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Wednesday, November 28,2001

Mariah Carey


We have all listened to some bad pop music in our days, so to all the prepubescents out there who worship Mariah Carey, I have to be fair and say that Glitter will not disappoint. The 12 tracks (all right, 11 plus a remix) intermingle numerous, classic showcases of Mariah's powerful voice with fresher jams on which Mariah is joined

The best two cuts on the album are the covers of Robert Palmer's "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" and Indeep's "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life." And if Mariah's "nervous breakdown" was not of the speedball-induced, alcohol-fueled variety but was, in fact, mental-health related, at least two songs stand out as distinct cries for help.

I don't mean to be harsh, but after listening to Glitter I have two words to describe my stance on Mariah's recently released, semi-autobiographical film of the same name-death first!


Paul McCartney
Driving Rain / Capital

With 1999's Flaming Pie, McCartney proved that actually surviving the Beatles' crushing legacy and returning to pop craftsmanship was within his grasp, despite something like two and half decades of fleeting glimpses, round-file filler, and the inevitable distractions of post-Fab and post-Wings revivalism.

Driving Rain is a similar triumph in drawn-down, purely extracted songsmithing, from the buoyant, soul-informed "Tiny Bubble," to the grinding, rockish "Lonely Road," and the Wings-flavored "Magic." This CD bears some trademark Mac-isms, though: the annoying and pointless "She's Given Up Talking," the unwieldy "From A Lover To A Friend"-probably written for/about his new wife (he wrote better songs for/about Linda)-and then some genuinely refreshing creations, like the gorgeous, soaring, piano-borne instrumental "Heather" and the sub-continent flavorings of "Riding Into Jaipur."

The real surprise may be the uncredited inclusion of "Freedom," taken from his big NYC concert of a few weeks back, which constitutes his second charity single for the WTC victims. The song is rather weird. "We will fight/For the right/To live in freedom" is a nice sentiment but sounds a little wrong coming from McCartney for some reason. To be fair, he's offering it as a standalone single as well; and while it doesn't smack of opportunism, it unfortunately marks this CD in time with a nothing song and kind of ruins the slightly off-kilter pop fantasy much of this CD captures so capably.


Tub Ring
Drake Equation / Deezal

If you're the type who chews through the factory seal on your new CD while backing out of your parking space, and has the disc in your car stereo before you've even made it out of reverse, then Tub Ring's Drake Equation will shock you. The album is a frenetic punk album gone strangely awry with a peppering of experimental rock, pop, banjos, surf guitar, and, arguably, polka. But if you're the patient type who calmly unwraps your new purchase and thumbs through its jacket, then Drake Equation-which as you'll then know was produced by Mr. Bungle's Trey Spruance-will make perfect sense.

Although louder and more aggressive than Mr. Bungle's more recent releases, Tub Ring follows in the footsteps of Mr. Bungles' amusingly eclectic weirdness. And like Mr. Bungle's work, Tub Ring's Drake Equation is a welcomed change of pace from the mass of new releases on shelves today. Matched with their sci-fi lyrics, which swing from cerebral to downright silly ("I was working in my kitchen/When oddly I discovered cold fusion"), Tub Ring's erratic, fast-paced schizophrenia lures rapt listeners closer to their speakers and keeps them bobbing happily along despite frequent and wild redirections.



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