September 17, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 11  

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Troubled bad girls, Outkasts and creepy Clay

the single guy
By Brian Wong

The Distillers:
"Drain the Blood"

Following the break-up from her husband Tim Armstrong of Rancid, the new Brody Dalle bounces right back with the first single from The Distillers' upcoming Coral Fang disc (due Oct. 14). The vocals are everything we love about Brody ã hoarse, punk-rock growling meets low, bruised and sexy drawls emitted from one woman in punch-drunk hate. But then there's the surprisingly grave harmonized midway point that leads to the repeated closing line, "He's gone away," that makes the track less about seething rage and more about sombreness.


With her last effort, Pink was so desperate to prove herself a rock 'n' roller that the results were just unconvincing. A song about being a hazard to herself? A song about pills? A song about her bad childhood? Please. It's about time Pink made good on the punk-rock that her outfits and hairstyle suggest, so what does she do? Enlist the newly single Tim Armstrong (see above) to lend his talent for writing catchy three-chord ditties on her next record, tentatively titled Try This. On this first single, a simple chorus ("I'm trouble! Yeah, trouble now! I'm in trouble, y'all!") accented by rollicking riffs is broken up by two bridges of '60s-style California-pop decorated with sparkling glockenspiel. Easily her best single yet.

"Operate"/"Shake Yer Dix"

Already the queen of the nu-electro scene, the Canadian-born, Berlin-based Merril Nisker is set to release another collection of raunchy, Casio-beat-based ditties under the double-entendre moniker Peaches. It may be hard to beat now-classic songs like "Lovertits" and "Fuck the Pain Away," but the two-song EP that features tracks from the upcoming Fatherfucker album (out next Tuesday) looks promising ã and promiscuous. Under some sparse and menacing Neptunes-like hip-hop backdrops, Peaches's almost spoken-word purr sings about a guy's eyes rolling to the back of his head on "Operate," dancing that fine line between sex and death, while synth-stomp "Shake Yer Dix" is a call for boys to do just that ã and in the name of equal opportunity, the girls are instructed to shake their tits. And if you thought Peaches would never get her ass out of the underground, look for her to contribute a rap to Pink's record (see above).

"The Way You Move"/"Hey Ya"

The new Outkast album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (out next Tuesday) is a double-disc affair ã one disc of Big Boi's tunes, one of Dre's ã and the first singles, one from each member of the quirky Southern hip-hop duo, are exemplary of the word "contrast." Big Boi's "The Way You Move" contains his trademark ten-word-a-second rapping over a simple synth-clap and a smooth Philly-soul chorus punctuated by a feisty brass section ã it's sexy stuff, but not quite as compelling as Dre's "Hey Ya," an oddball big-beat country song that meshes Dre's defiant and whiny singing voice, new-wave electronics, acoustic guitar, handclapping and the kitchen sink. Completely insane!

Clay Aiken:

There's little doubt the music on Aiken's upcoming debut (released whenever), is going to be a hot, stinkin' pile of Adult Contemporary schmaltz - think Michael Bolton; think every Disney theme song; think (shudder) Jon Secada. But for this first single I'm going to give Clay a little credit for the creepy chorus: "If I was invisible/Then I could just watch you in your room." Kind of "Every Breath You Take" voyeuristic, isn't it? Then there are the religious undertones of the invisible being watching us... then we'd have to consider whether God is a voyeur... then we'd have to consider why we're looking so deep into the lyrics of a song by CLAY AIKEN.



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