Not Hop, Stomp

By popular demand and professional compulsion, it's an Easter makeup (2002 albums only) for last year's thankfully averted Turkey Shoot. In this time of rejoicing, with Christ risen and men of God headed for Iraq bearing revealed truth and badly needed building materials, it may seem in poor taste to call it the Bunny Stomp. But I'd rather have blood on my feet than on my hands.


BLACK DICE
Beaches & Canyons
(DFA)
Two years ago, when they were licking broken cymbals and mixing in keyb groans from a reel-to-reel, I told my diary they reminded me of the Swans and were as likely to go classical. So who've they been listening to? Somebody tinklier than I would have figured. Elliott Carter? Stockhausen to lay some arid accessibility on your ass? "Original" of them if so, they are that. Novelty records—rock and rollers can never get enough of them. C PLUS

DIRTY VEGAS
(Capitol)
The main thing I know about Mitsubishi is that until a few years ago I couldn't rent one without upsetting the rainforest people, so I didn't. But since then it's anted up some eco-yens and gone pop by advertising a track on this deeply anonymous Britsynthpop full-length. I kept playing said full-length, expecting a big pickup four titles in. Only it never came—the whole thing got catchier, but "Days Go By" just didn't stand out like it does on TV. Maybe it's just me. On the other hand, maybe it's people who watch too much TV. C

FOO FIGHTERS
One by One
(RCA)
Poor Dave. First he was going on about he had a right to sing da grunge. Then he was going on about his wreck of a love life. Now he's going on about going on. It happens to all of 'em—most of 'em, anyway—and rockin' harder than a motherfucker won't get 'em out of it. Pretty often, rockin' harder than a motherfucker is what got 'em into it. B MINUS

FAITH HILL
Cry
(Warner Bros.)
Celine Dion comparisons are too huge to mean a damn thing, but only huge will do. Hill's singing is more "human-scale"—like the female CEO of a Birmingham-based health-maintenance operation. Her drumming rocks—like RoboCop on steroids. She's an SUV that seats five linebackers across, a radio signal that grinds the competition into static, the megabomb they'll drop on anybody who doesn't get liberated on their timetable. At this horrible moment in history, she's American overkill as popular music. One thing you can say for Dion—she's Canadian. C

I AM THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
The Tight Connection
(Kindercore)
If they changed their name, that would mean the major labels had won. Also that seekers after the dark wouldn't buy bad laptop Blondie by mistake. C

TOBY KEITH
Unleashed
(DreamWorks)
With America lighting up one too many places like the Fourth of July, I went back and tried to hate "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue" like I oughta, but it was still too pithy and heartfelt, and the album still gave up a colloquial aptness and easy masculinity I'd overlooked. But obscured by the uproar is a piece of work as immoral as "One in a Million" or "Black Korea"—no, worse. I can forgive duet partner Willie Nelson almost anything, but I'm appalled that he lent his good name to "Beer for My Horses," which not only naturalizes lynching but makes it seem like fun on a Friday night. True, the horses the mob rides evoke Hollywood westerns. Right, there is "too much corruption," though somebody should tell these yokels that "crime in the streets" dropped in the good old days when we had an economy. But the racial coding of the "gangsters" the song sends to their maker needs no explanation. And those "evil forces" who "blow up a building" ain't bomber pilots, now are they? B/E

LUDACRIS
Word of Mouf
(Def Jam South)
It was ludicrous for an employee of the Fox Network, especially a lying bully like Bill O'Reilly, to criticize anyone else for coarsening public discourse. It was amusing to watch the Britney pimps at Pepsi cave first to O'Reilly and then to Ludacris, who with the help of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network held Pepsi up for a few million to "support the arts in communities at risk," a matter in which I eagerly await the Ludacris Foundation's audited progress report. Also, he raps and rhymes with gusto, and I like his Timbaland beat so much I don't want to know how real its Glocks are. Nevertheless, he is or impersonates a no-class pimp motherfucker, and if he never reached a one of the nine-year-olds O'Reilly yammers about, he would still be coarsening public discourse. Song after song pumps the pimp theory that all women are whores. Rotate good-humored dance songs in which the best thing you say about female persons is that they crave your tallywhacker and the worst is that you'll murder them if they bother, and you'll change how real human beings of both sexes think and behave. Anyone who claims different is certainly a liar and probably a bully. B MINUS

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