Style: Left-wing, hip-hop-influenced reggae.
Worldview: "Those who start wars never fight them, / and those who fight wars never like them. . . . / Don't take our boys away, no. Don't take our girls away, no. / It's time to go home."
Overall quality: The music is as catchy as the lyrics are naïve; only Michael Moore, who really should hire Franti for his next soundtrack, has his head any deeper in the sand.
Style: The Dolls' classic glitter-punk as reinvented after a 32-year hiatus by two original members and four new ones.
Cautions: "We Are in Love," "Dance like a Monkey," "Punishing World," the booklet comic (profanity), "Runnin' Around" (cursing, lasciviousness).
Worldview: "This is not how the end should've come. / Who could imagine this when I was young?" ("I Ain't Got Nothin'").
Overall quality: David Johansen's most spirited work in nearly a decade.
Style: Contemporary Christian version of the tight, loud, punky pop so popular with young people nowadays.
Worldview: "Someone loves you even when you don't think so. . . . / You will never be alone on your own. / You got me and Jesus."
Overall quality: As Christians, the members of Stellar Kart are more morally uplifting than Green Day; they're still a knockoff though, as Green Day fans will no doubt point out.
Style: Journey, Rush, and Yes meet amid heart-attack drums and histrionic guitars.
Worldview: "All in stark reality the angels will fall, / and the world cries out for the silence lost. . . . / Blinded by the force of evil cries into the night, / never before have they seen the darkness. Now they are all gone" ("Revolution Deathsquad").
Overall quality: Admirably melodic for caterwaul and doggerel-and somebody test the drummer for steroids.
Style: Secular version of the tight, loud, punky pop so popular with Stellar Kart fans.
Worldview: "When our soul is gone, what will we miss? / We've lost what it takes to really feel. / We all need someone to tell us how to save the state of where we are. . . . / Who will save us?"
Overall quality: A little less positive than Stellar Kart, a good deal less negative than Green Day.
Although best known for leading the Welsh act Amen Corner in the 1960s and touring as a sideman with The Who, Eric Clapton, and Roger Waters, Andy Fairweather Low also made four albums for A&M Records between 1974 and 1980, proving himself a masterly purveyor of philosophically acute, jaunty folk and pub-rock in the process.
Sweet Soulful Music (Proper American) finds him picking up where he left off. Singing one catchy, mainly acoustic ditty after another in a voice that blends Clapton and Paul McCartney, Low uses stoic humor to plumb the mystery of life in a universe that's just unfathomable enough to need plumbing. And while his belief in a "heaven for everyone" and his assertion that he "believe[s] in [him]self and nobody else" define him as heterodox, "Bible Black Starless Sky" (his prayer to "Jehovah") and "The Low Rider" (wherein he implores the "bread of heaven" to be his "guiding light") suggest he may not be for long.