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Elaine Summers

Slouch-folk artist Pete Droge has taken a special interest in Elaine Summers' Transplanting. Besides producing, engineering and mixing his partner's debut, Pete also handles darn near every instrument not played by Summers. Droge didn't write any of the back-to-basic ditties on the album, but his presence is felt there too. There are the low-slung acoustic guitars and the Petty-esque pop-hick melodies. Still, Summers brings something of her own to the table: an appealingly languorous vocal approach that owes nothing to Sheryl Crow's less subtle busking. "The Real Down Low" is the best of the lot. Summers' accusing lyrics, sardonic vocals and strummy acoustic guitar commingle like old friends at a dissing session. "Laugh" contains more of the singer's biting observations, intertwining acoustic and electric guitars and wonderfully snide "ha-ha-ha" backgrounds. "Our Love Will Still Be There" is the album's resident oddball: Phil Spector's girl-group mania shot through with queerly percolating side effects. (Nicky Baxter)

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The Greatest Hits of Snow

This isn't a joke. Raggamuffin rapper Snow just released his 13-track greatest-hits collection. About time, right? Listening to the CD, you learn four things about him: he grew up in a Toronto ghetto, he went to the pokey, he got a cavity search and he still pulls lots of chicks. Yes, "Informer" is on here, as are a few hip-hop-flavored tracks. Still, Snow's OK ragga skills are loaded down with too much deadweight smooch music; Greatest Hits of Snow needs to be delivered to a harem, not a record store, a licky boom boom down. (TSI)

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Lee "Scratch" Perry

It was perhaps inevitable that Jamaican dub music's Lee Perry and Yello's Dieter Meier would put their heads together. On Technomajikal, Dieter supplies the sonic tracks over which Perry ad-libs his trademark weed-fogged screeds. They hail from two different worlds, but Perry's mad-hatter raps fit his partner's cool instrumental scheme like a glove. When Scratch boasts "I am the upsetter," you doubt him at your own risk. "UFO Attack (Ambient Version)" commences with trilling synths and raga-fied sitar, followed by some seriously subterranean bass and techy percussion. Over this pulsing sonic bed, Perry babbles on and on. Technomajikal contracts and expands, whirls and reels around the singer's declamations ("You love me and I love you. I am voodoo. I am boo-boo. Hoodoo."), somehow making sense of Scratch's nonsense. No easy feat. (NB)

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Young MC
Return of the 1 Hit Wonder

Check out the title. Who better to ridicule his own disposability than Mr. "Bust a Move" himself? How is Return of the 1 Hit Wonder? Pretty damn good for someone who's been away for so long that his name has become an answering-machine joke ("I'm out like Young MC's career"). "On and Poppin'" returns to the "Bust a Move" style of storytelling. The rhymes are intellectual (for the most part) and funky (ditto). He also raps over an Urban Dance Squad rock backup on "Mr. Right Now." Following old trends rather setting them is a forgivable offense--not so forgivable is the line "I always practice safe sex, so I use the latex, unless the girlie's on the Playtex." Proceed with caution. (TSI)

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From the Dec. 18-24, 1997 issue of Metro.

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