work recognize within it some very strong, original ideas. The people who can't stand this stuff probably don't like the format: John's first two albums are very unstructured documentations of his ideas, in a kind of stream-of-consciousness sort of way. The thing that makes these albums noteworthy is that he really has some phenomenal ideas. For fans, the home-recording spontaneity of it all only lends more insight into how John comes up with ideas. On the other hand, John could be in the middle of a song you like when he starts screaming at the top of his lungs, or begin a song by doing a bong-hit and falling off his chair. If you don't already relate to his ideas, then you probably won't have much patience for the presentation.
Most people recognize the first album, Niandra, as having a greater ratio of songs-to-lunacy than the second. There's just more songs there, and they're almost all memorable. They are probably my favorite of anything he's done--a great blend of raw melodic sense, introspective themes, and a truly unforgettable delivery which amused and annoyed countless roommates of mine in college. Songs like "My Smile is a Rifle," while sloppy with intermittent screeching, are still awesome songs, and are at least played through to completion. You find yourself humming many of them, including the mistakes and irregularities which only seem to make them cooler.
The second album suffers dramatically in this regard; many more songs are only momentary glimpses before descending into a mess of analog-manipulations and scary caterwauling. Still, the "art-hacks" have a point about the honesty and emotion that is present here. I don't think you can deny it, even if don't respect anything else about the album. In my opinion, Smile From the Streets You Hold has a few songs that are really worth having, but I don't know if that makes it worth having the album. Only if you really liked Niandra, I think.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones
Label: Sony
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
I Want to Like It

I'm a movie fanatic, therefore when I find a truly amazing film, I pay close attention to its music, making me a fan of soundtracks, too. I own many of John Williams masterpieces--including 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and 'The Empire Strikes' back to name a few--but I find it difficult to really like this soundtrack. Yeah, it's nice and I enjoy listening to it, but it's not what I've come to expect from Williams.
First, I feel that the great thing about a John Williams score is his constant ability to create a new theme. None of my albums sound alike, but as of late, I feel that he is beginning to run out of ideas. Some reviewers relate this score to 'Hook', but I disagree: if this sounded any more like 'Harry Potter', I'd believe that it actually was the 'Harry Potter' score! (I also own that one and love it.)
To me, this doesn't have the feel of a 'Star Wars' score. 'Episode I', in my opinion, was a pretty decent soundtrack. It had its up and down...its light music, its dark music, and of course, 'Duel of the Fates'. But we don't get any of that here. (Though the love theme is very nice.)
This soundtrack has little action music, and when it does, it seems to copy from old soundtracks that I already own. I enjoy this collection, but not nearly as much as others I own. I'm glad I bought it, yes, but I only hope that we see a much darker, more Imperial-like score for 'Episode III'. (Possibly more along the lines of Howard Shore's 'The Lord of the Rings', perhaps??)