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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2002 | Interscope

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Beck has always been known for his ever-changing moods -- particularly since they often arrived one after another on one album, sometimes within one song -- yet the shift between the neon glitz of Midnite Vultures and the lush, somber Sea Change is startling, and not just because it finds him in full-on singer/songwriter mode, abandoning all of the postmodern pranksterism of its predecessor. What's startling about Sea Change is how it brings everything that's run beneath the surface of Beck's music to the forefront, as if he's unafraid to not just reveal emotions, but to elliptically examine them in this wonderfully melancholy song cycle. If, on most albums prior to this, Beck's music was a sonic kaleidoscope -- each song shifting familiar and forgotten sounds into colorful, unpredictable combinations -- this discards genre-hopping in favor of focus, and the concentration pays off gloriously, resulting in not just his best album, but one of the greatest late-night, brokenhearted albums in pop. This, as many reviews and promotional interviews have noted, is indeed a breakup album, but it's not a bitter listen; it has a wearily beautiful sound, a comforting, consoling sadness. His words are often evocative, but not nearly as evocative as the music itself, which is rooted equally in country-rock (not alt-country), early-'70s singer/songwriterism, and baroque British psychedelia. With producer Nigel Godrich, Beck has created a warm, enveloping sound, with his acoustic guitar supported by grand string arrangements straight out of Paul Buckmaster, eerie harmonies, and gentle keyboards among other subtler touches that give this record a richness that unveils more with each listen. Surely, some may bemoan the absence of the careening, free-form experimentalism of Odelay, but Beck's gifts as a songwriter, singer, and musician have never been as brilliant as they are here. As Sea Change is playing, it feels as if Beck singing to you alone, revealing painful, intimate secrets that mirror your own. It's a genuine masterpiece in an era with too damn few of them. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released September 29, 2009 | Interscope

Distinctions 3F de Télérama - Sélection Les Inrocks
Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are means so much to so many generations that Spike Jonze's film adaptation couldn't be just a typical kids' movie -- it had to be a movie for the entire family. And on every part of the production, Jonze worked with artists so close to him that they might as well have been a family: while bringing the book's story to the big screen, he developed a tight friendship with Sendak; for Where the Wild Things Are's music, Jonze recruited former lover and frequent collaborator Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In turn, O drafted a who's who of indie rock talent, among them her chief co-writers Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and Yeah Yeah Yeahs associate Imaad Wasif and her bandmates Brian Chase and Nick Zinner, all of whom perform under the aptly storybook name Karen O & the Kids. With their help, O uncovers new musical directions. Wildness abounds in her work with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Native Korean Rock, but neither band's music is particularly childlike. Here, she taps into a rainbow of youthful expression, from "All Is Love"'s pure joy to the tribal festivity of "Rumpus" to "Animal"'s feral folk, which puts O's ferocious scream in a completely different context than her other work. Yet on "Igloo" and "Sailing Home," her voice is gentler than it's been almost anywhere else -- the only other time she has sounded so soft is on "Hello Tomorrow," the song she wrote for Jonze's 2005 Nike television commercial. Likewise, despite the wealth of indie rockers on it, Where the Wild Things Are rarely sounds self-consciously indie, even on the cover of Daniel Johnston's "Worried Shoes." Cox's xylophone gives the album a dreamlike feel, particularly on "Rumpus Reprise," while Zinner's guitar is unmistakable on the excellent "Capsize," which moves from a fierce tantrum to sweeping mystery like its own self-contained story. Balancing abstract pieces with more attention-getting pop songs like the adorable "Heads Up," Where the Wild Things Are doesn't resemble a typical children's film soundtrack, although it will make a great first soundtrack for kids' music collections. Neither a straightforward score nor a collection of kid-friendly indie rock songs, it lies somewhere intriguingly in between -- and it's just as good, if not better, than the music these artists make with their main projects. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2011 | Interscope

Distinctions 3F de Télérama - Sélection Les Inrocks
During the nearly three years between Dear Science and Nine Types of Light, the members of TV on the Radio worked on their own projects, which ranged from Tunde Adebimpe's role in Rachel Getting Married to Kyp Malone's Rain Machine, to David Sitek's move to Los Angeles and solo album, Maximum Balloon. When they and the rest of the band reconvened, Sitek's studio became their home base, and that west coast vibe sets Nine Types of Light apart from their other work. It’s no coincidence that this is the group’s sunniest set of songs; much of the angst and yearning that fueled albums such as Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, and Dear Science are gone, replaced by a mellower focus on matters of the heart. Nine Types of Light unfolds at an unhurried pace, beginning with a pair of Malone songs that sound like they should close an album rather than begin it. The confessional, ambling “Second Song” takes its sweet time to build up to a mildly funky groove; as it flares into brass and guitar, it sounds like dusk becoming night on the Sunset Strip. “Keep Your Heart” is the musical equivalent of a warm bath, with caressing strings and lyrics like “all these blues I have cried” giving it the feel of the calm after the storm. That the album ends with “Caffeinated Consciousness,” a brief check-in with the righteous fury the band usually displays, underscores how different Nine Types of Light is from what came before it. Though they crank things up on “Repetition” and “No Future Shock,” TV on the Radio sound more comfortable being comfortable, even when getting in some satirical digs at the L.A. mindset (“Beverly Hills/nuclear winter/what should we wear/and who’s for dinner?”) on “Forgotten”'s eternal summer haze. The band has always written about love with the same urgency and eloquence with which they tackle politics and other subjects, and Nine Types of Light is no exception. Adebimpe delivers two of the album’s brightest moments with “You,” a poppy meditation on how deceptive the heat of the moment can be, and the gorgeous “Will Do,” a playful, seductive piece of soul-pop that ranks among TV on the Radio's finest moments. Indeed, the way the band’s soul undercurrents rise to the fore, as on the psych-soul interlude “Killer Crane,” may be the best and most exciting thing about Nine Types of Light. In many ways, the album feels like a working holiday for the band; even if it’s not as explosive as some of their previous work, it shows that they can age gracefully and try new things at the same time. [Nine Types of Light was also released with two remixes of "Will Do" and a bonus track, "All Falls Down."] © Heather Phares /TiVo

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2000 | Interscope

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 1995 | Interscope

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Recorded following his near-fatal shooting in New York, and released while he was in prison, Me Against the World is the point where 2Pac really became a legendary figure. Having stared death in the face and survived, he was a changed man on record, displaying a new confessional bent and a consistent emotional depth. By and large, this isn't the sort of material that made him a gangsta icon; this is 2Pac the soul-baring artist, the foundation of the immense respect he commanded in the hip-hop community. It's his most thematically consistent, least-self-contradicting work, full of genuine reflection about how he's gotten where he is -- and dread of the consequences. Even the more combative tracks ("Me Against the World," "Fuck the World") acknowledge the high-risk life he's living, and pause to wonder how things ever went this far. He battles occasional self-loathing, is haunted by the friends he's already lost to violence, and can't escape the desperate paranoia that his own death isn't far in the future. These tracks -- most notably "So Many Tears," "Lord Knows," and "Death Around the Corner" -- are all the more powerful in hindsight with the chilling knowledge that he was right. Even romance takes on a new meaning as an escape from the hellish pressure of everyday life ("Temptations," "Can U Get Away"), and when that's not available, getting high or drunk is almost a necessity. He longs for the innocence of childhood ("Young Niggaz," "Old School"), and remembers how quickly it disappeared, yet he still pays loving, clear-eyed tribute to his drug-addicted mother on the touching "Dear Mama." Overall, Me Against the World paints a bleak, nihilistic picture, but there's such an honest, self-revealing quality to it that it can't help conveying a certain hope simply through its humanity. It's the best place to go to understand why 2Pac is so revered; it may not be his definitive album, but it just might be his best. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Interscope

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Ron Sexsmith is so anti-cool that this may actually be one the coolest albums you hear. The Toronto singer/songwriter's appearance matches his music perfectly -- hair falling in tousled bangs over doe eyes and baby face; one of those guys who always got beat up in high school and couldn't string two words together in front of a real live girl without stammering. A wide-eyed innocent, Sexsmith's eponymous release marries the wonder of Jonathan Richman with the darker atmosphere of a Daniel Lanois. Superficially, the songs are so sparsely childlike that you're tempted to wonder if Sexsmith is either a master of affectation or some kind of idiot savant. © Roch Parisien /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 2001 | Interscope

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Though Philly crooner Bilal (Beloved, Intelligent, Lustful and Living It) cut his teeth working with D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, many hip-hop heads will recognize him from his appearances on Common's Like Water for Chocolate ("The 6th Sense") and Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 3 ("Certified"). While the title, 1st Born Second, of Bilal's debut bristles with oxymoronic implications, it is really a nod to the Soulquarian family that Bilal calls home. Though 1st Born Second is replete with a very discernible Soulquarian vibe, Bilal's piercing voice (imagine Prince on ecstasy) and soul-searching ballads prove that he is a deserving inductee to this musically advanced collective. He is bestowed with a dream team production ensemble (Dr. Dre, ?uestlove, Jay Dee, James Poyser, Rapheal Saadiq, Mike City, and Vidal Davis), but it is his voice, itself an instrument, that is the main attraction here. These vocal gifts are eminently displayed on the sugary, WNBA adopted anthem "Soul Sista," "All That I Am," and the introspective "Sometimes," where the artist does some self-reflecting over ?uestlove's minimalist percussion snares and James Poyser's subtle keyboard riffs: "I wish I wasn't me sometimes/I wish I was drug free sometimes." Granted, Bilal occasionally falls prey to the moody musings and pleading romanticism ("For You") that marks the efforts of fellow neo-soul constituents like Maxwell. However, Bilal's ambidextrous nature, experimental inklings, and shape-shifting falsetto's foster a more diverse atmosphere, as he comfortably graces the funky Dr. Dre and Scott Storch-produced "Fast Lane" featuring Jadakiss, and waxes poetically about lost love on the Jay Dee-produced "Reminisce" featuring Common and Mos Def. © Matt Conaway /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2011 | Interscope

Distinctions 3F de Télérama
During the nearly three years between Dear Science and Nine Types of Light, the members of TV on the Radio worked on their own projects, which ranged from Tunde Adebimpe's role in Rachel Getting Married to Kyp Malone's Rain Machine, to David Sitek's move to Los Angeles and solo album, Maximum Balloon. When they and the rest of the band reconvened, Sitek's studio became their home base, and that west coast vibe sets Nine Types of Light apart from their other work. It’s no coincidence that this is the group’s sunniest set of songs; much of the angst and yearning that fueled albums such as Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, and Dear Science are gone, replaced by a mellower focus on matters of the heart. Nine Types of Light unfolds at an unhurried pace, beginning with a pair of Malone songs that sound like they should close an album rather than begin it. The confessional, ambling “Second Song” takes its sweet time to build up to a mildly funky groove; as it flares into brass and guitar, it sounds like dusk becoming night on the Sunset Strip. “Keep Your Heart” is the musical equivalent of a warm bath, with caressing strings and lyrics like “all these blues I have cried” giving it the feel of the calm after the storm. That the album ends with “Caffeinated Consciousness,” a brief check-in with the righteous fury the band usually displays, underscores how different Nine Types of Light is from what came before it. Though they crank things up on “Repetition” and “No Future Shock,” TV on the Radio sound more comfortable being comfortable, even when getting in some satirical digs at the L.A. mindset (“Beverly Hills/nuclear winter/what should we wear/and who’s for dinner?”) on “Forgotten”'s eternal summer haze. The band has always written about love with the same urgency and eloquence with which they tackle politics and other subjects, and Nine Types of Light is no exception. Adebimpe delivers two of the album’s brightest moments with “You,” a poppy meditation on how deceptive the heat of the moment can be, and the gorgeous “Will Do,” a playful, seductive piece of soul-pop that ranks among TV on the Radio's finest moments. Indeed, the way the band’s soul undercurrents rise to the fore, as on the psych-soul interlude “Killer Crane,” may be the best and most exciting thing about Nine Types of Light. In many ways, the album feels like a working holiday for the band; even if it’s not as explosive as some of their previous work, it shows that they can age gracefully and try new things at the same time. [Nine Types of Light was also released with two remixes of "Will Do" and a bonus track, "All Falls Down."] © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 29, 2020 | Interscope

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According to Lady Gaga, Chromatica is an imaginary planet, a utopia that concretises her search for happiness. "I live on Chromatica, that is where I live. I went into my frame - I found Earth, I deleted it. Earth is cancelled", she said during the promotion for this sixth album, released less than two years after the global success of the soundtrack for A Star Is Born. Chromatica's sci-fi concept naturally steered the singer towards electronic music, tinged with concise and melodic pop. She not only surrounded herself with experienced producers (BloodPop, Burns, Madeon, Axwell...), but also with "extra-terrestrial" guest stars: Ariana Grande (Rain on Me), the K-pop band Blackpink (Sour Candy), and - with a large generational gap - Elton John (Sine From Above).On this flamboyant pink outfit-filled planet, Lady Gaga displays herself as a warrior fighting her own demons, as well as external threats, especially those that overwhelm her fellow-women (Plastic Doll, Free Woman). Her weapon of choice? The most "stupid" love there is, which she clamours for in a cathartic and liberating way (Stupid Love). As the queen of binary bass drums and boundless joy (Fun Tonight), she also has a calm side, especially in three lyrical and majestic instrumentals (Chromatica I, II and III). As the title suggests, Lady Gaga's planet presents an entire spectrum of colours, just like the singer's resolutely colourful soul. © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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Pop - Released October 21, 2016 | Interscope

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2002 | Interscope

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Pop - Released January 1, 2008 | Interscope

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Pop - Released January 1, 1992 | Interscope

San Francisco's 4 Non Blondes burst onto the national scene with their massive, neo-hippie anthem "What's Up" from their debut Bigger, Better, Faster, More? Although they failed to recreate the single's success, the album, as a whole, is a fairly engaging mix of alternative rock, quasi-funk, and blues. The focal point is on lead singer Linda Perry who also plays guitar and was the primary writer of the material. Perry has a powerful set of pipes akin to Johnette Napolitano, but, unfortunately, she tends to cut loose when a little more restraint would benefit the proceedings. However, "Superfly" is a feel good, funky number and "Spaceman"'s yearning lyrics are delivered over a quiet, martial drum rhythm. A solid debut that got lost in the wake of its mammoth hit. © Tom Demalon /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 23, 2011 | Interscope

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Rock - Released March 16, 2005 | Interscope

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 23, 2004 | Interscope

The Downward Spiral positioned Trent Reznor as industrial's own Phil Spector, painting detailed, layered soundscapes from a wide tonal palette. Not only did he fully integrated the crashing metal guitars of Broken, but several newfound elements -- expanded song structures, odd time signatures, shifting arrangements filled with novel sounds, tremendous textural variety -- can be traced to the influence of progressive rock. So can the painstaking attention devoted to pacing and contrast -- The Downward Spiral is full of striking sonic juxtapositions and sudden about-faces in tone, which make for a fascinating listen. More important than craft in turning Reznor into a full-fledged rock star, however, was his brooding persona. Grunge had the mainstream salivating over melodramatic angst, which had always been Reznor's stock in trade. The left-field hit "Closer" made him a postmodern shaman for the '90s, obsessed with exposing the dark side he saw behind even the most innocuous façades. In fact, his theatrics on The Downward Spiral -- all the preening self-absorption and serpentine sexuality -- seemed directly descended from Jim Morrison. Yet Reznor's nihilism often seemed like a reaction against some repressively extreme standard of purity, so the depravity he wallowed in didn't necessarily seem that depraved. That's part of the reason why, in spite of its many virtues, The Downward Spiral falls just short of being the masterpiece it wants to be. For one thing, fascination with texture occasionally dissolves the hooky songwriting that fueled Pretty Hate Machine. But more than that, Reznor's unflinching bleakness was beginning to seem like a carefully calibrated posture; his increasing musical sophistication points up the lyrical holding pattern. Having said that, the album ends on an affecting emotional peak -- "Hurt" mingles drama and introspection in a way Reznor had never quite managed before. It's evidence of depth behind the charisma that deservedly made him a star. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 14, 1998 | Interscope

Antichrist Superstar performed its intended purpose -- it made Marilyn Manson internationally famous, a living realization of his fictional "antichrist superstar." He had gained the attention of not only rock fans, but the public at large; however, many critics bestowed their praise not on the former Brian Warner, but on Trent Reznor, Manson's mentor and producer. Surely angered by the attention being focused elsewhere, he decided to break from Reznor and industrial metal with his third album, Mechanical Animals. Taking his image and musical cues from Bowie, Warner reworked Marilyn Manson into a sleek, androgynous space alien named Omega, à la Ziggy Stardust, and constructed a glammy variation of his trademark goth metal. With pal Billy Corgan as an unofficial consultant and Soundgarden producer Michael Beinhorn manning the boards, Manson turns Mechanical Animals into a big, clean rock record -- the kind that stands in direct opposition to the dark, twisted industrial nightmares he painted with his first two albums. It can make for a welcome change of pace, since his glammed-up goth is more tuneful than his clattering industrial cacophony, but it lacks the cartoonish menace that distinguished his prior music. And without that, Marilyn Manson seems a little ordinary, believe it or not -- more like a '90s version of Alice Cooper than ever before. True, Mechanical Animals is the group's most accessible effort, but Manson should have remembered one thing -- demons are never that scary in the light. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Interscope

The second Queens of the Stone Age album, Rated R (as in the movie rating; its title was changed from II at the last minute before release), makes its stoner rock affiliations clear right from the opening track. The lyrics of "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" consist entirely of a one-line list of recreational drugs that Josh Homme rattles off over and over, a gag that gets pretty tiresome by the end of the song (and certainly doesn't need the reprise that follows "In the Fade"). Fortunately, the rest of the material is up to snuff. R is mellower, trippier, and more arranged than its predecessor, making its point through warm fuzz-guitar tones, ethereal harmonies, vibraphones, horns, and even the odd steel drum. That might alienate listeners who have come to expect a crunchier guitar attack, but even though it's not really aggro, R is still far heavier than the garage punk and grunge that inform much of the record. It's still got the vaunted California-desert vibes of Kyuss, but it evokes a more relaxed, spacious, twilight feel, as opposed to a high-noon meltdown. Mark Lanegan and Barrett Martin of the Screaming Trees both appear on multiple tracks, and their band's psychedelic grunge -- in its warmer, less noisy moments -- is actually not a bad point of comparison. Longtime Kyuss fans might be disappointed at the relative lack of heaviness, but R's direction was hinted at on the first QOTSA album, and Homme's experimentation really opens up the band's sound, pointing to exciting new directions for heavy guitar rock in the new millennium. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 17, 2000 | Interscope

Let's start with the title, not only the winner for the Billy Corgan award for ludicrous monikers, but a title, like Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, that's a winking acknowledgement that the group knows what its stereotype is. Smashing Pumpkins knew everybody thought they were tragic romantics; Limp Bizkit know everybody believes they're juvenile vulgarians, so they're ready to prove 'em right. And how do they do that? With a title that's defiantly vulgar but, more revealingly, embarrassingly awkward. The scatological meaning of Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water is obvious to anyone who's graduated junior high, but it stumbles over its punch line, winding up as more bewildering than funny or offensive. But it doesn't stop there, or with the sickly cover art, since hot dogs and chocolate starfishes become lyrical themes on the album. Clearly, Limp leader Fred Durst takes some pride in his ass and dick joke, since he repeatedly uses it to illustrate the one theme of the album, namely how nobody understands him, especially in Limp Bizkit's year of success after 1999's Significant Other. He may occasionally attempt to frame his rage as us versus them, as on "My Generation," but he winds up bringing everything around to himself. Envision a Use Your Illusion where Axl Rose felt compelled to rewrite "Get in the Ring" for every song, just to make sure that you, dear fan, realize that he's persecuted and thank the lord above that you're there to understand him. And that's it. There's nothing else to the record. If the band supported him with sheets of noise, terrifying guitars, monstrous rhythms, or even a hook every now and then, Durst's narcissism may have been palatable, but the group pretty much churns out the same colorless heavy plod for each song. Combined, Durst's self-pitying and the monotonous music give away that the band bashed Chocolate Starfish out very quickly -- it's the sound of a band determined to deliver a sequel in a finite amount of time. Since Bizkit have never relied on song or studiocraft, it shouldn't come as a surprise that neither is in evidence here, but the problem is they're fishing in a shallow pool. Previously, they had pent-up rage on their side, but here, the music sounds rote -- when it gets louder, it signifies nothing, it just gets louder -- and Durst can see no farther than his past year. That past year may have been a whirlwind of success and fame, but that doesn't stop him from dwelling on the people that have said bad things about him, nearly ignoring those who (somewhat justifiably) argued that he helped stoke the fires as Woodstock '99 in favor of the "critics that don't get it," which includes a whole song sniping at labelmate Trent Reznor. Now, undoubtedly, there are some fans that will empathize with Durst, but the question is, will it really resonate with them? After all, everyone feels rage after being dumped by their significant other, but does everyone live in a world where they feel like they're attacked on all sides? Come to think of it, they do, but Durst's vision on Chocolate Starfish is so insular, it's hard for anyone else, even his bandmates, to come inside. [Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water was also released in a "clean" version containing no profanities. This basically guts the record, especially "Hot Dog" where "f*cking up" is used upward of 50 times, but parents should be reassured that there's this option on the market. But they should consider this -- not one profanity is used sexually, it's all an expression of rage or slang. After a while, the cursing isn't even noticeable, since it's so omnipresent it winds up signifying nothing. It's just part of the midrange hum, like the drums and droning guitars.] © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1998 | Interscope

The replacement of drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander with Brian "Brain" Mantia doesn't affect Primus' sound in any notable way on The Brown Album. That isn't surprising -- Les Claypool's side project Sausage sounds identical to Primus. What's notable about The Brown Album is how Claypool moves Primus even further into progressive and jazz-rock territory, concentrating entirely on the instrumental interplay of the group and caring very little for writing full-fledged songs. "Shake Hands With Beef," the first single from the album, has a reasonably amusing adolescent lyric, but the real attraction of the song is how its thunderous bass riff weaves in and out with the syncopated drums and avant guitar. In that sense, it does let the listener know what the album is about, and very few Primus fans should be disappointed by what The Brown Album delivers. It's standard Primus -- all instrumental interplay and adolescent humor -- but it's delivered with more finesse and skill than ever. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo