Culture > Notable CDs

Bestselling CDs

Notable CDs | The five bestselling albums in Europe according to Billboard magazine

Under the Iron Sea

Style

Coldplay without the guitar, U2 without the "edge."

Worldview

"I don't want to be old and feel afraid" . . . "Is it any wonder that I feel afraid?" . . . "I don't even know my strange old face" . . . "I guess we're just older now" (random but representative lyrics).

Overall quality

The sound: as euphonious in its grandiosity as it is derivative; lyrics: as self-pityingly gloomy as they are trite.

Stadium Arcadium

Style

The latest installment of the slacker rock with which the Peppers went platinum in the '90s and the white funk with which they broke through in the '80s.

Cautions

"Tell Me Baby" (profanity), "Charlie" (cursing).

Worldview

That nothing succeeds like excess.

Overall quality

Two discs the equivalent of three vinyl LPs and 28 tracks consisting of no outright duds but no outright grabbers either inevitably equals tedium ad nauseam.

Oral Fixation Vol. 2

Style

Celine Dion vocals, Madonna-worthy dance rhythms, world music, hip-hop, and rock 'n' roll.

Cautions

"Hips Don't Lie," "Hey You" (suggestiveness), "Animal City" (vulgarity), "Costume Makes the Clown" (cursing).

Worldview

"How many people die and hurt in Your name? / Hey, does that make You proud, or does it bring You shame? . . . You've made mistakes. . . . / But if I forgive Yours, will You forgive mine?"

Overall quality

Catchy when fast, run-of-the-mill when slow.

Loose

Style

Shakira-styled pop/hip-hop with more emphasis on the electronics, hooks, and Spanish and less on the rhythms.

Cautions

"Glow" (profanity), "Maneater," "Promiscuous," "Do It" (sexual suggestiveness), flirtatiously immodest inner-cover photos.

Worldview

That a preoccupation with love's sensuous side doesn't preclude leaving matters "In God's Hands" when "All Good Things (Come to an End)."

Overall quality

A vivid musical snapshot of a young woman torn between the spirit and the flesh.

St. Elsewhere

Style

An innovative funk, soul, pop, rock, electronica blend.

Cautions

"Necromancer" (necrophilia), "Transformer" (cursing).

Worldview

"All work and no play, that's the way it is, ain't it? / There's a rhythm deep inside of you, and you must / get reacquainted. / When was the last time you danced" ("The Last Time")?

Overall quality

Mostly harmless, pop-fizzy fun; low on content but high on producer Danger Mouse's technological razzle-dazzle.

Spotlight

As MTV marks its silver anniversary this fall, 30- and 40-somethings who remember the network's halcyon days can hardly help lamenting its transformation from a spirited showcase for underexposed young bands and singers into one more example of why Luddites blame cable television for accelerating the dumbing down of America. In retrospect, MTV's first three years, although often derided for the low production values of their music-video fare, constituted both an entertaining complement to mainstream FM radio and the impetus necessary for the launching of alternative (usually college) stations.

By 1984, however, the slide was on. With the introduction of "heavy rotation" videos came a narrowing of playlist variety, upon which inevitably followed boredom and viewer burnout. Rather than rethink its music-based mission, the network latched onto Beavis and Butthead, Jackass, The Osbournes, The Ashlee Simpson Show, and other brazenly overt caterings to society's lowest common denominator, the proliferation of which, alas, having proved lucrative, shows no sign of abating.

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