Reviews > Notable CDs

Bestselling CDs

Notable CDs | 5 bestselling internet albums according to Billboard

1. LATE REGISTRATION

WEEKS ON CHART 1

STYLE Allegedly the "positive" face of hip-hop.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL The nearly all-pervasive obscenities, profanities, blasphemies, racist epithets, and crudities.

WORLDVIEW What does it matter what Mr. West's worldview is when it's almost impossible to quote his lyrics without deleting the expletives?

OVERALL QUALITY Residual Jesus references aside, as clueless and amoral as one would expect from someone proud to denounce President Bush as a murderous racist.

2. NO DIRECTION HOME

WEEKS ON CHART 1

STYLE Disc One: acoustic folk and protest; Disc Two: electric rock-and-roll surrealism.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL Possibly the theologically dubious line in "Masters of War" identifying warmongering as the Unpardonable Sin.

WORLDVIEW "Something is happening here, / but you don't know what it is, / do you, Mr. Jones?"; "When you ain't got nothin', you've got nothing to lose."

OVERALL QUALITY The live "Maggie's Farm" aside, for documentarians and completists only.

3. BACK HOME

WEEKS ON CHART 1

STYLE Blue-eyed soul and R&B with a pop veneer.

WORLDVIEW "This album is dedicated to the memory of Syreeta Wright, Phillipe Wynne, Rick Danko, Ray Charles, and Richard Manuel. . . . The music they made guided me through this life, providing me with all the principles that I needed to be happy and free" (the liner notes).

OVERALL QUALITY If only Mr. Clapton didn't sing like someone famous for playing the guitar . . .

4. LUCKY ONES

WEEKS ON CHART 2

STYLE Mid-tempo country-rock.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL One mild sexual simile ("Baby Doll"); one instance of excretory slang ("Over and Over").

WORLDVIEW "A backseat full of clothes / in my old Cavalier, / there was empty pizza boxes / stacked around the room, / a couple of beers on Tuesday / and one in the afternoon, / hey, college, / those were the best days of my life" ("College").

OVERALL QUALITY Great Radney Foster-penned title cut, hum-drum everything else.

5. PLANS

WEEKS ON CHART 1

STYLE Luminous, electronica-tinged pop melancholia.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL One instance of excretory slang ("What Sarah Said").

WORLDVIEW "In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule, / I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black. / And I held my tongue as she told me, 'Son, / fear is the heart of love,' so I never went back" ("What Sarah Said").

OVERALL QUALITY Manages to be introspective without succumbing to self-pity or self-indulgence.

In the spotlight

No Direction Home is the seventh volume in Columbia/Legacy's Bootleg Series of rare Bob Dylan recordings and the first to feel like a rip-off. With 20 of its 28 songs alternate or live recordings of songs long familiar to Dylan fans, three others previously released, and most of the rest frequently bootlegged, hardly anything on the two-disc set will actually enhance the collections of the collectors at whom the Bootleg Series is aimed.

Granted, one of the live recordings is the notorious 1965 Newport Folk Festival "electric" performance of "Maggie's Farm," and one of the acoustic tunes is his earliest known original recording (a 1959 performance of "When I Got Troubles"). So No Direction Home, like the accompanying Martin Scorsese documentary for which it is the official soundtrack, is not without historical interest.

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