Saturday, March 31, 2007

Britney Spears - Baby One More Time

Decade - 1990's

Label - Jive
Producer - Per Magnasson, Max Martine, Eric Foster White
Country - US

Tracklisting (* indicates best tracks)
1. . . . .Baby One More Time* Listen Listen
2. (You Drive Me) Crazy Listen Listen
3. Sometimes Listen Listen
4. Soda Pop Listen Listen
5. Born To Make You Happy Listen Listen
6. From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart* Listen Listen
7. I Will Be There Listen Listen
8. I Will Still Love You Listen Listen
9. Thinkin' About You Listen Listen
10. E-Mail My Heart Listen Listen
11. The Beat Goes On Listen Listen

Britney Spears - Baby One More Time (1999)

The fact this is on the list just annoys the crap out of me. It shouldn't be "1001 albums that may potentially have influenced even worse artists to copy this already pretty shit one"! Britney was popular, no one is doubting that, but she only had SOME influence over a genre that was already strong. If she is included, then what about New Kids on the Block and Take That, who both heavily influenced the pop and boyband scene, with Take That pretty much ruling the european/UK pop scene in the 90's.

There's not much to review here. It's unapologetic mindles bubblebum pop. Not even great pop at that really. There are a lot of filler songs, and the best tracks ARE the singles. Britney's voice is one of the weakest of her contemporaries (at the time), and she hasn't really gotten any better.

I apologise to all the better albums who got left out because of this one! (Except The White Stripes :P)

Score - 3/10

Genre - Pop

Recommended? No

Rufus Wainwright - Want Two

Decade - 2000's

Label: Dreamworks
Producer - Marius De Vries/Rufus Wainwright
Country - USA

Tracklisting (* indicates best tracks)

1. Agnus Dei* Listen Listen
2. The One You Love** Listen Listen
3. Peach Trees Listen Listen
4. Little Sister Listen Listen
5. The Art Teacher* Listen Listen
6. Hometown Waltz Listen Listen
7. This Love AFfair Listen Listen
8. Gay Messiah Listen Listen
9. Memphis Skyline* Listen Listen
10. Waiting For A Dream Listen Listen
11. Crumb By Crumb Listen Listen
12. Old Whore's Diet

Rufus Wainwright - Want Two (2004)

Like Leonard Cohen, Rufus is another songwriter I have only listened to sporadically, never full albums. A shame I now think, because this is a pretty solid album with some nice, surprising highs.

Rufus is a 34 year old Canadian-American singer/songwriter who has been involved with music since he was a tiny tot. This is his latest album (another due out this year I think) out of his five solo LPs.

Lets start with his voice. I can understand why people wouldn't like it, because it has a rather harsh tone to it (and this accounts for his unemotional rendition of Hallelujah - in my opinion of course), but I really enjoyed it. His voice is expressive, uses vibrato quite traditionally but still has a far more emotionally believable edge than someone like Scott Walker. He tends to mutter sometimes but given that my favourite artist is Thom Yorke, I'm not going to quibble with that am I? After 12 tracks I was kind of hoping he'd vary his vocal style a bit more, but no. Maybe a tiny bit more vulnerability too, he always sounds kind of sardonic rather than sensitive even when he needs to be.

As for the songs, the album is a bit up and down. There are definite stand outs. The One You Love has a highly addictive melody and the frank, clever lyrics work well within the very radio friendly tune. The Art Teacher is typical of the dark, bitter sweet edge to the album, and his arrangement on Memphis Skyline (written about Jeff Buckley) is very effective, the last minute being the best 60 seconds on the album.

Some of the songs are just downright mediocre to me though - Peach Trees, Little Sister and Hometown Waltz. These tracks just seem to plod along.

Overall, strong album and I'm a sucker for his tendency to use strings and overdone arrangements.

Score - 8/10

Genre - Baroque Pop

Recommended - Yes