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Culture Notable CDs

Notable CDs

Notable CDs

Five new or recent bellwhether releases reviewed by Arsenio Orteza

The psychedelic aural haze through which Animal Collective's singing fights to be heard not only renders many of their lyrics unintelligible but also makes them seem beside the point. They're not. (See this album's page at Between the extremes of feeling guilty about onanism ("Guys Eyes") and of relishing the pleasures in being a loving husband and father ("My Girls"), there exists a noble if not quite successful struggle to verbalize harmless if not necessarily healthy emotions. But it's the aural haze that has the last word.

The E.N.D.

"In a multitude of words," goes the Proverb, "there wanteth not sin," so perhaps it's inevitable that these rapidly rapping southern Californians besmirch 10 of this album's 15 songs with language reflecting their lack of maturity or intelligence or both. (Four wouldn't pass muster with the FCC.) And it's a shame: The music is very catchy. "Now Generation" is even wise. When Carrie Prejean said recently that she was a big Black Eyed Peas fan, she just meant she was glad their manager had slugged Perez Hilton.

Man Overboard

With Man Overboard, the erstwhile Mott the Hoople frontman becomes the first major rocker to release an album as a septuagenarian. He doesn't sound it. Instead, Hunter seems to have tapped an autumnal wellspring. True, in "Arms and Legs" he sees a "ghostly shadow of a man" in the mirror, but in the next track, "Up and Running," he's up and running. The primarily acoustic instrumentation and Hunter's increasingly raspy pipes suggest early Rod Stewart more than vintage Mott. But early Rod Stewart was really quite good.

Now That's What I Call Music! 31

Like the movies aimed at the same demographic, these 20 songs for adolescents are big on computer-generated camouflage and double entendres (Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," Britney Spears' "If You See Amy"), the better to sneak their raunch onto airwaves and these hits collections into Wal-Mart. Like pro wrestlers, the performers use edgy pseudonyms to maintain the illusion that what they're selling is larger than life. And, like the wrestling, the result is often overkill. Armando Pérez would almost certainly get more ladies if he didn't call himself Pitbull.


Two camps have formed in response to Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison (Capitol/EMI). Camp One wishes it had been either a hits collection or a multi-disc overview instead of a mixture of both, and that its sequencing made more sense. Camp Two says Harrison's catalog oozes greatness no matter how you slice it. Some in both camps have questioned the need for three Harrison-sung Beatles songs from The Concert for Bangladesh when the ex-Beatle had abundant solo work to choose from.

About the inclusion of 1985's "I Don't Want to Do It," a luminous and long-unavailable Bob Dylan cover from the Porky's Revenge soundtrack, there has been no debate. And, haphazard sequencing notwithstanding, the tunefulness seldom lets up. But Let It Roll is Harrison's third best-of, and Camp One had every reason to expect it to be definitive. Instead, its mix of hits, misses, redundancies, and obscurities makes it seem like a teaser for a forthcoming box set.