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When it comes to music, the U.S. is the hardest market for an international artist to break in to. American’s have very specific tastes to when it comes to their favorite artists. Many international bands have tried to crack the US market, with some success (Savage Garden, Celine Dion, Abba, Norah Jones, Flogging Molly, etc.). However, there have been many worthy bands that always seem to fall under the radar. One of the best bands to never make it big in the mainstream is an Acid Jazz/Funk group named Jamiroquai.

Jamiroquai, headed by front man Jar Kay, made a minor ruckus in 1997 with the amazing music video to “Virtual Insanity“; from the album Traveling Without Moving. A type of video that the MTV generation had never experienced before, “Virtual Insanity“; gave Jamiroquai their shot at the U.S. market. As much as everyone loved the video, record sales didn’t follow suit, and Traveling Without Moving sank into the overstock bins at record stores across the country. In 1999, Jay Kay tried again with Synkronized. The debut single, “Canned Heat,”; although a good club song, had a somewhat risqué music video and didn’t get the TV airtime the group had hoped for. Their third attempt, in 2001, was with the single “little L“; from the album A Funk Odyssey. The record was somewhat of a departure from their normal Acid Jazz genre, and took on a more techno mask.  Even with an MTV friendly music video, and Sony backing them with a barrage of advertising, Jamiroquai once again fell short in the United States.

Now, with their sixth release, Jamiroquai has decided to back off in the U.S., and focus more on their established market: the rest of the world. This time around, the States won’t see the album until August, and there are no currently scheduled tour dates. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any fans of Jamiroquai in the U.S. The Jamiroquai Official Forum ( is flooded with fans in the begging for a concurrent U.S. release date and tour. Unfortunately, these fans are in a vast minority, as Jamiroquai hasn’t toured in North America since 2001. According to the site, there are no plans to schedule a U.S. tour, as they feel that any booked venues would grossly undersell, and produce a loss to both the band and their label.

The album itself, called Dynamite, is quite an amazing LP. It is a culmination of all five previous albums, as can be seen in many of their tracks. The first single, “Feels Like It Should“;, is very reminiscent of their Synkronized album. This track is easily the most addicting song on the album, much in the same fashion that “Love Foolosophy“; was on Funk Odyssey.  The track “Seven Days in Sunny June“; represents their earlier days, where synthesizers and digital sounds took a backseat to the natural beats, piano, and guitar rhythms that were abundant in “Return of the Space Cowboy“;.

The entire album has a great flow, as all the tracks seem to be where they should be; and blend together well to produce an album you immediately want to restart and experience again. When I reached the last track and realized it was over, I simply had to go back to track one and listen to it all over again.

Unfortunately, Dynamite won’t be officially available in the States until August, but that doesn’t mean you can’t import it, or go to a record store that will make international orders and get it, which I highly recommend. You’ll be glad you did, and maybe if enough of us do so, we can make a difference in the hard-to-crack U.S. Market, and one day bring the band back into the mainstream.

Broken was released in 1992 after a label change. What better way to give your previous label the proverbial screw-you? You fill an EP full of the most aggressive and angry songs imaginable, of course! Broken is an EP, but don’t let that fool you, it’s still one of Nine Inch Nails biggest releases simply because it contains entirely original material. (Most of their singles and releases are filled with remixes of earlier songs.) These eight songs compose their most guitar-heavy, angry work ever. Drifting a bit from the industrial style, Broken is significantly more metal than Pretty Hate Machine. It still has quite a few interesting synths in it, but they are now a backdrop to the frightening guitar of Robin Finck (later to go onto Guns N’ Roses briefly). These songs are violent, loud, and–at times–downright scary. Because of this, Broken is the most unique Nine Inch Nails release.

Pinion” opens the EP with simply an edgy guitar belching out a progressively louder broken harmony. When the volume reaches its loudest, “Wish” explodes with its percussion introduction. This song’s lyrics are particularly chilling, with Trent Reznor snapping: “No new tale to tell; 26 years on my way to Hell.” The apathetic and destructive nature of the song’s lyrics also assists its pulsating melody. Reznor yells his line with only the percussion backing him up, then the guitar booms, repeat. These extreme volume changes are unsettling at first, but grow on the listener. There’s no absence of noise in “Last,” however, powered by an extremely heavy guitar riff. “Last” is the pinnacle of anger on the EP, and its lyrics are the most shocking of all. Verses like, “Dress up this rotten carcass just to make it look alive,” and “I want you to throw me away” fuel the song’s self-deprecating and perhaps evil nature. “Last” is still a headbanger, and is still the overlooked classic of Broken. Not completely overlooked, though, as Godsmack did “cover” it on their debut album under the name “Time Bomb.”

Help Me I Am In Hell” is a creepy, little melody driven by nice guitar/bass tracks. It has no lyrics, and under two minutes in length, is largely forgettable after the novelty wears thin. “Happiness in Slavery” is a bizarre industrial song about–obviously–slavery. It features a great bass riff, and interesting synth work. Especially nice is the synth interlude after the verses, and the distorted voice of Reznor dubbing, sounding more disheveled than ever. “Gave Up” is a full-throttle ride for headbangers. It begins as a fragile Reznor whimpers over a fast percussion synth and develops into a complete anthem of apathy.

Once the listener figures out that tracks 7-97 are completely silent and there is indeed 8 songs, they are treated to the Adam Ant cover “Physical.” It’s quite a bit more slower than the rest of the album, but its steady rocking is a fun break from the anger. Wrapping up the album is “Suck,” Reznor’s last shove-off rocker. “Suck” has a nice bass riff, and intriguing verses of lost hope. The chorus is an explosion of guitars and yelling, which reminds of the intense volume shifting of “Wish.”

So, as the chorus in “Suck” goes, “How does it feel?” How does it feel to give the execs keeping you down the finger? If I were Reznor, I’d imagine it’d feel pretty good. Broken is short tour of the disturbing and angry world of Trent Reznor. Its brevity helps its cause, though, and the audience is left shaken and frightened simultaneously. Broken is not only a great EP, but an awesome look at how Nine Inch Nails progressed into The Downward Spiral. For Nine Inch Nails fans and metal fans as well, this is an excellent EP.

The Clash’s Joe Strummer made it no secret that he was fascinated by the Rasta lifestyle. As such, he incorporated its traditional reggae sounds into The Clash’s legendary third album, the epic double-LP London Calling. In what has now been critically dubbed as the best punk album of all-time, as well as appearing on several greatest albums lists, The Clash burst at the seams with an explosion of experimental power. Known better as punk stand-outs, as famous for their loud guitar grit as their political stances, they pull out all of the stops in delivering a lush, diverse mixture of anthem rock, punk, “white” reggae, and pop listen-ability.

Not only is London Calling‘s catchy writing and meaningful lyrics outstanding, but it creates a fertile environment for instrumental exploration. Thus, on many key tracks, horns, a variety of drums, and piano were added for depth. This experimentation makes the album twice as great, and all the tracks are meticulously pieced together for full effect (or at least they sound that way). London Calling combines the raw energy of The Clash’s previous effects (particularly their debut) with a new layer of pop sense and experimentation. The results are glorious.

It begins with the apocalyptic title track, in which Strummer gasps in his trademark slur, “All that phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust.” And with that, a new era of musical derivatives is welcomed. Punk is reborn, with a twist. The haunting bass of Paul Simonon sounds as if it came from the depths below. Mick Jones’ guitar blaring a droning chord. This is The Clash revisiting their roots, and it doesn’t disappoint. “Brand New Cadillac” is quite the opposite, charging with its warped surfer machismo, like the Beach Boys in an alternate universe. Although not written by The Clash, Strummer and company make it their own. “Jimmy Jazz” follows with a lazy, slurred beat about so-called Jimmy Jazz running from the police. It’s a treat of experimentalism with an open melody. It features whistling, horns, a banjo, and many unique instruments. The easy-rolling trip is a delight full of brass interludes, riveting lyrics (“What a relief! I feel like a soldier, look like a thief,” Strummer shouts), and ends with a little jazz scat. This experimentalism carries over to “Hateful,” a clap-along with a great mixture of punk and chant pop. The next song, Jones’ “Rudie Can’t Fail,” is perhaps the best entry on the entire album. Its punk sensibility would surely be imitated for decades to come (most notably by U2, Green Day, and Sublime), but its success is marked by its excellent use of Jamaican influence and horns (once again). The rotating vocals between Jones, Strummer, and Simonon are wonderful, as are the sound-off lyrics. Simply a punk classic.

The latter half of the first side sees the simmering Clash flesh out the Spanish Civil War in “Spanish Bombs.” On “The Right Profile,” they attack with militant fervor not heard since their debut album. It hearkens back to Big Band with driven brass (and a great performance on baritone sax), and the raw, perhaps drunken, sound of Strummer’s voice is unparalleled on the rest of the album. Jones writes an introspective Clash-lite winner in “Lost in the supermarket” but is overshadowed by the rigid old-age punk sound of “Working for the Clampdown.” Bassist Paul Simonon debuts as a songwriter with “Guns of Brixton” and sings with a pseudo-reggae accent. As such, it does feature a great bass line, and a strong ska guitar. Its lyrics are inspired, but are far too pointed: “When they kick at your front door, how you gonna come? With your hands on your head, or the trigger on your thumb?” “Wrong ‘Em Boyo” was not penned by The Clash, but they once again turn out an amazing display of ingenuity that very well may include the most identifiable ska arrangement ever. The troubled story of Stag-O-Lee and Billy unfolds first with a horns-blazing intro and then transforms into a piano/synth matching beats with offbeat horns. Everything about it is genius, and turns this into a definite ska staple.

Leaving no room to slow, Strummer wails on “Death or Glory” about the cracked ideal of integrity “these days” with lyrics like: “Death or glory becomes just another story.” It’s a well-written gem with a direct point. “Koka Kola” revisits the punk standard, and Strummer paints a tale of sorrow and regret with the piano power of “The Card Cheat” that reminds us of our own mortality. “Lover’s Rock” follows, but its a stuttering example of The Clash at their most limited. Mick Jones wraps up the album nicely with the optimistic march of “I’m Not Down.” The Clash then makes a wondrous reggae beat with “Revolution Rock” that would have brought a smile to Bob Marley’s face. Its no-stress sentiment is backed with a flowing Strummer, a reggae bass, bongos, and smooth lyrics: “Tell ya momma, tell ya pop! Everythin’s gonna be alright-a!” The single-released hidden song “Train in Vain” sounds more an ’80s soul trademark than a punk riot anthem.

London Calling is the first of The Clash’s experimental efforts, and is a pioneer of musical derivatives. Its white-reggae, ska, and punk culmination makes this album a legendary masterpiece. Although punk and ska fans will probably already own this given that it has influenced every punk album after its release, I consider this essential to ALL music fans. If you love music, you need this album! As the personal favorite album of this reviewer, it is the best effort from the greatest punk band ever. The Clash were once proclaimed as “the only band that matters,” and London Calling is the proof to back that statement.

Trent Reznor was barely in his 20s when Pretty Hate Machine surfaced, a result of his previous new wave band’s failure. Instead of carrying on with new wave, he ditched it for a constantly progressing derivative called “industrial”. At the time, industrial was limited mostly to German innovators and sparse North American interest hubs (such as Vancouver). Despite his age, he managed to do something none of his predecessors could: bring industrial music to a wider audience. Taking most of his influence from glam alternative such as David Bowie, new wavers Kraftwerk and Gary Numan, and mixing it with industrial legends like Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails’ unique and overwhelming synthesizers compose the majority of their melodies.

Reznor did it all; songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, singer, and incredible arranger. At times, Pretty Hate Machine shows its amateur creator’s technical faults, sounding as if it were just Reznor and his synth keyboard in his basement. Other times, it shows signs of what Nine Inch Nails would become: full of aggressive and violent anthems of teenage angst. While it may not be nearly as polished and ambient as their later efforts, Pretty Hate Machine is still a treat to listen to, even at its most empty and flawed. That may even be part of its charm.

Head Like a Hole” is, to this day, one of Nine Inch Nails’ biggest hits, and for good reason. It begins with the very Skinny Puppy-esque opening measures and turns into what will become a series of eerie and rich synth riffs, each one completely different and effective as the next. “Head Like a Hole” focuses on religion and money as society’s focal points–already touchy subjects–but is only a precursor to their following messages of anarchy, depression, and loss. “Terrible Lie,” about being left alone, has simply the best synth work on the whole album, emphasized by the quiet lyrics and a frank chorus repeating the title. The bridge after verses is particularly chilling, when Reznor cries: “Don’t tear away from me, I want you to hold onto.” This sense of reality has become his trademark; he does a wonderful job of bringing his listeners into his edgy moods.

Nine Inch Nails’ first and only rap is displayed on “Down In It,” a commercial single released first because of its accessible sound (at the time). Very reminiscent of Falco, its mixing (complete with the inclusion of various sound effects) is actually done quite well. However, the lyrics are redundant and is reduced to a catchy single when it ends with the children’s rhyme lyrics: “Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.” “Sanctified” features Danny Lohner turning out one of the best Nine Inch Nails bass lines ever, with great percussion as well. The vocals are well done, and the guitar (done here by Richard Patrick, pre-Filter) blends nicely, even during a time when Nine Inch Nails rarely emphasized guitar-work. Reznor then slows down the pace of the album with the beautifully serene “Something I Can Never Have,” his shot at a straight ballad. The piano’s lulling rhythm suits the mood perfectly as Reznor grieves longingly of an impossible relationship. This is an excellent, extended lullaby (clocking in at nearly 6 minutes).

The latter half of Pretty Hate Machine revisits the more industrial sounds of “Head Like a Hole.” “Kinda I Want To” is a fast-pumping experimental that runs the gamut using numerous synth tracks. The next song, “Sin,” is well-known by Nine Inch Nails fans because it was released as its own single (or “Halo” as NIN releases are referred to), and remixed quite a few times. It is a superb industrial tune with a chant-along chorus of sorts. “Sin” sounds edgier, and closer to the ideal industrial standard thanks to the less-complimentary chord structure. “That’s What I Get” is another self-deprecating swoon song with minimal instrumental backup, but a particularly strong vocal performance by Reznor. “The Only Time” is quite possibly its antithesis. The groove and funk ode to sex dries the tears and makes you want to work it. While it can be a bit jarring at first, and–admit it, humorous as well–it still gets the job done. Reznor shows a remarkable power to completely lighten the mood and write a flamboyant masterpiece of psychedelic funk with a hint of new wave. The ambient “Ringfinger” closes out the album with style. Containing deep verses of devotion, Reznor walks the line of controversy and thoughtfulness, making reference to Christ to his own shortcomings. With a defiant tone, he sings, “if I was twice the man I could be, I’d still be half of what you need“. As per usual, the synth interlude is fantastic and Reznor’s stirring lyrics make “Ringfinger” a fitting ending.

Pretty Hate Machine is a perfect blend of early industrial synths and style (right down to the stage attire), with Reznor’s sharp approach at accessible writing. Musically, it is fresh and features inspired melodies as well as notable experimental work, such as “Kinda I Want To” and “Sin.” European (mostly German) and Canadian influences are prominent, but it is the pop appeal of the new wave boom that fuels the album’s success. In my opinion, it still stands as Nine Inch Nails best work. Before the heavy angst of Broken, and the conceptualization of their following albums, there was just the songwriting, a synth, and a voice full of pain. Pretty Hate Machine may be less attractive given the complex music industry of today, but in this case, less is more.

Here we are in the year 2002, and music all around is redundant once again. Everyone is looking for the new savior of rock. Surely the answer cannot be found in a band composed of contemporary rap-punk innovators Rage Against the Machine sans front man Zack de la Rocha and the former Soundgarden lead Chris Cornell, right? Rest assured, Audioslave isn’t that savior, however, they do release one of the best albums of the new millennium!

Chris Cornell had already established himself as a star through his later Soundgarden days, the Andrew Wood tribute album/band Temple of the Dog, and his solo debut in 1999, before he signed on to join the remaining members of Rage. His glorious wail and unparalleled vocal range assures his spot amongst legends as a great singer. Additionally, his songwriting abilities are top-notch, as revealed in the depth of his debut album Euphoria Morning, hinting at a softer side not often seen. In contrast, Soundgarden was a grunge icon, known for their stirring use of harmony to bring out the best of anger and sadness. Thankfully for Soundgarden fans, Cornell gets to revisit those days on Audioslave’s debut. Many of the songs here are similar to Soundgarden’s earlier work. Cornell is not solo anymore, and it shows; to back him up are Rage guitarist Tom Morello, and the killer combination of Brad Wilk and Tom Commerford on bass and guitar. Morello keeps all of his tricks from the Rage days, and Audioslave proves that a supergroup can do more than just produce “more of the same.”

The awesome might that is Audioslave begins with the radio-friendly “Cochise.“Cochise” starts with a powerful drum introduction that grows louder until the guitar kicks in, and then everyone knows what is in store. In reality, “Cochise” is a token gimmick song with stale lyrics but a great beat. The vocals–much like every song on the album–are performed nicely by Cornell, letting the listener know he still has it. However, it is one of the weakest tracks on the whole album. Next up is “Show Me How To Live,” with a catchy bass riff and chorus, representing the funk-punk side of Rage with the melody of Cornell. “Gasoline,” the band’s kiss-off to the pains of society, contains one of the strongest examples of the energy and power of Audioslave at their peak. Every player connects with the others and produce so much noise that they could very well ruin Soundgarden’s reputation. “What You Are” is a change of pace for the supergroup, with a touching performance by Cornell and a trademark guitar solo by Morello. “Like A Stone” is yet another radio hit that features a subdued Morello on guitar but the best vocals on the whole album.

Easily the heaviest rocker is the following track: “Set It Off.” Its beauty is in its simplicity. It has a chorus consisting of a mere three words (repeating the title), yet it is funk-rock at its purest and best. If you aren’t head-banging to this song, you could be dead. After the sonic boom that is “Set It Off” finishes, the album seems to shift focus from explosive energy to lyrical and instrumental mastery. Morello proves his talent on “Shadows of the Sun,” and Cornell sings a genuine masterpiece in “I Am The Highway”–the latter is a poignant relief for your senses. The afterglow is short-lived, though, and “Exploder” quickly revives the head-banger in all of us, complete with cognitive verses of self-awareness. The sound explosion continues all the way up to the final track. “The Last Remaining Light” is the perfect way to end an album after assaulting the audience’s eardrums thoroughly; it’s softer and intriguing, with a chorus that leaves much to contemplate: “If you don’t believe the sun will rise, stand alone and greet the coming night.” Does that allow hope for a sophomore album, or is this supergroup done?

Audioslave does a remarkable job of combining the psychedelic funk and excellent guitar work of Rage Against the Machine with the deep and distinct vocals of Chris Cornell. One might think that being outnumbered three-to-one would weigh heavily against Cornell, but the truth is Audioslave derives more of their sound from early Soundgarden. For Rage and Soundgarden fans alike, that is nothing to fear. Cornell proves once again–in his fourth(!) musical outfit–that anything he touches is gold. Wholeheartedly recommended to Rage and Soundgarden fans, as well as those searching for something different in rock.

Audioslave is the best release of 2002.

Tool first hit it big with their third major release Aenima, one of the most fluid and innovative alternative rock albums in recent memory. In 2001, after years in production, Lateralus was released. When you first open the CD case and find the accompanying booklet of a muscle-tissue man, it gives an idea of what the album may contain. The booklet is full of anatomical design; each page adds a new layer of bone, veins, or muscle. Lateralus is much the same! The album makes a full progression from metal anthems to otherworldly, 13-minute elegies.

What first stands out is Maynard James Keenan’s fresh, versatile vocal performance, fueled by his liberating lyrical selection. His voice perfectly fits over the whirlwind of sound and poetry about regret and empowerment. The drumming/percussion is also extremely well done, sometimes featuring additional drummers to cover a wide array of beats, especially in the later songs, such as the instrumental “Triad“. The production and use of electronic dubbing works great to counteract the guitars and drums. The real power of Tool comes from the raw electric guitar, however.

The album begins with “The Grudge,” which reminds everyone that Tool can still rock hard even if they have lightened up a little in the latter songs. Perhaps the best song–and biggest hit–on the album is “Schism,” which fuses metal and “mental” rock together. “Parabol” begins a successful two-track transition from acoustic chanting to electric modern praise of life that will make you want to go out and make the best of the day, with lyrics like, “Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive.” “Ticks & Leeches” is the opposite, reminiscent of Tool’s earlier albums. It is this diversity which makes this such an experience.

Beginning with “Lateralis” (yes, its spelling differs) to the final track, the band has pieced together another lust-for-life mantra of sorts. The former song is similar to “Parabola” in message, but is quite a bit more epic. “Disposition” and “Reflection” seem to take this even further, with the latter sounding as if it would not be out of place in an African tribe ritual. Lateralus is a perfect combination of mantra, poetry, and metal that moves and inspires all who listen. The way each instrument plays off of each other to create this atmosphere is what separates Tool from most alternative rock or metal bands today. They are more versatile, not limited to mere adrenaline fodder. Without the addition of this album to their repertoire, Tool’s full potential probably would not be realized, even if Aenima is fundamentally superior.

It seems as if Tool has created an amalgamate of ideals in Lateralus. How does a band that rocks so hard make its listeners think so much? Many of the following songs repeat a single message: grab life by the horns, know your limits, and be patient. Because of this, the music is almost contradictory. It is a very enjoyable album nonetheless, and might even inspire ambition in its listeners to go out and seize the day!

The Offspring have had a somewhat rocky past, but when you look at the rest of the music industry, with bands coming and going as fast as their first track hits the radio, its nice to see something consistent over all these years. And what better band to keep consistent that my absolute favorite band ever?

After jumping the indie label ship that is Epitaph for the corporate seeding of Sony, The Offspring released Ixnay on the Hombre, an album many, wrongfully deducted, as horrible only because of the hard feelings they had against the band for “selling-out.” Still Ixnay, and the next two albums to follow, Americana and Conspiracy of One showed a progression of the type of music the band was producing. Americana was filled with catchy riffs, even catchier tunes, including the old-but-still-good “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” and “Why Don’t You Get A Job.” The Offspring are back now with the album formerly known as Chinese Democracy, Splinter.

Continuing the nauseating trend of pointless intro tracks, The Offspring give us “Neocon” which, at the very least, gets us ready for the rest of the album, unlike bands like Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit who basically waste away the entire first track. The highlight of the album is the Goldfinger-like ska “The Worst Hangover Ever” which also keeps The Offspring’s humor alive previously seen on every single one of their albums, beginning with “Bad Habit” on Smash. “Da Hui” and “The Noose” both bring back memories of the harder punk styling of the band seen on their self titled release and Ignition. The radio friendly, pop-inspired “Hit That” provides a good door way for future fans to discover the band.

Dexter and the guys really shine when it comes to making memorable songs and infusing humor into their music, never, aside from a few instances, taking anything too seriously that you can’t crack a smile. Rounding out the album the laugh riot, “When You’re in Prison” which has a distinct 1950s tone and sound to it and gives you ample advice on how to handle yourself in the joint. Sure it isn’t a song, but is surely worth placement on the CD.

The biggest disappointment I have with the CD, and is becoming a repeating trend among CDs these days, is the overall length. The disc only has 10 actual tracks minus the intro and not-quite-a-song ending track. This sort of thing could lead a man to piracy. What that leaves you with is a disc that can almost be listened to in moderate journey around town. I will never know the amount of work that goes into making a CD, but with three years of development time, I think we were all hoping for just a little bit more on the return. Still, any Offspring fan will be overjoyed with the bands journey back to their punk roots as well as the “splinter” into the type of music they began to dabble in on Conspiracy of One.

Weird Al Yankovic, the Prince of Parody, returns with his latest studio album, Poodle Hat, and it sure to please any Al fan as well as anyone who loves a good laugh. Poodle Hat is filled with 12 tracks that poke fun at everything from constipation to the selling of pure crap on online auction site eBay. While some of the songs Al chooses to parody are rather old (the Backstreet Boys namely) they never fail to hit their mark and bring a smile to your face. Be warned, listening to this CD in the car is liable to cause an accident.

If more than anything Al’s last three CDs have been his best, in my opinion. While the stuff from the 1980s was more heavy on parody, Bad Hair Day, Running with Scissors, and Poodle Hat have opened the door wider to Al’s original works. With songs like the 11 minute “Albuquerque” (which Editor entopia_john can do from memory) and “Hardware Store” we begin to see, not only does Yankovic have the ability to make fun of other people, he can write some independently funny stuff as well.

The disc starts off with the highly publicized “Couch Potato” which parodies Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” from his 2002 hit, 8 Mile. While Em gave instructions to not record the song as a single, or release a video, he did allow Al to include it on his CD. Some tend to believe this is for the better as “Couch Potato” doesn’t compare to the likes of “Amish Paradise” or “The Saga Begins.” What really stands out are the Avril Lavigne parody “A Complicated Song” and Nelly stab “Trash Day.” Both feature laugh-out-loud new lyrics which really show how talented Al is as a song writer. “Ode to a Superhero,” set to the tune of “Piano Man” reflects on the recent blockbuster Spider-Man and features some genuinely funny lyrics.

Some might be disappointed with Poodle Hat’s polka entitled “Angry White Boy Polka” as Al takes to singing songs from the likes of Disturbed, Papa Roach, and The Vines. Maybe nothing can stand up against Bad Hair Day’s awesome “The Alternative Polka.” Rounding out the last of the parodies is the previously mentioned Backstreet Boys inspired “eBay” which may contain some of the album’s funniest lyrics.

All in all the disc offers a wide variety of humor including “Bob” which is a song made up entirely of palindromes. People out there believe writing a song with lots of “power” in the lyrics is true workmanship, try writing a song where every line is the same backwards and forwards.

If you actually decide to purchase the CD you get some extra content hosted by Al who greets, and thanks, you for not downloading it off the internet. While Poodle Hat may not be on the same level as a classic like Bad Hair Day it still offers the intriguingly witty humor and general “poking-fun-at” we have come to know and love from Weird Al and we couldn’t ask for anything else.

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