By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
TIMBALAND & MAGOO
Under Construction Part II
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 saysno mainstream DJ relies so heavily on rhythm instruments per se. His sweetener of choice is chantsTim, 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
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 rappingwhen Too Short takes a turn you'd think Rakim had dropped in from paradiseand 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
Mature enough to understand how vulnerable youth is, but not how grueling maturity is ("Feeling This," "Go").
YING YANG TWINS
Me & My Brother
Way more fun than most bitch-ass motherfuckers ("Calling All Zones," "Hanh!").
Time Will Tell
"Real" bluesman or not, he writes subtler songs than blues boosters can hear ("Up in the Sky," "Survivor").
The Black Album
Raps like a legend in his own timenamely, Elvis in Vegas ("99 Problems," "My 1st Song").
"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
'Hood shit slammin', 'ho shit damnin' ("Get Low Remix," "Get Low Merengue Mix").
Something Deeper Than These Changes
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").
Oh, Inverted World
Pretty is hard, but that doesn't make it signify ("Weird Divide," "New Slang").
THE POSTAL SERVICE
Sad, smart tune-seeker humanizes glitch tech-pop ("Brand New Colony," "Nothing Better").
Permission to Land
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").
Hard 'n' conscious guitar 'n' bass ("Back in Black," "A ? of When").
A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar
His band, plus maybe his numbers, hone the jagged edge off his desperation ("Hands Down," "Carry This Picture").
A Beautiful EP
"Tear Shit Up,"
Pieces of April
BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
"Almost Crimes (Radio Kills Remix)"
You Forgot It in People
(Arts & Crafts)
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
"We Looked Like Giants"
Mississippi The Album
MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water
The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
EBAN & CHARLEY
The Diary of Alicia Keys
The Soul Sessions
War All the Time
Honorable Mention and Choice Cuts in order of preference.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org