For their hard-core under-18 fans, of course, the Backstreet Boys are all that, and a bag of chips and free soda to boot. Millennium, the follow-up to the quintet's umpteen-million-selling debut, offers more reasons why so many of the rest of us have found a place for them in our hearts. The Boys' ultrapackaged look and up-to-date production underscore the quality of their best tracks; only a churl could deny that "I Want It That Way" is one fine radio-aimed declaration of love, or that "Larger Than Life" makes the most of its Daft Punk sample and double-edged acknowledgment of Backstreet followers' loyalty. And who can resist an album-closer like "The Perfect Fan," Brian Littrell's ode to his mom? --Rickey Wright For their hard-core under-18 fans, of course, the Backstreet Boys are all that, and a bag of chips and free soda to boot. Millennium, the follow-up to the quintet's umpteen-million-selling debut, offers more reasons why so many of the rest of us have found a place for them in our hearts. The Boys' ultrapackaged look and up-to-date production underscore the quality of their best tracks; only a churl could deny that "I Want It That Way" is one fine radio-aimed declaration of love, or that "Larger Than Life" makes the most of its Daft Punk sample and double-edged acknowledgment of Backstreet followers' loyalty. And who can resist an album-closer like "The Perfect Fan," Brian Littrell's ode to his mom? --Rickey Wright
Manufacturer: Warner Bros / Wea
Brand: Warner Bros
On Confessions of a Dance Floor, Madonna, the most popular and significant female artist in pop music, returns unapologetically to her roots. A stunning blend of musical styles with one foot in early disco and the other pointed toward the future, Confessions On A Dance Floor "is all about having a good time straight through and non-stop," says the Material Mom, who co-wrote and co-produced every track. For Madonna and music fans everywhere, the all-dance, no-ballad Confessions on a Dance Floor is a welcome guilty pleasure. Features the hit single 'Hung Up'. Warner. 2005. Apparently there's nothing in Kabbalah that disallows sweaty, head-spinningly good dance music, because here comes a flame-haired Madonna hawking a dozen songs' worth: Confessions on a Dance Floor darts seamlessly from Madge's early days, when she emerged as the genre's enduring darling, through the political, kiddie, and acoustic pap that drove a wedge between her and early adopters of the fingerless glove look. Songs like the pop-leaning "Jump" and first single "Hung Up"--an adrenaline drip on high that, like many of these tracks, will inspire mild shame among those who've thrilled to the much thinner disco-dusted outpourings of younger divas recently--represent both a return to form and an unmistakable march into the future. "Get Together" is a sonic freak-out in the best sense; "Push" traffics in gut-level futuristic trance; and "Forbidden Love" loops in '80s blips and bleeps for a follow-me-into-the-past effect that's both neo and retro. For all the image-affirming innovations here, though, these confessions find Madonna framed in her share of reflective moments too. "Was it all worth it/How did I earn it?" she asks on "How High," a song featuring vocoder. "Nobody's perfect/I guess I deserve it," comes the answer. A later lyrical inquiry is left for the listener to judge: "Does this get any better?" Madonna wants to know. But that opens the door to a dizzying proposition. Few of us would have guessed, after all, that it got this good. --Tam...
Random Access Memories is the new album from Daft Punk. Collaborators include Nile Rodgers, Chilly Gonzalez, Giorgio Moroder, Julian Casablancas, Pharrell Williams, Paul Williams, Todd Edwards, Panda Bear and DJ Falcon.Vinyl edition of Random Access Memories is pressed in Europe on two high quality 180 gram LPs and presented in gatefold packaging with an 8 page booklet. Download code also included.
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
Random Access Memories is the new album from Daft Punk. Collaborators include Nile Rodgers, Chilly Gonzalez, Giorgio Moroder, Julian Casablancas, Pharrell Williams, Paul Williams, Todd Edwards, Panda Bear and DJ Falcon.
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
Michael Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001 after 3 decades as the most successful solo artist in pop music history. His first studio album in 6 years, "Invincible" includes the hit singles "Rock My World" and "Cry." Includes: - Unbreakable - Heartbreaker - Invincible - Break Of Dawn - Heaven Can Wait - Rock My World - Butterflies - 2000 Watts - Shout - Don't Walk Away - Privacy - Cry - The Lost Children - Speechless - Threatened For such a boldly titled and apparently driven attempt to reinstate Michael Jackson at the center of the pop world, Invincible is a listless thing. Split between scratchy funk workouts and midtempo ballads that might have appeared as Bad B-sides, the album plays on and on while never seriously promoting dancing or romancing. Its handful of weird moments--the resurrection-by-tape of Biggie Smalls on the bridge of the title track, for instance--are hardly large-scale bizarre like the first disc of HIStory. The title track turns out to be hardly the rampant egofest you'd imagine; instead, its subject is a female whom Jackson cheers on. Likewise, the most ear-catching moments of the "comeback" single "You Rock My World" come with Chris Tucker's jivey introduction. Despite a debt to "Payback"-era James Brown, "Rock" floats away like steam midway through. It's almost a relief when the old self-regard turns up: on the growling "Privacy," Jackson rants about muckrakers "stalking" him in search of "the stories you need to bury me," all this long after foundering divas and troubled boy-group members have replaced him on tabloid covers. The man may occasionally break away from the mirror but seems unsure where else to find inspiration. --Rickey Wright
Sweden's biggest musical export! Included are a full 19 digitally remastered hits, most notably Dancing Queen; Take a Chance on Me; The Winner Takes It All; Waterloo; Fernando , and The Name of the Game . 76 minutes of AM bliss. Anyone looking for the key to Abba's enduring appeal should look no further than "Voulez Vous" and "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" for their answer. There was an innocence to the Swedish quartet, even when they were singing about one-night stands and the invitations to them. Gold establishes that the band, while appreciated as campy, were actually multifaceted in their execution. "S.O.S." has a raw urgency in its chorus, and "Does Your Mother Know" draws its energy from classic '50s rock & roll. Likewise, you don't have to be Priscilla to swoon over "Mamma Mia" or "Dancing Queen." And when it comes to drama, those soaring vocals on "The Winner Takes It All" turn the song into a bitter anthem of every relationship that has ever fallen apart. The much-covered "Lay All Your Love on Me" is practically epic. --Steve Gdula
Featuring the debut of Prince's first band -the Revolution, PURPLE RAIN was a concerted effort to court rock audiences. The results were overwhelmingly positive, spawning two number-1 hits When Doves Cry and Let's Go Crazy. The critics raved over the album while its music dominated the airwaves during 1983 and 1984.Certified at 13 million units by the RIAA. (2/01) Maybe this music by Prince & the Revolution will never quite sound as, well, revolutionary as it did in 1984 (and nothing else has ever sounded like the extraordinary cooing and fluttering of "When Doves Cry"), but it's a pop landmark in Prince's Artist-ic career. The hit movie was really just a big-screen showcase for Prince to perform these songs (some of them in tear-the-roof-off "live" versions set in a Minneapolis club). I don't know why that warped sermonette introduces "Let's Go Crazy" (one thing you've got to love about Prince: he's always been weird), but somehow I'm glad it's there. Other highlights include the sexual scorcher "Darling Nikki" (with its crazy backwards coda) and that anthemic title tune. Don't you miss Wendy and Lisa, too? --Jim Emerson
Manufacturer: Rhino/Warner Bros.
This is the "greatest hits" album we've been waiting for: all of Prince's biggest hits packed onto one disc. Arguably the most influential artist of the '80s, Prince is one of the very few musicians of this or any other era to find a massive and intensely loyal audience while still being praised by critics and musical contemporaries alike for his bold experimentalism and prodigious instrumental skills. His brash, high-NRG mix of pop, rock, funk, and psychedelia picked up where Sly Stone left off, and the result was music that was revolutionary in its sonic experimentation and provocative fashion. This collection brings together the absolute best of Prince's Warner Bros. recordings - perhaps the most important recordings since the '70s - on one hit-jammed disc. Taken literally, this album's title is sure to cause endless arguments. Nothing from Dirty Mind, not a trace of the early anthem "Controversy," no "Erotic City"--no non-LP cuts at all, save some edited single versions--and a cold shoulder to the criminally out-of-print Gold Experience. Damn. As a compendium of 17 key A-sides from 1979 to 1992, however, The Very Best of Prince is (ahem) a quick-'n'-dirty review of the days when the Artist was, in the estimation of R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, one of the weirdest musicians in the Top 10. Blessed with both creative cunning and the wish to reach every listener possible, Prince revitalized rock and soul modes from the sex-crazed ("Little Red Corvette") to the cryptically spiritual ("Purple Rain"). Often he blurred lines between attitudes as surely as he did musical ones; the New Testament image of "Thieves in the Temple" became in his hands a complaint about a stolen girlfriend. Though a fine party artifact, this disc is still likely to prove too scanty even for many casual Prince fans. --Rickey Wright