Gwen Stefani Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (Interscope)
That it was bound to happen makes it no less unfortunate. No Doubt chanteuse Gwen Stefani, after better than a decade of exercising her formidable songwriting talent and propelling No Doubt from Orange County club band to international superstars, has finally given in to celebrity, allowing her significant starpower to control the direction of her debut solo effort rather than the inspired, passion-bred consciousness that has spawned more than a handful of killer ND singles. Devoid of an ounce of soul, L.A.M.B. falls flat on its over-powdered, over-hyped face. Skip it and pray for the next ND record.
Bad Wizard #1 Tonite (Howler)
The only thing wrong with Bad Wizard's latest heavily greazed, '70s-metal soaked record is that it's too goddamned short. Nine songs clock in at just over 27 minutes, less time than it takes for all five members of Black Maria to pass the bong around the circle once. Thankfully, though, #1 Tonite is 27-odd minutes of sheer stoner brilliance. Thin Lizzy and Moby Grape fans will blow their THC-laden wads over this one. All of you assholes professing love for the MC5—a band you've still never heard—while purchasing copies of Hives and Von Bondies records, be damned!
Jimmy Eat World Futures (Interscope)
Teenage shopping mall aficionados with unquenchable hankerings for Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and weekend visits to Hot Topic rejoice! The soundtrack to your shallow, little white-bread suburban lives has been written and committed in all its pitch-corrected glory to digital media and pressed onto convenient shiny discs for your consumption. So borrow daddy's credit card and the keys to his silly Cadillac Escalade and drive like the asshole you are directly to your nearest Sam Goody store and plop down $20 in plastic that you won't have to pay back for this piece of crap. Then flog yourself. Please.
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