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The Music

Culture | The Top 5 CDs in the United Kingdom, for the week of July 8, according to Dotmusic.com

Issue: "Rolling the dice," Aug. 4, 2001
1
The invisible band
Travis 4 weeks on chart
STYLE
Wistful, melancholy alternative rock.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
None.

WORLDVIEW
"There is no wrong, there is no right, the circle only has one side" ("Side"); "I'd pray to god [sic] if there was heaven, but heaven seems so very far from here" ("Pipe Dreams").

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OVERALL QUALITY
There's no denying the gentle beauty of Travis's current output (bonus tracks included), but the lyrics ultimately don't amount to much and the sound is derivative (U2, Radiohead), so most of the songs ring hollow.

2
No angel
Dido 38 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 seductive but erroneous notion that ordinary romantic longings take on epic significance if indulged to the exclusion of all else.

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

3
Devil's Night
D12 3 weeks on chart
STYLE
Hardcore rap.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
All 18 tracks.

WORLDVIEW
As is now standard rap practice, the members devote liner space to thanking God, but more telling is the leadoff track, "Another Public Service Announcement," which warns those who object to vile language to "turn this [obscenity] off right now" because "that's the only [obscenity] that you're gonna hear right here on this album."

OVERALL QUALITY
None-even rap fans attribute D12's popularity primarily to the involvement of Eminem as both member and executive producer.

4
Hot Shot
Shaggy 23 weeks on 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.

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.

5
Just Enough Education to perform
Stereophonics 13 weeks on chart
STYLE
Alternative rock-aggressive, loud, mellow, and poppy by turns.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
None.

WORLDVIEW
In keeping with alternative-rock chic, this Welsh group touts Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and Tibetan liberation in their liner notes, but apart from a verse about Hitler's attempt "to build the perfect race" ("Nice to Be Out") and "Lying in the Sun" (written from the perspective of a beggar in Portugal), the songs avoid both politics and culture wars.

OVERALL QUALITY
Mildly entertaining as diversions go, mildly diverting as entertainment goes.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
At 39, Jon Bon Jovi has made a career of setting clichés to anthemic hooks and taking them to the top of the charts. When he addressed Oxford University last June, his latest collection, One Wild Night: Live 1985-2001 (Island), was doing brisk business in England, yet neither it nor his speech shed much light on what had made him engage in his most civic-minded behavior to date, i.e., his highly visible involvement in the 2000 Gore campaign. At times Mr. Bon Jovi's Oxford speech (www.backstagejbj.com/oxford.htm) reads like a paean to rugged individualism worthy of Rush Limbaugh. But such optimism as his songs contain often comes tinged with fatalism. In two of One Wild Night's best-known songs, he sings of "Keep[ing] the Faith" and "Livin' on a Prayer" without specifying which faith or prayer to whom. Elsewhere he sings, "I lost all my faith in God, in His religion too" and "It's my life / It's now or never / I ain't gonna live forever." It's not clear whether such lyrics reflect his core values or simply what polls say his fans want to hear.

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