1. Black Eyed Peas
Monkey Business (A&M)
Black Eyed Peas lead emcee will.i.am has championed the new pop-rap technique of trying to rhyme an entire phrase with ... you guessed it, the exact same goddamn phrase! I don't know who keeps swallowing this genero-brand tripe but they should really consider stopping before the music industry is further eroded by these four dancers-turned-omnipresent-pop sensations.
2. Various artists
Soundtrack to the film Get Rich or Die Tryin' (G Unit/Interscope)
50 cent is billed as a gangster with a heart of gold, but a quick scan of his lyrical content reveals tons of not-so-kind revelations such as, "The women in my life bring confusion shit, so like Nino from New Jack, I'll have to cancel that bitch." Yes indeedy, he seems like a terrific fellow, but has anyone else noticed that his rapping is deplorable?
Disconnection Notice (Maverick)
Catch the net, Goldfinger: You're never going to be über-famous. You're too old and pop-punk is too bloated to allow you to gain mainstream success no matter how many Good Charlotte-esque songs you write, so just deal wit' it.
4. Pussy Cat Dolls
Despite their hard-swallow-inducing album cover and not-so-subtle sexually charged lyrics, the Pussy Cat Dolls' primary demographic is 10-year-old girls. Why, you ask? Because 10-year-old girls love ear candy, and that's exactly what PCD bring: lewd, lascivious ear candy. Mothers, hide your daughters.
5. The Wallflowers
Rebel, Sweetheart (Interscope)
The release that accompanied the promotional copy of Rebel, Sweetheart raved about the Wallflowers' new beginning and fresh sound, but when I actually listened to the record (surprise, surprise) it sounded exactly the same as every other Wallflowers album. Nice try, Interscope Records PR department.
6. Kanye West
Late Registration (Roc-a-fella)
It's not terrible, although it isn't at all "groundbreaking" like Kanye insists it is. My biggest problem with Late Registration is that its massive hype storm took attention away from hip-hop outfits like Common and Ugly Duckling, who both released much better albums in '05.
7. Fall Out Boy
From Under the Cork Tree (Island)
I'm just so sick and tired of these well-passed-high school-aged bands writing about being geeks in high school and crying about being unpopular. Give me a break! Fall Out Boy's members are popular, and handsome to boot, and if you don't believe me, take a gander at bassist Pete Wentz' rock-hard pecks.
Demon Days (Virgin)
They've done it again! I hear an absolutely terrific single by the Gorillaz (this time it's "Feel Good, Inc.") and then I hear their album ... and it stinks big-time. You make a mean iPod commercial, Gorillaz, but whole albums are, apparently, not your thing.
Don't Tread On Me (Volcano)
This is a lethargically poor excuse for an album. 311's lackluster effort smacks of a group with a contractual commitment to more releases that has already used their "best of" token.
Make Believe (Geffen)
It's time to admit it, Weezer fans: Rivers Cuomo isn't the next John Lennon, or even the next Bono. Weezer is a two-album-wonder and, Make Believe, like Weezer, is nothin' too special.
Conor Oberst • singer-songwriter • Jonathan Wilson • Refried Ice Cream at Sunshine Theater
Deniro Farrar & Denzel Curry • rap, hip-hop at Warehouse 508
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