catherine wheelWishville (Sony)It's an OK record, sure, but not snappy enough to reverse a pathetic North American sales trend. Some things just aren't meant to be.
DoG STARHappy Ending (Ultimate)Two words -- Keanu Reeves. kid koala Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Ninja Tune)After his blinding demo, any follow-up was bound to be a letdown. Sure, the vinyl-warping skills come through on the beyond-overdue Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but who's actually listened to this record more than once?
Sonic YouthNYC Ghosts & Flowers (Universal)Scaaaary bad.BILLY BRAGG & WILCOMermaid Avenue II (Elektra)Rather than go back to the Woody Guthrie archive to find more lyrics to turn into songs, Billy Bragg decides to save time and money by releasing the tunes not good enough for the first volume. Cash-ins this cheap and transparent rarely pay dividends.
MEREDITH BROOKSDeconstruction (Capitol)Meredith plays guitar, Queen Latifah rhymes... Yeah, it blows.
madonnaMusic (Warner)On the heels of the splendid Ray Of Light, this disjointed mess reeks of change for change's sake.
JAYHAWKSSmile (American/Sony)Roots rockers dumb down to boost sales. Of course, it doesn't work.
AC/DCStiff Upper Lip (Warner)There's a fine line between stoopid and stupid, and they've crossed it.
oasisStanding On The Shoulder Of Giants (Sony) And then falling off and tumbling down a well.
radiohead Not for their Kid A album, which was great, but for the circus surrounding it. For a band that claims to despise the rock and roll machine, they've played the role of self-important superstars with Oscar-worthy gusto. They herded journalists into pens to hear their masterpiece, did dozens of "exclusive" interviews and moaned incessantly about how hard it is to be multi-millionaire artists who have complete creative control. Great record, but stop talking.
roni size/reprazent In The Mode (Talkin Loud)Using the same breakbeat all the way through New Forms was fine because there was plenty to distract from the monotony. The excruciating tedium of In The Mode revealed Size as the one-trick producer he is.
Lou ReedEcstacy (Warner) Pain, actually. SPICE GIRLS Forever (Virgin) It's over.