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The Music

Culture | The Top 5 "Triple A" CDs for the week ending Nov. 17, according to Gavin.com

Issue: "Gore strikes out," Dec. 9, 2000
1
All That You Can't Leave Behind
U2
STYLE
An autumnal blending of the guitar-based grandeur of U2's first decade with the "electronica"-based razzle-dazzle of its second one.

BEST CUTS
"Stuck in a Moment That You Can't Get Out Of," "Peace on Earth," "Walk On"

WORLDVIEW
Until Jesus Himself gets around to establishing peace on earth, we'll have to make do with Greenpeace and Amnesty International (endorsed in the liner notes).

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ROLE MODEL STATUS
As earnest and confused a quartet (three of them intermittently professed Christians) of rock 'n' roll idealists as Ireland has yet produced.

2
Sailing to Philadelphia
Mark Knopfler
STYLE
A juxtaposition of the laid-back pub-rock, catchy shuffles, and soundtrack atmospherics at which Mr. Knopfler has long excelled.

BEST CUTS
"Who's Your Baby Now," "Do America"

WORLDVIEW
Those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it (as implied by songs reflecting Mr. Knopfler's growing interest in subjects of historical, political, and cultural importance).

ROLE MODEL STATUS
After 22 years as a top hitmaker, producer, and sideman, the softspoken Dire Straits frontman enjoys broad-based respect and international popularity.

3
Breach
The Wallflowers
STYLE
Mid-tempo rock, less influenced by the lead singer's father (Bob Dylan) than by those his father has influenced (Elvis Costello, Tom Petty).

BEST CUTS
"Up from Under," "Murder 101," "I've Been Delivered"

WORLDVIEW
Unfocused, due to the singer's habit of using puns and conceits to disguise the fact that he has little to say.

ROLE MODEL STATUS
At 30 Jakob Dylan embodies the modesty and humility required of a musician intent on making his own mark in a genre all but invented by his father.

4
Crossing Muddy Waters
John Hiatt
STYLE
Acoustic back-porch folk and blues overlaid with, and at times overwhelmed by, the exaggerated intensity of Mr. Hiatt's mugging and singing.

BEST CUTS
"Before I Go," "Lincoln Town," "Lift Up Every Stone"

WORLDVIEW
Life is real, life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal.

ROLE MODEL STATUS
At 48, a quintessential survivor (of alcohol, divorce, consumer indifference) whose success at having his songs recorded by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, and Willie Nelson exceeds his success as a performer.

5
You're the One
Paul Simon
STYLE
Wry, acoustic pop, with Mr. Simon's well-known interest in African and South American rhythms reflected in Bakithi Kumalo's bass and Jamey Hadad and Steve Shehan's percussion.

BEST CUTS
"Darling Lorraine," "Old," "Look at That"

WORLDVIEW
The biggest obstacle to aging gracefully is the bitterness that comes with viewing old age and death as proof of cosmic injustice.

ROLE MODEL STATUS
The most talented, intelligent, thoughtful, and God-haunted 59-year-old American singer-songwriter not named Bob Dylan (and an enthusiastic fundraiser for Al Gore).

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Anyone interested in whether undiluted rock 'n' roll can faithfully convey the deeper truths of Christian experience should listen to Jonathan Rundman's Sound Theology (Salt Lady; available through www.saltlady.com). Subtitled "Perspectives on Faith and Rock & Roll from a Finnish-American Midwestern Generation X Lutheran at the Turn of the Millennium," the two-disc, 52-cut song cycle sets the traditional liturgical calendar to edgy, skeletal rock, with songs for Advent ("Four Candles"), Lent ("Ashes"), Easter ("Forgiveness Waltz"), and so on. Interspersed for variety are spirituals, acoustic instrumental Lutheran hymns, and songs protesting dumbed-down evangelicalism. A lifelong Lutheran, Mr. Rundman, 29, was a semi-professional actor before turning to music full time in 1995. Although Sound Theology is his first album to deal overtly with his faith, the concept itself was inspired by a song from his 1997 Recital album, "Meeting Nixon." "People would come up to me and ask me religious questions after I'd play it," Mr. Rundman told WORLD. "It's saying that when you get to heaven, you're going to see people you'd never expect to see there. It's a song that both Democrats and Republicans can like."

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