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  Listen Up! 4/30/03 Listen Up!

Wednesday, Apr. 30

Madonna, ďAmerican Life,Ē Maverick Recording Company. Itís Madonna, so I have to give it another shot, but on first listen, Iím disappointed. The title track tries hard to make some sort of ironic statement about wealth and, well, Iím not sure what else. There are a lot of references to Jesus, though always in the past tense, as in something she used to believe in. Thereís a song about parents. There arenít a lot of immediately enticing hooks, the melodies donít jump out at me, and the beats are a little obtuse. Actually, the beats may be the best way to get into this, so Iíll try concentrating on them next time. Madonna has defied expectations so many times in her career, I shouldnít be surprised that this one doesnít meet mine the first time I hear it.

Amy Rigby, ďTil the Wheels Fall Off,Ē Signature Sounds Recording Company. Rigbyís lyrics are always clever, funny, and insightful. I canít hear them here at work, so Iím just assuming theyíre still that way. Her melodies arenít exactly original, but they are bright and bouncy and catchy enough to carry those words. Her singing is probably her weakest link, but Iíve grown used to it over the years, so that wavering voice doesnít bother me. This record seems better than the last couple were, a little bit more developed, a little more range in the melodic approach.

Lewis Black, ďThe End of the Universe,Ē Stand Up! Records. Hey, itís another asshole macho comic making jokes about how NíSync is gay whether they know it or not, and how Britney Spears makes him want to put a spoon up his ass because if heís gonna be in that kind of pain, he wants it to be self-inflicted. Ooh! Heís so outrageous. Look, I can be outrageous, too. Lewis Black, youíre a dumb fuck!

Lionel Hampton, ďRevisited,Ē Fuel 2000. This compilation seems to be all over the place, which is pretty much fine with me. Hampton swings, Hampton chugs, Hampton engages in reverie, Hampton has the blues. Itís all great fun.

--Steve Pick

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