|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Veruca Salt not so bratty
Eddy's got good eats
Wheatus nothing but a one-hit wonder
Wheatus nothing but a one-hit wonder
Shaggy's sexy and Weakerthans shine
Long Island rockers Wheatus were fortunate to have obtained exposure from the recent movie Loser, in which their biggest hit, "Teenage Dirtbag" was showcased.
The geek-fantasy tune deserves praise and it's no surprise the track made it to number seven on Billboard Magazine's modern rock monitor. The song's unorthodox style gets the job done with its catchy pop beat and unique lyrics.
Having said that, Wheatus is likely to be a one-hit wonder, as most of the songs on this album lack appeal. While the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums are superb, lead singer Brendan B. Brown's voice leaves much to be desired. His nasal intoning gets annoying after only a few songs, while the unsophisticated lyrics are difficult to relate to. Unlike the great lyrical masterminds of the past decade like Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain and Gord Downie, Wheatus has failed to write intelligent lyrics.
The songs "Truffles" and "Sunshine" both display accessible rhythms and great background music. The band surprises listeners by including the sounds of the banjo and the harmonica and a cover of "Self Respect". Another song, "Hump 'Em and Dump 'Em" was written while the United States Senate was considering impeaching President Bill Clinton.
With a new lead singer, this pop-rock band could have great potential, but for now, Wheatus will remain just another one-hit wonder.
Left and Leaving
G7 Welcoming Committee
Three years after releasing their critically acclaimed debut, the Weakerthans have returned with Left and Leaving, a second, equally impressive offering.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba four-piece is the brainchild of former Propagandhi bassist, John K. Samson. Their label, G7 Welcoming Committee, aims to produce music by and for people working for radical social change. Despite a serious political bent, the Weakerthans have produced a cohesive album that would appeal to listeners in a number of different genres.
Central to the success of Left and Leaving are Samson's lyrics. He has shown himself to be an elegant wordsmith, intertwining complex images of people and places, with vivid descriptions of objects as simple as t-shirts. Far beyond his years, Samson has penned 12 examples that nicely display his writing ability.
Other standout tracks from the album include the first song, "Everything Must Go!", the wispy, Rufus Wainwright-esque, "Slips and tangles," and the gentle, heartfelt title track.
Classifying the Weakerthans is a trying exercise because the album seems to cross a number of musical boundaries. The shift from guitar-driven punk to melodic folk to soft lullabies lends the album a unique feel and offers the listener an enjoyable musical journey. This album also has a more mature, relaxed feel than their debut, indicative one would think of the band's increasing cohesion.
Left and Leaving is a sparkling album from a very promising band, who, with enough luck, will soon have their chance to shine.
Reggae artist Shaggy's personal motto is this: No matter where you go or what you do, make an impression. With his new album, Hot Shot, he does just that.
Shaggy has been a driving force in reggae music since 1993, when he hit it big with "Oh Carolina" and "Boombastic," both popularized for their upbeat, spunky sound. With Shaggy's newest release comes more of the vibrant stuff that made him famous, but he also moves across the spectrum of musical genres.
Shaggy breaks down the barriers reggae music often imposes on itself by offering the sounds of Dance, R&B, and Soul. Shaggy's fans should appreciate guest vocalists Janet Jackson, T-Lo from Next and Rayvon, whose effective collaborations soften up the sometimes hard sounds of reggae to create some highly enjoyable blends.
Although Shaggy combines styles well, his lyrics lack originality. His songs often speak of love, as the track title "Lonely Lover" suggests. Sex permeates the lyrics as well, as in the seductive "Leave it to Me" and "Freaky Girl."
Despite the redundancy of his lyrics, Shaggy manages to create a sultry mood and mixes it with a catchy and unique sound. But this album is guaranteed to make you move, with tracks perfect for just sitting back.
Shaggy succeeds in offering an energetic and dynamic form of reggae music. Hotshot is an album that stirs up beats, rhythms and genres to create something everyone can enjoy.