Manufacturer: Wind-up Records
Evanescence - Fallen - Cd The Daredevil soundtrack provided a nice boost for this previously unknown quartet from Little Rock, Arkansas. Evanescenceâ€™s songs "My Immortal" and the imposing "Bring Me to Life" are clear standouts in the film, mainly because they work so well with the dramatic, eerie undertones of the storyline. They reappear here on the bandâ€™s debut, alongside a selection of similarly brooding tracks that evoke pensive artists like Tori Amos and the Cranberries. Vocalist Amy Lee has the kind of voice that can cause weeks of insomnia, but on songs like "Tourniquet" and "Haunted" she belies the musicâ€™s sinister mood with evenhanded spirituality, thoughtfully letting some light shine through the tempest. --Aidin Vaziri
Manufacturer: Warner Bros.
Brand: Warner Bros
When the first track from a band's debut album gets added to major rock stations four weeks before its official release, it must be something very special. That's the case with "One Step Closer" from Linkin Park's first album, Hybrid Theory. Built on an aggressive hard rock foundation, flavored with hip-hop vocal stylings and electronic fourishes, as melodic as it is confrontational, with a strong lyrical message, Linkin Park is diverse and unique. It's also one step closer to scoring an important debut album - and that's not just theory.Certified Multi-Platinum (8 times) by the RIAA. (4/02) It may be too cynical to assume Hybrid Theory changed its name to Linkin Park in order to appear right next to Limp Bizkit in your local record bin. But rock-rap workouts like "One Step Closer" and "Papercut" do make Linkin Park a comfortable fit with Fred Durst and his ilk. Producer Don Gilmore (Pearl Jam, Lit, Eve 6) and twin vocal threats Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda serve up industrial-strength rap and rock melodicism with equal aplomb on this woulda-been-self-titled debut effort. "Points of Authority" aims to sound like Trent Reznor wanking it up with Lars and company, whereas guitarist Brad Delson's Edge-y harmonics help "In the End" and "Pushing Me Away" evoke a dark romanticism akin to A Perfect Circle. Curiously, the band gets by with no bass player, while sample-happy DJ Joseph Hahn's step into the spotlight on the instrumental "Cure for the Itch" suggests a potential for eclecticism that could help Linkin Park outlive its seemingly transient genre. --Bill Forman
Manufacturer: Warner Bros.
Brand: Warner Bros
Meteora, the follow-up album of the new material to Linkin Park's phenomenal eight-times-platinum-in-the-United-States (international sales approaching 6 million) debut album, Hybrid Theory, promises to be one of the most important albums of the year. A deluxe 40-page booklet accompanies the Enhanced CD presented in a Digipak. Linkin Parkâ€™s second studio effort (not counting the 2002 remix album Reanimation) overflows with glossy production values and Big Rock oomph, fully embracing the pop instincts of their Hybrid Theory debut. For many, Theory sounded inexcusably corporate, from its too-timely rap-rock sound to the long list of product endorsements included in the liner notes. Meteora will only amplify those complaints, but this album is actually truer to the bandâ€™s nature. Itâ€™s still impossible not to hear strains of Limp Bizkit, Korn, Rage Against the Machine, and the like. None of those acts, howeve, would try something as blatantly anthemic as "Easier to Run," which would sound fine to a Def Leppard fan, or as borderline danceable as "Breaking the Habit" and "Session." Linkin Park is what Trent Reznor was always afraid of becoming, but if you ever wished he would drop the pretenses and just make a hair-metal record, you'll find Meteora to your liking. --Matthew Cooke
LIMP BIZKIT SIGNIFICANT OTHER Florida-bred metal-rappers Limp Bizkit sold a million-plus records of their debut largely on the strength of a George Michael cover song. But the band indeed had "Faith" and the group's second outing proves that the Bizkit have the goods. Still, it seems as if boastful frontman Fred Durst is loading the band's deck again, this time by including scads of guest vocalists, such as Stone Temple Pilots' singer Scott Weiland, Method Man from Wu-Tang Clan, and Korn's Jonathan Davis. (In fact, Korn gave Limp Bizkit a leg up in the industry.) But the 16 diverse yet cohesive tracks on Significant Other don't need any help. Not as heavy as their mentors Korn--or as they are on their debut--Bizkit give Everlast a run for his money on the tuneful and appealing "Rearranged." "Just Like This" is another winning hip-hop and rock entry, while the amusing and memorable "Nookie" (as in "I did it all for the nookie") has self-deprecating lyrics not unlike the Offspring's "Self-Esteem." Bizkit segues with ease from pleasing rock and hip-hop amalgam to spooky Tool territory on "Don't Go Off Wandering" to moshable moments in the entreaty "Show Me What You Got." Significant Other may be hard to categorize, but it's easy to like. --Katherine Turman
While Blink-182's pop-punk has given more than its share of entertaining moments over their career, "sonic experimentation" is hardly what you'd expect from their sixth studio album. Within their guitar-bass-drums template, however, they offer moments of playfulness and lyricism that stretch their definition of sound. The tempo changes and uses of (relative) silence in "Violence" and "Stockholm Syndrome" borrow post-punk conventions, and lend a new feel to the band's trademark cranked-upness. (The use of treated piano on the latter song also suggests that they've bent an ear to a few psychedelic-pop classics in their time.) As with 2001's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, a theme of loneliness emerges upon the first couple of listens, but this time it feels as if Blink wants to connect it to something larger than before. Growth from the guys who once jokingly celebrated man-on-dog intercourse? Yeah. And best of all, it's worth hearing. --Rickey Wright While Blink-182's pop-punk has given more than its share of entertaining moments over their career, "sonic experimentation" is hardly what you'd expect from their sixth studio album. Within their guitar-bass-drums template, however, they offer moments of playfulness and lyricism that stretch their definition of sound. The tempo changes and uses of (relative) silence in "Violence" and "Stockholm Syndrome" borrow post-punk conventions, and lend a new feel to the band's trademark cranked-upness. (The use of treated piano on the latter song also suggests that theyâ€™ve bent an ear to a few psychedelic-pop classics in their time.) As with 2001's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, a theme of loneliness emerges upon the first couple of listens, but this time it feels as if Blink wants to connect it to something larger than before. Growth from the guys who once jokingly celebrated man-on-dog intercourse? Yeah. And best of all, it's worth hearing. --Rickey Wright
BLINK 182 ENEMA OF STATE On their 1997 release, Dude Ranch, juvenile hardcore-pop band Blink 182 tickled the funny bone with an assortment of dumb sex jokes, off-color artwork, and between-song skits, including one of a dog drinking from a freshly peed in toilet. So, two years down the road, have the band matured at all? One look at the cover of Enema of the State, which features cover art of a tarted-up blonde nurse donning a rubber glove, provides the easy answer. Fortunately, Enema supports the humor with strong musicianship. The songs are more dynamic and multitempoed than those on Dude Ranch, sounding like a cross between the Descendents and Fountains of Wayne. And unlike the glut of alt-rock releases that offer one or two memorable songs, Enema is flush with instantly memorable melodies and ear-pleasing harmonies. Good, dirty fun--no more, no less. --Jon Wiederhorn
Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored ... - Li... The splicing together of nu metal, rap, funk, and sterile electronica laced with dark melodies as infectious as anything Britney has to offer inspired 6 million people to purchase copies of Limp Bizkit's Significant Other. With Chocolate Starfish, they perfect their formula. From the electro-infused "Intro" through the contagiously chugging "My Generation" to the straight-up rap of "Getcha Groove On," Chocolate Starfish is a slick, clinical, and flawless platform for Fred Durst's effortlessly savage--and occasionally unintentionally comic--sociological rants geared toward disaffected youth. Ultimately, though, it's that undeniably intelligent musical backdrop--the brooding guitar sound that gave the Mission Impossible 2 theme haunting new life and menace, and that defines "Hot Dog," "Full Nelson," "My Way," "Rollin'," "Boiler," and "It'll Be Okay"--that makes this a seething work of genius. The fact is, with rap and rock saying pretty much the same thing, Limp Bizkit have plenty of competition. They just do what they do better than everyone else. --Dan Gennoe
2X vinyl LP pressing of the British band's 2002 second album. a Rush of Blood to the Head is a soulful, exhilarating journey, moving from the cathartic rock of 'Politik' to the hushed tones of 'Green Eyes' without once breaking its mesmerizing spell. Pianist/singer/songwriter Chris Martin takes his voice on soaring flights, reaching places only Jeff Buckley previously dared to go. Four singles were released from this album Including the massive hits "Clocks" & "'The Scientist" along with "In My Place" & "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face".
BLINK 182 TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS AND JACKET Their formula is simple enough--equal parts teenage humor and brattiness combined with infectious guitar hooks that just beg to be cranked up on the stereo. But with Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, the guys in Blink 182 may have delivered their best album to date, a punk-pop fusion that's so consistent you'll wonder which of the 13 tracks will become radio hits (any has the chance, really). Yes, as with Dude Ranch and Enema of the State, the songs here revolve around falling in love ("The Rock Show," "First Date"), falling out of love ("Online Songs," "Happy Holidays, You Bastard"), and plenty of other ways to kill time while away from school ("Reckless Abandon"). And yes, these guitar-driven songs all pretty much sound the same, but Take Off never gets boring. There's too much nervous energy here, too many slight variations in the arrangements, and too many hilarious lyrics that you won't want to miss. Parents may remember that the Buzzcocks used this same shtick in the late '70s, older siblings may remember that Green Day did it well not so many years ago, but Blink fans know that their band is more clever than anyone else playing today. The bonus tracks are throwaways, but that's OK--the threesome have given us plenty to bop our heads to here. --Jason Verlinde
Manufacturer: Elektra / Wea
Brand: THIRD EYE BLIND
54 long-unavailable tracks from the tiny Chicago label that, under the guidance of in-house producer Willie Dixon, managed in its brief (1956-1958) existence to launch the recording careers of some of the biggest names in Chicago blues: Otis Rush (three takes of I Can't Quit You Baby! ), Buddy Guy and Magic Sam. Betty Everett, Ike Turner and Walter "Shakey" Horton, also appear, along with tons of alternate takes and a 20-page booklet key Chicago blues!