Entry for June 20, 2006

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Though there’s very little left in this wacky world of pop music that shocks me, I have to admit I was absolutely floored by a recent news item I read this week. If you’re like me, you will be, too!

Hold on: It appears that the eminently talented rocker Ozzy Osbourne has changed his mind about retiring from live performances! That’s right–the very same Ozzy Osbourne who only a year ago sold oodles of concert tickets for what was billed as his “farewell tour”!

What gives? According to printed reports, the legendary blues-belter “found `retirement’ better as an idea than a reality.” Added Osbourne, now 67, “I went crazy.”

More details on this shocker as they come!

 

                                                                ***

 

MICHAEL JACKSON HIStory:Past, Present And Future Vol. 1 (Epic) The most hotly-anticipated-album-in-all-of-recorded-history yet, this expensive double-CD comes in a box that you have to open! But that’s not the whole story! Inside are two discs that pit Jackson’s well-known megahits “Scream,” “They Don’t Care About Us” and “Childhood (Theme From Free Willy 2)” against such dicey newer fare as “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Thriller.” And–frankly–it appears the muse has departed the charismatic Jackson. Despite lame attempts at melding hard rock and R&B with a lead guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen (“Beat It”), and slick production work by the suddenly ubiquitous Quincy Jones (“Thriller”), there’s not a track here to match Jackson’s classic early-’70s smash “Come Together,” thankfully also included. The verdict: Skip this, buy Dangerous, and watch lots of MTV! 4.5/5

 

LOW Long Division (Vernon Yard) The second set by this aggressively slowcore trio sounds great played at 2 a.m.–particularly after you’ve just heard Michael Jackson’s latest album! Described by me (now!) as Faith-era Cure played at quarter speed, this record is chilling, icy, and not narcotic! Those with last names starting with the letters A through M may like it best! 4/5

 

ED KUEPPER I Was A Mail Order Bridegroom (Bayzare/Hot Australian import)  Available only by mail order, this low-key solo set by Aussie cult hero Kuepper is not just a collector’s item in the making–it’s a dandy showcasing of some of the best songs he’s ever written. Included: new versions of “Electrical Storm,” “There’s Nothing Natural,” “Everything I’ve Got Belongs To You” and more. Were I a cap-wearer, I would doff mine for his cover of Ricky Nelson’s “Teenage Idol,” the album’s closing track. Buy this on Friday! 4/5

 

NATALIE MERCHANT Tigerlily (Elektra) Speaking of records that sound great late at night, this baby can’t be topped–especially when you’ve been up for 72 hours and desperately need sleep! Because let’s face it: This former 10,000 Maniac has a five-note vocal range, writes cornball songs, and probably likes to drink cocoa while curled up on the couch with a good book! Not to be harsh, but–should she even exist? Only asking! 2/5

 

TINDERSTICKS Tindersticks (This Way Up U.K. import) Available here any day now on the London label, the second album by these Brit atmospheroes is as groovy as their laidback debut and even more subtle. Boasting a full 70 minutes of acoustic halfspeed Bryan Ferryisms, this disc would likely kill someone, were it to be hurled groundward from a skyscraper as if it were a frisbee! Don’t do it! 4/5

 

 (BAM 6/1/95)

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