STYLE Spacey, eerily calm progressive rock in the tradition of Dark Side of the Moon, the best-known album by Mr. Gilmour's famous "day job" band, Pink Floyd.
WORLDVIEW "So break the bread and pour the wine. / I need no blessings, but I'm counting mine. / Life is much more than money buys / when I see the faith in my children's eyes" ("This Heaven").
OVERALL QUALITY Nice-empty, but nice.
STYLE Rolling Stonesy electric blues revved up and dumbed down a few notches.
CAUTIONS Obscenities ("So Far," "Crazy [Expletive Deleted]"); overall sleaze.
WORLDVIEW "I'm not a bad man; I'm just a glutton for abuse" ("Out of Line").
OVERALL QUALITY Rock this emotionally provocative can embody the wages of sin without gussying them up, and sometimes this music embodies just that ("Everything"); too often, though, it gussies sin up something fierce.
STYLE Ambient, goth, progressive metal.
CAUTIONS Casual cursing ("Fragile").
WORLDVIEW "No hell to discover / there is just nothing to betray / salvation you have preached is gone" ("Closer"); "My halo fades / sin is calling / the promise has been stolen / disease everlasting" ("Fragment of Faith").
OVERALL QUALITY Bands like Lacuna Coil shouldn't cover Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence"-makes their own songs sound gloomier and more melodramatic than they already do.
STYLE Concept metal in the tradition of Operation: Mindcrime I (i.e., the '80s).
CAUTIONS Profanity ("I'm American," "Speed of Light").
Worldview "If you voted for the man, you're wasting time. / He's got his fingers dipped in everyone's pie. / The news can't wait to promote / all the [expletive deleted] this government is selling . . . / Do you want what they're selling you, / another television war?" ("I'm American").
OVERALL QUALITY Opera for lowbrows.
STYLE Metalcore (hardcore plus heavy metal).
CAUTIONS Obscenities ("Our Sick Story," "Your Private War," "My Fork in the Road," "Untitled Finale," "Creature"), casual cursing ("Ex's and Oh's").
WORLDVIEW "You put a bullet in my head, / turn black thoughts to red. / This could all end in tragedy. / I dream of your death . . ." ("Untitled Finale").
OVERALL QUALITY Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
Between performing in Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review (1975-'76) and producing the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack (2000), T Bone Burnett released five solo albums, two solo EPs, and three albums with David Mansfield and Steven Soles as the Alpha Band (1976-'78). Columbia/Legacy/DMZ's two-disc, 40-song 20/20: The Essential T Bone Burnett, though perhaps relying too heavily on 1992's brooding The Criminal Under My Own Hat and too lightly on 1980's celebratory Truth Decay, faithfully chronicles his eclectic, bittersweet, and essentially Christian body of work (with several previously unreleased songs and re-recordings as bait).
Mr. Burnett's recurrent subjects are the wages of sin and the hope of redemption, his aesthetic challenge the balancing of his pontifical tendencies and his rock 'n' roll roots. Ironically, he often makes his points most compellingly when at his most apparently whimsical: In many ways his rockabilly rendition of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" says as much about fallen humanity as 20/20's 39 other songs combined.