It's one strange minute. Industrial squeaks, squeals and scrapes buzz as cows moo, people whimper and creepy voices hiss "I'm going to cut you open" and "sleep ... sleep ... wake up dead." Guinness will issue a restraining order before it adds Whoremonger to the annals, but the album made me realize that 57 seconds of music is all you really need to determine an album's worth. So I pilfered Reynolds' format and dipped into these new releases.
Sarah McLachlan (Arista)
Ms. Lilith Fair has a serious chip on her shoulder. I glean as much from my Afterglow snippets, which -- aside from the typical woo-hoo! cheers of a live album -- are filled with lots of earnest atmospherics and aching vocals. It's pretty in a the-world-is-ugly way.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Vanguard)
All I want is to shove the wheezing remnants of neoswing into a wood chipper. But this is the perfect excuse for that smarmy bastard in accounting to sidle up next to you at the office holiday party and use the pickup lines he cribbed from Swingers.
Various Artists (Waxploitation)
Only an insensitive prick would marginalize a benefit album like this. At your service. Genocide begins with chugging guitars from System of a Down's manic "Nü Guns" and ends with the stuttering electronics and popping bongos of Kinky's "Five Rooms." I expected more accordions.
Vanessa Carlton (A&M)
Ohmuhgawd, Vanessa Carlton is so cute. Her ivory-tickling alternates between hopeful and mournful, and she even tosses in earnest lyrics and a few Chariots of Fire-esque instrumentals to show how grown up she is.
Frank Zappa (Atlantic)
Sometimes 57 seconds is way too much time. It's unclear whether Zappa and cohorts are actually playing instruments or just throwing them across the room. All the cacophonous twitter and inaudible chatter on this grainy basement tape make as much sense in 8-second bursts as they ever will.
Various Artists (Geffen)
"The edge of reason" is a smashing description of the precipice upon which Bridget Jones fans perch. Sappy, woe-is-me ballads and prefab you-go-girl perkfests -- songs -- like Ms. Jones -- that are sorta hip yet so last year. But, hey, if the grammy panties fit ...
Trick Daddy (Atlantic)
My dalliance begins with the warning Y'all niggas keep fuckin' around ... get stuck in the ground and ends with Children, hold on to your dreams/Believe in love. Trick won't hesitate to stab a muthafucka in the throat with a broken St. Ide's bottle if provoked. But he'll do it for the kids.