Culture

The Music

Culture | The Top 5 "Internet album sales" CDs for the week ending Sept. 30, according to Billboard

Issue: "The narrow runway," Oct. 14, 2000
1
Maroon
Barenaked Ladies 1 week on chart
STYLE
Catchy, crisply recorded rock 'n' roll, its self-consciousness undercut by the determination of its creators not to take the music or themselves very seriously.

BEST CUTS
"Pinch Me," "Falling for the First Time," "The Humour of the Situation"

WORLDVIEW
No one or nothing is so dysfunctional that a keenly honed sense of irony can't cut it down to manageable size.

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ROLE MODEL STATUS
Their name an edgy joke on their real-life status as out-of-shape Canadian males, they write and perform with some perceptive observation.

2
Verdi
Andrea Bocelli 1 week on chart
STYLE
Verdi arias for tenor and orchestra (Zubin Mehta, director).

BEST CUTS
"Ella mi fu rapita!," "Oh mio rimorso!"

WORLDVIEW
"[Verdi's] arias ... have an intrinsic power and communicate ideas that are eternal. I believe that in a world of confusion, sensationalism and ethical turmoil, classical music could be a pure and wholesome medicine that enables us to hope for a better future ..." (Andrea Bocelli, from the liner notes).

ROLE MODEL STATUS
Mr. Bocelli is widely regarded as the "fourth tenor" (after Pavarotti, Domingo, and Carreras).

3
Red Dirt Girl
Emmylou Harris 1 week on chart
STYLE
A return to the stark, folk-based atmospherics of the Daniel Lanois-produced Wrecking Ball, this time under the production of Malcolm Burn.

BEST CUTS
"The Pearl," "Michelangelo," "My Baby Needs a Shepherd," "My Antonia"

WORLDVIEW
Increasingly biblical, with Christian imagery recurring amid songs embodying the Shakespearean injunction to love that well which thou must leave ere long.

ROLE MODEL STATUS
Thrice married, thrice divorced, and politically liberal, Miss Harris has nevertheless matured from a fledgling dilettante to one of the most respected singer-songwriters in the world.

4
In Blue
The Corrs 1 week on chart
STYLE
Slick, undeniably pleasant pop, with fiddle and bodhran intermittently (and unconvincingly) adduced as proof of the group's faithfulness to its Irish roots.

BEST CUTS
"Breathless," "Irresistible," "At Your Side"

WORLDVIEW
No hair day is so bad that harmonizing with one's sisters, and getting Mutt Lange (Mr. Shania Twain) to produce the results, won't make it better.

ROLE MODEL STATUS
Four musically gifted siblings (three sisters, one brother) with fashion-model looks and a fan-base built one country and album at a time.

5
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi Hendrix 1 week on chart
STYLE
Pyrotechnically seminal electric blues (four discs worth), responsible in large part for the enduring popularity of the electric guitar.

BEST CUTS
"All Along the Watchtower" (live), "If 6 Was 9," "In from the Storm" (live), "Purple Haze" (live)

WORLDVIEW
Spiritual liberation comes through intensification of sensual and psychic experiences-by pyrotechnically seminal electric blues if possible, by drugs if necessary.

ROLE MODEL STATUS
Thirty years after his fatal drug overdose, and despite stiff competition, Mr. Hendrix remains rock's quintessentially self-destructive romantic artist.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Few albums have had a history as strange as Paul Pena's New Train's (Hybrid). Recorded in 1973 as the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 1972 debut, it's gone unreleased until now due to "management" problems and Job-like circumstances that have hampered Mr. Pena's attending to business. Born with congenital glaucoma, he spent nearly 20 years in retirement helping his wife battle the effects of kidney failure. When she died in 1991, New Train had been shelved for 18 years. Since then Mr. Pena has taken up Tuvan throat singing, been the subject of a documentary (Genghis Blues), had July 11 declared "Paul Pena Day" in San Francisco, and been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. These facts, however, won't prepare listeners for the rock, folk, gospel, and soul apotheosis he achieved on New Train. Over the loose groove of a band that included Jerry Garcia on two numbers, he sang in a grittily soulful voice of a freedom that was more than political and that, to quote the title track, would only come when the "will of Christ" was done. Required election-year listening for sure.

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