Reviews > Culture

Bestsellers

Culture | The Top 5 best-sellingcountry CDs for the week ending March 15, according to Billboard magazine

Issue: "Beginning of the end," March 29, 2003
1
HOME
Dixie Chicks 27 weeks on chart
STYLE
Unplugged country with bluegrass roots.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
None, Natalie Maines having saved her anti-Bush rant for when she was away from Home.

WORLDVIEW
"More love, I know that's all we need ... / To take us and hold us and lift us above / If there's ever an answer / It's more love" (sentiments with which Saddam Hussein no doubt concurs).

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OVERALL QUALITY
Much higher than the overall quality of Ms. Maines's ill-timed political insights.

2
UP!
Shania Twain 15 weeks on chart
STYLE
Disc 1: All-things-to-all-men pop; disc 2: disc 1 with steel guitars.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
Relatively immodest booklet photos.

WORLDVIEW
"She flies an airplane-she drives a subway train / At night she pumps gasoline / She's on the council-she's on the board / She's a politician-she praises the Lord" ("She's Not Just a Pretty Face").

OVERALL QUALITY
Two nearly identical 19-song discs amounting to overkill.

3
LIVE FROM THE ASTRODOME
George Strait 3 weeks on chart
STYLE
Good-natured, gentlemanly country.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
Possibly "The Fireman," country's version of "Handy Man."

WORLDVIEW
"Me and my family were real fortunate a few years ago. We got a call from President and Mrs. Bush, and they invited us to come up to Camp David and spend the weekend.... I'll remember that forever...." (from the introduction to "Love Without End Amen").

OVERALL QUALITY
Enjoyable though bland when not vice versa.

4
THE DANCEHALL DOCTORS
Tim McGraw 14 weeks on chart
STYLE
Contemporary country.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
None (not even "Red Ragtop," in which premarital sex and abortion lead to sorrow).

WORLDVIEW
That the "politically correct" who say "Don't pray in school but ... have safe sex" probably live in L.A. and may not have souls ("Who Are They").

OVERALL QUALITY
"I may not be the best of singers / There's better guys I've heard" ("I Know How to Love You Well").

5
AMERICAN IV
Johnny Cash 17 weeks on chart
STYLE
Acoustic, rough-hewn, genre-unifying folk.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL
None (not even the gallows-defiant "Sam Hall," its "Damn your eyes!" refrain making it a dramatic foil to the gallows-penitent "I Hung My Head").

WORLDVIEW
Your old men shall dream dreams (about a Bible-quoting Queen Elizabeth II, to be specific) and write songs based on them (the title cut, about Christ's second coming).

OVERALL QUALITY
The performance moving, the genre unification brilliant.

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