Reviews > Culture

The Music

Culture | The Top 5 CDs for the week ending March 31, 2001, according to Billboard

Issue: "Tax man's terror," April 14, 2001
1
Hotshot
Shaggy 32 weeks on the chart
STYLE
Dancehall reggae.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
Softcore porn: "Hotshot," "Lonely Lover," "Dance and Shout," "Leave It to Me," "Luv Me, Luv Me," "Freaky Girl," "It Wasn't Me," "Not Fair," "Hey Love," and "Chica Bonita"

WORLDVIEW
Sexocentric.

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OVERALL QUALITY
Shaggy's blend of reggae, rap, pop, and rock can be catchy and clever, but only on "Angel," "Hope," and "Keep'n It Real" is his talent at the service of sentiments worth savoring.

2
Everyday
Dave Matthews Band 3 weeks on chart
STYLE
Intricately arranged, meticulously produced modern rock.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
"If I Had It All" (foul language)

WORLDVIEW
Wistfully post-Christian ("There's no God above, no hell below" ... "Hoping to god on high / Is like clinging to straws while drowning"..."I for one don't turn my cheek for anyone").

OVERALL QUALITY
The influence of U2 and Counting Crows can be distracting, but on "The Space Between," "Fool to Think," and "Sleep to Dream Her" the DMB succeeds on its own tentatively experimental terms.

3
Just Push Play
Aerosmith 2 weeks on chart
STYLE
Bombastic hard rock.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
"Just Push Play" (foul language), "Drop Dead Gorgeous," "Outta Your Head," "Under My Skin" (lechery)

WORLDVIEW
Hedonism alternating with chat-room-level philosophy ("How a girl thinks is a mystery. / We spend our lives / cruising the bars, / the Venus girls and / the men from Mars").

OVERALL QUALITY
Dirty old men though they are, Steven Tyler (53) and Joe Perry (50) are capable of some critical self-knowledge ("Jaded," "Sunshine," "Luv Lies").

4
No Angel
Dido 44 weeks on chart
STYLE
Lush, ethereal pop framing vocals that blend and often surpass those of Enya, Dolores O'Riordan, and Sinéad O'Connor.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
None.

WORLDVIEW
The erroneous but seductive notion that ordinary romantic longings take on epic significance if indulged to the exclusion of all else.

OVERALL QUALITY
Eminem sampled "Thank You" as the basis for his single "Stan," but only those eager to impute guilt by association will deny the pop-music-making acumen of this classically trained singer.

5
Reptile
Eric Clapton 1 week on chart
STYLE
Soft rock, light jazz, Tulsa shuffle, blues.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
None.

WORLDVIEW
Mr. Clapton touchingly dedicates this album to a late aunt and uncle ("for the joy and love you shared ... for all that you gave me"), but the themes of the self-penned songs are pop-psych clichés ("Believe in Life," "Find Myself").

OVERALL QUALITY
A well-produced, entertaining mix of cover tunes (Ray Charles, James Taylor, J.J. Cale), low-key playing (Andy Fairweather Low, Steve Gadd, Billy Preston), and soulful singing (the Impressions, Mr. Clapton).

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
When the history of contemporary Christian music is finally written, Phil Keaggy's unparalleled productivity (over 30 albums since 1970), virtuosity (one of the "100 greatest guitarists of the 20th century" according to Musician), and soft-spoken integrity (especially on pro-life issues) will shine like gold in an often tarnished crown. At 50, he shows no signs of slowing down, having just released two albums simultaneously on the newly created Word Artisan label: Inseparable and Lights of Madrid. Inseparable, Mr. Keaggy's latest vocal album, explores moody, electronic-based textures to interesting if not always arresting effect. Somewhat taxing at 70 minutes, it will probably be best remembered for its inclusion of Paul McCartney's "Motor of Love." Lights of Madrid, on the other hand, a breathtaking blend of classical, Spanish, and jazz guitar, is almost certainly the best instrumental album of his career. "Lights of Madrid is really refreshing," says Mr. Keaggy in the album's press kit. "But it won't be played on Christian radio because it's just music. But," he adds with typical understatement, "it is music that a large part of the world could listen to."

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