Volume 94, Issue 3

Friday, June 2, 2000


Arden shows London her sensitive side

Jackie kicks serious ass

Thanks and farewell

Whitney looks back
Pearl Jam moves ahead

Who says rock requires a singer?

Whitney looks back
Pearl Jam moves ahead

Whitney Houston
The Greatest Hits
Arista Records

It was inevitable.

Fifteen years after emerging on the music scene, Whitney Houston has released a double disc "best of" collection, aptly entitled The Greatest Hits.

Disc One, entitled Cool Down, features the strong yet melodic ballads for which Houston is best known. If early hits like "Saving All My Love for You" and "Didn't We Almost Have it All" don't conjure nostalgic memories, images from The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale will certainly appear with soundtrack singles, "I Will Always Love You" and "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)."

Cool Down provides the slow favourites that flatter Houston's molasses-like vocals. They are complemented by two new duets, "Same Script, Different Cast" (with Canada's most promising diva, Deborah Cox) and "Could I have this Kiss Forever" (with Enrique Iglesias). The latter track, currently receiving solid airplay, capitalizes on the popularity of Latin flavoured rhythms while indulging Iglesias' sultry sound.

Unlike the gratifying first half of the album, the second disc, Throw Down, should instead be called Throw Out. Although it offers Houston's more upbeat classics like "I'm Every Woman" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," they're all inferior, remixed versions. This is unfortunate since the premise of an album like this is to feature the greatest hits as they were first released; altering them is like tampering with perfection.

The biggest problem is that the remixes pervert original hits to conform to some abstract understanding of current musical trends. The result is disappointing in that Houston's vocals become subjugated to a monotonous and downright annoying dance beat.

As a whole, however, the 36 tracks on The Greatest Hits, make it a diverse album. With classics, remixes and new singles, this melange features more than the standard fare for "best of" albums. If Houston fans are willing to give this compilation "One Moment in Time," they are bound to find something they enjoy.

–Rebecca Morier

Pearl Jam

It has been nearly a decade since the grunge music fad gripped the early nineties and left few survivors in its wake.

Luckily, Pearl Jam survived this explosion and its eventual fall-out. With the release of Binaural, their sixth studio album since their 1991 debut Ten, they continue to make interesting, inventive music; establishing themselves as one of the best rock bands in an otherwise saturated market.

The album opens with a series of post-punk anthems that draw listeners in with their fast pace, only to provide a musical foil with the three tracks that follow. "Nothing as it Seems," "Thin Air" and "Light Years" are possibly three of Pearl Jam's best songs.

The latter is a reserved mid-tempo ballad featuring introspective lyrics. "Nothing as it Seems" is a sonic experience that brings the listener back to the days of Pink Floyd through guitarist Mike McCready's solos. "Thin Air" presents an interesting harmony during the bridge of the song; a departure from many of the band's other songs which rely heavily on Eddie Vedder's vocals.

The album closes with the inspired sound of "Slight of Hand," a track that presents the best gauge of Pearl Jam's musical evolution with a mix of great sounds and Vedder's brooding voice.

The only disappointment on the album is "Soon Forgot," in which Vedder sings while playing the ukelele. Despite this fault, the album meshes together the confidence of Vitalogy, the lyrics of Vs. and the musical variation of No Code.

From the quality of Binaural, one can only hope Pearl Jam's next effort will match the musical and lyrical strength displayed on this album.

–Chad Thompson

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