By Seth Colter Walls
By Brett Koshkin
By Spencer Wilking
By Christina Black
By Calum Marsh
By J. Pablo
By Phillip Mlynar
By Jenna Sauers
"Bohemian Like You"
A rhapsody about pretending to be "bohemian" (whatever that means at this point, whatever it evermeant) in order to get laid by a girl who thinks she is. More snideness would have defeated the purpose, and "Monkey Man" congas and Some Girls hoo-hoo-hoos and thick "Brown Sugar" guitar come in and level the slacker singing anyway. He pledges to cook you something natural, wonders why that poor shlub you always make sleep on the couch never gets bent about it. If there were a couple of couches, like in Beck's "Loser," he could occupy the loveseat.
"Unemployed Boyfriend" on Everclear's new album is a more articulate stating of "Bohemian Like You" 's cynically horny theme, but "A.M. Radio" is where Art Alexakis really stakes his claim as grunge's first grumpy old man. "The VCR and the DVD/There wasn't none of that crap back in 1970/We didn't know about a World Wide Web/There was a whole different game being played back when I was a kid": Just take those old records off the shelf, he'll sit and listen to 'em by himself. He's turning diary pages, looking back at the years go by like so many summer fields. When he was 17, it was a very good year for small-town girls and soft summer nights and cruising around dazed and confused in his sister's Pinto, dreaming Jimmy Page would come to Santa Monica and teach him to play. Neo-Luddite lo-fi fuzziness builds into hyped-up go! go! go! moondog energy, oddly appropriate for the amplitude modulation that taught Art everything he needs to know. And just in case you think sampling's some newfangled invention, "electronic transmission and tape recordings" reproduce kids' voices begging Mom to turn on Chico and the Manor Good Timesand also reproduce Jean Knight "Mr. Big Stuff" beats and disco whistles, even though Art never liked disco, which hasn't stopped Everclear from growing into a damn decent dance combo lately. On the album, when "A.M. Radio" ends, "Brown Eyed Girl" emerges out of the airwave ether, and the band croons along.
L.L. COOL J
(Def Jam) Mr. Big Dick (sorry, Schoolly), here's who he thinks he is: Though no one is wrong to believe this Penthouse Forumrole-playing equals L.L. spinning his wheels, his latest sexcapade is still a less irritating rap ballad than "Going Back to Cali" and a more entertaining one than "I Need Love." The limo-fuck and threesome fantasies are pretty pro forma, and the bit where he puts your office Xerox machine to use would make more sense if he didn't waste the handcuffs on your boss. But that descending rocket of synth at the start flashes you back to the Sweet's "Fox on the Run," and the guy's quite talented at describing his subjects' wardrobes, and his schoolgirl scenario has a more jailbait-bumpin' lover's-rock riddim than when Sting sang "Don't Stand So Close to Me." The unshaved instructor doesn't start to shake and cough like the old man in that book by Nabokov, either, but L.L. does work in The Iliadand The Odyssey. Watch out Hoku and Jessicasometimes it's not so easy to be the teacher's pet.
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