Volume 93, Issue 51

Tuesday, November 30, 1999


Toy Story 2goes to infinity and beyond

Script problems hasten End of Days' demise

Big Shiny gives what you expect

Big Shiny gives what you expect

Various Artists
Big Shiny Tunes 4

Ladies and gentlemen, just in time for the holidays, once again, we have MuchMusic's Big Shiny Tunes collection – a sampling of songs which have been played ad nauseam since the beginning of the summer.

Despite the overplay suffered by each of the selections, compilations such as these are money in the bank for their makers, offering consumers the chance to pick up the year's most popular songs in one easy purchase. Anyone who knows this and buys Big Shiny Tunes 4 accepts its status as a predictable Top 40 montage shouldn't be disappointed.

Highlights of the album include "Let Forever Be" by The Chemical Brothers, featuring Noel Gallagher on vocals, Orgy's version of "Blue Monday," Matthew Good Band's "Hello Time Bomb" and Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba." The only song on the disc which was previously unavailable is the excellent Econoline Crush offering, "You Don't Know What It's Like."

However, since every song on the collection has been extremely successful, tracks such as the Goo Goo Dolls' "Slide," Fatboy Slim's "Praise You" and Silverchair's "Anthem For The Year 2000" may seem like overkill.

That said, the Big Shiny Tunes franchise will always succeed because it gives listeners exactly what they want – popular music. You can't really argue with that.

–Terry Warne

Stone Temple Pilots
No. 4

While the DeLeo brothers and drummer Eric Kretz experimented with a solo project called Talkshow, frontman Scott Weiland completed his rehabilitation for an addiction to heroin and also made a solo album.

The band hasn't played together in almost three years, so it's fair to say the latest Stone Temple Pilots release comes at a questionable time for the group. Despite the pitfalls, however, STP has once again delivered an impressive effort.

No.4 is a sonic masterpiece – everything an STP fan should expect from the group. All of the elements fall into place. Robert DeLeo plucks out his Zeppelin-esque bass lines, his brother Dean plays guitar at the top of his game, Kretz and the jailbird Weiland live up to expectations.

This is STP's most diverse work to date. It's eclectic sound spans from rock to punk to ballads, all of them sung with the authentic conviction of Weiland's world-weary voice.

The highlights of No.4 are too many to mention, although on the list of most impressive tracks sits "Atlanta," "Sex & Violence" and "MC5." Most notably, "Atlanta" is a rolling acoustic rock number which invokes images of a classic rock yesteryear.

This album is highly recommended to any STP fan, as well as to any non-fan looking for a promising primer.

Although many critics may have wondered if Weiland's drug use would hamper the band's ability to create a great album, judging from this solid effort, the only thing the drugs have cost the band is a new tour.

–Jared Gutstadt

Metallica & San Francisco Symphony
S & M

It is neither sadistic nor masochistic, yet with S & M, the boys in black with Michael Kamen conducting the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, inflict a great deal of pain which produces nothing but pleasure.

With a 100 piece ensemble behind them, Metallica delivers powerful renditions of some of their notable classics, proving once and for all they are the true masters of rock.

One aspect of S & M's dominance lies in its brutal honesty. This album is not about changing the timeless songs Metallica fans have come to love, but instead is about extracting, harbouring and finally unleashing the true essence which manifests itself within the band's songwriting.

Kamen, who has performed with other bands such as Pink Floyd, not only understands Metallica, but crawls inside their world. The effect of this commitment is a unity which establishes a zenith between rock and orchestral music.

The dominance of S & M is also a tribute to Metallica's idiosyncrasies. Metallica has always done things their way – a true testament of a band devoted to the pursuit of developing and perfecting the art of songwriting and performance.

S & M plays an integral part in this pursuit, not only through the celebration of old songs, but also through the introduction of two previously unreleased numbers. "No Leaf Clover" and "-Human" embody the esteemed force of classic Metallica and the new bravado this latest avenue has surrendered.

–Jeff Warren

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Copyright The Gazette 1999