MLK Fever

Bill O'Reilly, we salute you, now please give us all our frankincense and myrrh back

TIMBALAND & MAGOO
Under Construction Part II
(Blackground/Universal)

Good thing the two rappers have less personality combined than any of their 10-cameo-artists-in-16-tracks, because person- ality would distract from the beats, which with Timbo means what it says—no mainstream DJ relies so heavily on rhythm instruments per se. His sweetener of choice is chants—Tim, Mag, & Attitude re-singing Peter, Paul & Mary's "Leaving on a Jet Plane," Actual South Asian Person Raje Shwari softening a unison mutter of "That Sh** Ain't Gonna Work"—that cloy only with the standard-issue femme hooks toward the end (sure we miss Aaliyah, but Brandy makes it worse). Magoo's best line: "I don't own a plane or yacht or eat squid." Tim's (to Shwari, not Magoo): "I can't understand a word you're saying." A MINUS


Dud of the Month

LIL JON & THE EAST SIDE BOYZ
Kings of Crunk
(TVT)

Buried on this cruddy album is a great gimmick half perfected on the climactic "Get Low": oi anthems gone south, crude and compelling unison chants about flexing muscle in a club where another clique does something you don't like, such as breathe. Socially retrograde, but so was tango, and Lil's namesake Elton beat him to the theme by three decades. What's truly retrograde is the rapping—when Too Short takes a turn you'd think Rakim had dropped in from paradise—and the pimp shit eaten by boy-toy-for-hire Oobie and bull mackstress Chyna Whyte. As if in illustration, this version of "Get Low" includes an indistinct verse about stupid bitches poppin' pussy on a pole. It's omitted from both remixes on the new Part II. They knew what to do. Now you do too. C


Additional Consumer News

HONORABLE MENTION

BLINK-182
(Geffen)

Mature enough to understand how vulnerable youth is, but not how grueling maturity is ("Feeling This," "Go").

YING YANG TWINS
Me & My Brother
(TVT)

Way more fun than most bitch-ass motherfuckers ("Calling All Zones," "Hanh!").

ROBERT CRAY
Time Will Tell
(Sanctuary)

"Real" bluesman or not, he writes subtler songs than blues boosters can hear ("Up in the Sky," "Survivor").

JAY-Z
The Black Album
(Roc-A-Fella)

Raps like a legend in his own time—namely, Elvis in Vegas ("99 Problems," "My 1st Song").

PINK
Try This
(Arista)

"It's people like us who make me sick" —well said, and a bad sign ("Humble Neighborhoods," "Save My Life").

LIL JON & THE EAST SIDE BOYZ
Part II
(TVT)

'Hood shit slammin', 'ho shit damnin' ("Get Low Remix," "Get Low Merengue Mix").

STEW
Something Deeper Than These Changes
(Smile)

Selling metaphor to Volkswagens galore ("Kingdom of Drink," "Mind the Noose and Fare Thee Well").

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE MUSIC OF HAITI
(World Music Network import)

Hinting pokily at soukous, merengue, and son, a compas guide lifts all too decisively when Boukman comes on the set (Boukman Eksperyans, "Baron"; Coupé Cloué, "Gacon Bôzô").

THE SHINS
Oh, Inverted World
(Sub Pop)

Pretty is hard, but that doesn't make it signify ("Weird Divide," "New Slang").

THE POSTAL SERVICE
Give Up
(Sub Pop)

Sad, smart tune-seeker humanizes glitch tech-pop ("Brand New Colony," "Nothing Better").

THE DARKNESS
Permission to Land
(Atlantic)

They mean their hard-rock candy and Mercury posing, but they also mean their readme sheet and their funniest heroin song ever ("Givin' Up," "Friday Night").

LIVING COLOUR
Collideoscope
(Sanctuary)

Hard 'n' conscious guitar 'n' bass ("Back in Black," "A ? of When").

DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL
A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar
(Vagrant)

His band, plus maybe his numbers, hone the jagged edge off his desperation ("Hands Down," "Carry This Picture").


Choice Cuts

CLEM SNIDE
"Mike Kalinsky,"
A Beautiful EP
(SpinArt)

BIZ MARKIE
"Tear Shit Up,"
Weekend Warrior
(Tommy Boy)

STEPHIN MERRITT
"Dreams Anymore,"
Pieces of April
(Nonesuch)

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
"Almost Crimes (Radio Kills Remix)"
You Forgot It in People
(Arts & Crafts)

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
"We Looked Like Giants"
Transatlanticism
(Barsuk)


Duds

DAVID BANNER
Mississippi The Album
(SRC/Universal)

DAVID BANNER
MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water
(SRC/Universal)

DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL
The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
(Vagrant)

EBAN & CHARLEY
(Merge)

EELS
Shootenanny!
(DreamWorks)

ALICIA KEYS
The Diary of Alicia Keys
(J)

LONESTAR
Greatest Hits
(BNA)

STELLASTARR*
(RCA)

JOSS STONE
The Soul Sessions
(S-Curve)

THURSDAY
War All the Time
(Island)

Honorable Mention and Choice Cuts in order of preference.


Addresses

Absolutely Kosher, 1412 10th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710-1512, absolutelykosher.com; Definitive Jux, 451 Greenwich Street, NYC 10014, definitivejux.net; HighTone, 220 4th Street #101, Oakland, CA 94607, hightone.com; Ninja Tune, 1751 Richardson, suite 4501, Montreal PQ, Canada H3K 1G6, ninjatune.net; Sanctuary, 369 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017, sanctuarygroup.com; Smile, 11410 Aqua Vista Street, Studio City, CA 91604, image-entertainment.com; Sub Pop, P.O. box 20645, Seattle, WA 98102, subpop.com; Thought Wizard, mrlif.com; TVT, 23 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003, tvtrecords.com; World Music Network, 6 Abbeville Mews, 88 Clapham Park Road, London SW4 7BX, England, post@worldmusic.net

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