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Product: Audio CD
Title: Low
Label: Rykodisc
Artist: David Bowie
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
The undiscovered Bowie

This is a collection of synth pop/rock tunes and soundscapes (for lack of a better term) that still sounds fresh more than 25 years after it was released. Following the pattern of Eno's "Before and After Science," what used to be Side 1 is pop/rock, and Side two is dedicated to the quiet instrumentals. I kinda miss having a "Side 2."


* Speed of Life -- Instrumental w/infectious guitar and syncopated synth. Doesn't seem quite complete, but more like a prelude to the rest of the disc.
* Breaking Glass -- Pure rock poetry wrapped around simple guitar riff. "Baby, I've been, breaking glass in your room again. Listen!" "Don't look at the carpet. I drew something awful on it. See!"
* What in the World -- A poppy tune about loneliness, hope, and love. Listen for Iggy singing backup vocals.
* Sound and Vision -- A bit of fluff on this disc. While heralded as a great single, it's a bit of twisted disco, but still a cut above.
* Always Crashing in the Same Car -- Guitar virtuousity from Carlos Alomar, with eerie Eno-fied (either Eno himself or just heavy Eno influence) treatments. More introspection from Bowie, builds to a tidy crescendo and emotional climax.
* Be My Wife -- Synthesized honky tonk piano over more Alomar colorations. Very romantic, if a bit overly sentimental, which is not what you'd expect here, but it really grounds this album "side" to make Bowie's bittersweet isolation seem even more vivid.
* A New Career in a New Town -- Instrumental starts out with an ambient Eno-like feel, then revs up into another pseudo-honky tonk jam with "harmonica," guitar, and other keyboards, then cuts back to ambient synth. In some ways feels like filler between the hot tracks of the original side 1 and the cool ambience of side 2.
* Warsawa - A pulsing, chanting, synth masterpiece.
* Art Decade - Contemplative repetitive theme over ambient/background synth sounds, conveys a big mysterious, cold space, and gives me the chills
* Weeping Wall -- Synth "vibraphone" tinklings with various themes, has an epic quality with interesting chants and soaring synthesizer lead in a kind of ethereal call and response.
* Subterraneans -- Eno and Bowie together at their best. It's a detailed Eno soundscape with Bowie overlaying a tender saxophone solo and evocative vocals.

Bonus tracks: why bother? This is a wonderful album in its original state.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Ray of Light
Label: Warner Brothers
Artist: Madonna
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5


Product: Audio CD
Title: Britney
Label: Jive
Artist: Britney Spears
Rating: 2/5
Customer rating - 2 out of 5
Apalling and Appealing

OK I do like this cd but some of the songs it's more like shes talking or moaning with music in the backround and not singing. Whats that about? I do however, think that like her previous albums this does have some catchy toons...I just prefer she sing instead of moan in some of her songs... also I don't like the song "That's where You Take Me" or whatever that is. but, like I said before I do like most of the other songs on it. It gets 4 stars for that reason.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Black Celebration
Label: Warner Brothers
Artist: Depeche Mode
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
The dark cloud atop the silver lining

The Amazon review that postulates that "Black Celebration" was the album thousands of dyed hair and make-up kids in the late 80's poured their alienated hearts out over hits it square on the head. "Black Celebration" is almost unmatched in its relentless gloom-mongering and only on the closing "But not Tonight" does the tone turn even vaguely optimistic. (Oddly enough, it's the one song to which the lyrics are omitted.) Not that the music wasn't outstanding. That was the main attraction about the richer sounding "Black Celebration." The state of the synthesizer had risen considerably since "Some Great Reward," and the breakthrough of Compact Discs had just begun. It brought a fuller sound out of Depeche Mode and gave them more room to deepen -- or maybe darken -- their sound. They had also stumbled into areas when less meant more, as the haunting "Stripped" exemplifies.
Just because the mood was dark also did not mean "Black Celebration" stayed mired in dirges. The frantic tempo of "A Question of Time" continued DM's ongoing string of modern rock dance singles, keeping them astride the likes of New Order and positioning them as the anti-Duran Duran. (Even though all three of these bands were at their creative peaks in this period.) The DM videos were getting better and it was just one more album before all three bands were world wide massive stars at the same time!!! (Duran Duran with "Big Thing," New Order with "Substance" and Depeche Mode with "Violator.") It was certainly heady times for lovers of synth-rock, and "Black Celebration" remains one of my favorite CDs from that period.