Mine Enemy The Turkey

Add to the many things not to be thankful for this year 13 CDs that will make your gorge rise

Together We're Heavy

Granted his major-label production budget in the sky, Tim DeLaughter hones his tunes and dispels woozy comparisons to the Flaming Lips. He's on record as wondering why his collective can't have hits like the Association and the 5th Dimension. And when history batters those dreams as it will so many, he'll still have the herewithal to mount a long-running local production of Hair. Even in Dallas, America always makes room for the culture of dissent. B MINUS

Michael Dubya Smith, the earthly king of Christian rock, is worthy of your wrath.
Michael Dubya Smith, the earthly king of Christian rock, is worthy of your wrath.

Healing Rain

Dubya is the earthly king of Christian rock, returned to the pop fold after several profitable forays into the worship scene. His voice both strong and pleasant (though he's no Amy Grant), he commands an unusually detailed palette of stale CCR studio techniques ("Eagles Fly" sports a sitar). He rocks mechanically hard on songs about perseverance and aspiration that don't mention the Lord's name and sounds sad about AIDS in Africa, or maybe famine (or animism). "I Am Love" is pretty mystical, and he essays "Bridge Over Troubled Water," by the Jewish songwriter Paul Simon. In general, though, the words are not a plus. D PLUS

(BMG Strategic Marketing Group)

All I know about worship music is that it's the hottest Christian subgenre—otherwise content-free "vertical" songs of praise to the Almighty in many modern (i.e., dated, white) pop and rock styles. So this came in the mail, and with Christians on the warpath I played it, and it sounded like goop to me, but it would, wouldn't it? The $12.98 or so price for a triple-CD that would fit on two discs canceled out the all-too-redolent label name. Still, I wondered why the credits listed only composers. An Amazon post from Stephen Putt of Warren "Vacate Our Election Board, Journalistic Terrorists" Ohio put me straight: "I bought this cd at walmart. there was no indication on the cd that the songs were not sung by the original bands. I tried to return this cd at walmart and they wouldn't take it back. basically if you want a collection of worship music done by the original bands and singers. Dont buy this cd." How "naive," shot back a co-religionist who'd attended a camp run by compiler Joel Engle: "Believe it or not, the vast majority of these songs do not 'belong' to any one band, but have been written by songwriters and can be sung by anyone who gets permission." Or doesn't get permission, actually. Strategic marketers have long known that sacred truth. Just like Christian retailers know what's nine-tenths of God's law. E

Winning Days

The reason these Aussies saved neither Capitol Records nor rock and roll isn't this duff follow-up. It's their duff debut. Inferior to not just Nirvana but Oasis, led by a spoiled jerk who can't sing the lyrics he can't write, and of negligible musical interest beyond the stray hook, they demonstrated the biz's conceptual bankruptcy by parlaying a fluke hit into brief next-big-thingdom. Trash a few dressing rooms to a tune some a&r cornball can hum and you always stand a chance of convincing him you're a genius in the rough. C PLUS

Fabulous Muscles
(5 Rue Christine)

The musical parsimony, cultural insularity, moral certitude, and histrionic affectations of these lo-fi artier-than-thous promise indie ideologues whole lifetimes of egoistic irrelevance. "Why should I care if you get killed?" Jamie Stewart asks a "stupid" "jock" Iraq G.I. he makes sure remains out of earshot. He gets closer to the title sex object: "Cremate me after you come on my lips honey boy." But somehow one doubts things will end so exquisitely. C

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