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All reviews by Sullivan Bianco and Michael Stabile

Alert Today Alive Tomorrow

The Muffs
Alert Today Alive Tomorrow
Honest Don's

Muffs singer Kim Shattuck's voice still sounds like she's dug her first Badfinger record--as both "Numb" and "Your Kiss" on the new album attest to the croaky beauty of her pipes. Wearing proudly the status of having just been kicked off a major label (Reprise, in this case), she's redirected her immaculate and garbled intonations toward grimmer, no less energetic, shards of introspection. "Room With No View," a squatty waltz, tells of a lover who has painted himself into an emotional corner ("Looking for something where you know there's nothing/ You know that you're not in my plan/ It's out of your hands"). On a few tracks the mellotron, employed to sound like old 1940s radio soap opera, soups up an already beautiful and blistering pop attack. (SB)

Northern Star

Melanie C.
Northern Star

If the Spice Girls were the Beatles, Geri "Ginger" Halliwell might, with her popish quasi-emotional album, be Paul McCartney. Both Victoria "Posh" Beckett née Adams and Melanie "Scary" B compete for the separations (marriage and pregnancy, respectively) most similar to John Lennon's. And Melanie "Sporty" Chisholm gets my vote for George Harrison depth and quiet protest with her solo album. (Emma "Baby" Bunton of course becomes some sort of sitcom commodity a la Ringo.) More punk than pop, Chisholm morphs into a drum 'n' bassed earth mother. The album is surprisingly aggressive, with technological flourishes courtesy of William Orbit, and Chisholm proves herself perhaps the most able vocalist of her former team. Now if only she could get rid of that gold tooth ... (MS)

Respect: A Century of Women in Music

Respect: A Century of Women in Music
Various Artists

This five-disc set can be at times predictable, eclectic, obscure and disturbing. Unlike collections of similar genres--such as the soundtracks for Forrest Gump or The Big Chill, which merely rehash pop hits and sentimental favorites--Respect is a respectably edgy collection. There are Cole Porter hits via Ethel Merman, "Diamonds and Rust" by Joan Baez, PJ Harvey's 'Legs,' 'Strange Fruit' by Billie Holiday and "Tramp" by Salt-N-Pepa. Our office listened to Carol King weep 'So Far Away' and Carly Simon yell 'You're So Vain' about 10 times each and also found a new appreciation for Dinah Shore's 'Buttons and Bows.' Bonus points for including Patsy Montana's "I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," which JonBenet Ramsey sang in her last live pageant performance. (MS)

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From the November 22, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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