ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Nelly and Missy win the race
the single guy
By Brian Wong
Music's other Nelly makes her long-awaited return with a surprising
country-dance song that's as joyous as Alanis' "So Pure." No
joke! The first single from her upcoming Folklore disc (Nov.
25) begins innocently enough with some laid-back, bossanova-style
guitar strumming. But then a thumping dance beat kicks in!
And then a frenetic banjo enters! Furtado's vocals are in top
form - almost like those of feisty Natalie Maines of the Dixie
Chicks - as she muses, "'Cause this life is too short/To live
it just for you." It would have been the perfect Blackout 2003
"Pass That Dutch"
Fresh off her MTV Video Music Awards victory, Missy Elliott
will release her fifth record This is Not a Test (Nov. 25).
There's even one part on this kooky first single in which a
breathless Elliott cries, "Oh, thank you! You all are so wonderful!" to
the sounds of a cheering crowd. It's not as instantly classic
as "Work It," but its mix of deep robotic bass line, patty-cake
handclaps, tribal chants, rubbery synths and orgasmic yells
eventually makes it irresistible.
Saves the Day:
"Anywhere With You"
There's something pure about Chris Conley's voice, especially
on this Ash-like track off their latest release In Reverie.
It's a voice that's simply squeaky clean, bringing to mind
the wholesomeness of Buddy Holly, as Conley croons about a
dream girl. With muscled, distorted guitar riffs (the Weezerness
inside them), a hard-driving beat and some peppy "whoooo!" harmonies,
the song reveals their love for inoffensive '50s and '60s rock
Here's someone I wish would be more offensive. The scowling
and growling on "Are You Happy Now?" had as much vitriol as
when baby Bubbles of the Powerpuff Girls gets angry. She should
be more like dark-haired Buttercup who can pull off the girl-with-rage
act. Man, I love the Powerpuff Girls. Anyway, I'm still waiting
for Branch to snap. It's not going to happen with "Breathe" though
- the song is another catchy, watered-down anthem geared to
teeny-boppers who think they rock but really don't.
"You Raise Me Up"
Clay Aiken's biggest competition outdoes himself - if you
can even call it that. The cinematic violins, the lilting piano,
the gospel choir... Who needs church?