ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Shania single just a pretty song
the single guy
by brian wong
Mary J. Blige feat. Eve: "Not Today"
Sure, it's another song about scrubs, "tellin' lies" and "playin' games," but when you team the queen of hip-hop soul with Eve who, on this track, sounds as angry and abrasive as Eminem, you get one of the hottest urban collaborations this year. The song (from Blige's Love & Life disc) comes off so effortlessly that you wonder why no one thought of this earlier. Using a "Billie Jean" beat and a syncopated staccato string line, the simple backing track allows the pair to carry the song as they deliver scorching vocal lines about being burned by their men time after time - but not today.
Shania Twain: "She's Not Just a Pretty Face"
Our dear Shania has also had her share of women anthems, but the fourth single from the overly perky-titled Up! isn't the stadium romper that "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" was, nor does it have the pizzazz of the cheeky "If You Wanna Touch Her, Ask!" Maybe the problem is that "She's Not Just a Pretty Face" doesn't have a song title overdosed on Prozac. But maybe the problem is also that this ode to the brains behind the beauty just sucks, as Twain simply lists off women filling different roles on our green earth. Tell us something we don't know, Shania.
A Perfect Circle: "The Outsider"
A Perfect Circle tackling Camus - it almost seems too obvious. But if a modern rock band is going to use The Outsider as a song subject, I'm glad it's Maynard James Keenan and the boys, and not, say, Default or some other shitty band. Instead of glorifying the lonely, woe-is-me outcast other "dark" rock acts are prone to do, the band turn this dynamic, hookless, post-angst rocker into a rant against suicide as Keenan growls, "Why do you wanna throw it away like this?" (from Thirteenth Step).
Signed to Matador, these six lads from Nottingham are sure to be Britain's next championed band when they release this first single off their full-length debut Lay of the Land - out early next year. The five-and-a-half-minute track is as darkly melodic and dour as The Dears, relying on a gloomy wall of distortion, doomed guitar lines, chugging drums and wailing feedback. (MP3 available at www.matadorrecords.com/seachange/music.html)