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Notable CDs | The Top 5 Internet CDs for the week ending May 5, according to Billboard magazine

Issue: "Global shame," June 15, 2002

The Top 5 Internet CDs for the week ending May 5, according to Billboard magazine

1

JOSH GROBAN

Josh Groban

STYLE
Performing-arts-school theatricality for classically trained baritone voice and orchestra.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
None.

WORLDVIEW
As Mr. Groban is a singer, not a composer, his worldview is inseparable from those whose material he records, hence "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (Bach), "Vincent" (Don McLean), and a good deal of generalized romanticism in between.

OVERALL QUALITY
Slick; well within the parameters established by Andrea Bocelli, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Charlotte Church.

2

SILVER LINING

Bonnie Raitt

STYLE
Bluesy roots-rock with an adult-contemporary twist.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
"Fool's Game," "Back Around" (casual profanity), "Gnawin' on It" (subtle lesbianism)

WORLDVIEW
"Don't let me grow bitter I pray / Give me strength to carry on my way / ... Oh Lord have mercy if I complain / Well, I'm walkin' through ... the valley of pain."

OVERALL QUALITY
Unfocused; the ballads, blues, and gospel songs remain at odds throughout.

3

COME AWAY WITH ME

Norah Jones

STYLE
Breathy, acoustic love songs, evocative of coffeehouses, jazz clubs, and old Hollywood musicals.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
None.

WORLDVIEW
When experienced as ends in themselves, the pleasures and pains of romance are largely indistinguishable.

OVERALL QUALITY
High; unlike her father, Ravi Shankar, Miss Jones operates strictly within the Western pop-musical tradition, sounding older than her 23 years and giving rise to hopes that her career will be long.

4

ANY TIME NOW

O.A.R.

STYLE
In-concert, youthfully exuberant, jam-oriented modern rock.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
"That Was a Crazy Game of Poker" (obscenity), "Conquering Fools," "Get Away" (casual profanity)

WORLDVIEW
"People come and people go but they never know what is going on / So they gotta try to be what they wanna be."

OVERALL QUALITY
Exhausting; the 17 songs average seven minutes apiece, and the band is loath to ease up on the intensity.

5

C'MON, C'MON

Sheryl Crow

STYLE
Catchy pop-rock

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
"Steve McQueen" (profanity); several of the CD booklet's Faith Hill-like photo

WORLDVIEW
As they push past 40, even girls who used to want nothing more than to have some fun begin longing for a love that will last.

OVERALL QUALITY
Fair; Miss Crow's knack for writing songs that sound good on the radio is evident on at least half-a-dozen tracks herein.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Kasey Chambers is a 26-year-old Australian who has spent the last few years accumulating kudos by skillfully imbuing the acoustic sounds of Appalachia with the tension of contemporary angst. What makes the quality of her accomplishment somewhat difficult to assess is that her sound is not her own: It's Julie Miller's. On songs such as "Not Pretty Enough," "On a Bad Day," "Nullarbor Song," "Runaway Train," and "I Still Pray" from Miss Chambers's latest album, Barricades and Brickwalls (Warner Bros.), the similarity between her voice and Mrs. Miller's makes for a particularly eerie dopplegänger effect. The Millers themselves-Julie and her husband Buddy-clearly consider Miss Chambers a kindred spirit, as one or both of them have participated on each of her Warner Bros. albums. Alas, such differences as exist between Miss Chambers and the explicitly Christian Millers are marked: occasional vulgarity, immodest cover poses, and "Ignorance," a politically correct rant that evokes unpleasant memories of Sinéad O'Connor.

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