Tuesday, March 19, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 111



'Blade 2' soundtrack features the best in
hip-hop and techno

(first jump)

Reviews: N.W.A. featured live on Farmclub album

(second jump)

Reviews: (need new jumphead); Minogue CD subpar

Cougar Entertainment Staff

<I>Blade<P>, starring Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson, is back
for round two with more vampire bashing, action-packed fighting
and of course, electrifying music.

The soundtrack assembles a diverse lineup combining hip-hop with
electronica artists on each track. The unique concept pairs Ice
Cube with Paul Oakenfold, Eve with Fatboy Slim, Redman with
Gorillaz and a host of other hi- hop and electronica collaborations.

Photo courtesy of Priority Records

Snoop Dogg is featured with the surviving members of N.W.A. on
the Farmclub.com album <I>Live & Unreleased<P>

From beginning to end, the entire soundtrack celebrates eclectic
and futuristic beats. The <I>Blade II<P> soundtrack begins with its
famous upbeat instrumental theme sure to excite loyal
<I>Blade<P> fans.

The theme is followed by an impressive performance by female
rapper Eve in association with Fatboy Slim. Humorous lyrics, trendy
beats and admirable rapping ability combine to form "Cowboy," a
surprising hit.

<I>Blade II<P> continues creative productions with "Right Here,
Right Now," featuring Ice Cube and Paul Oakenfold. It has the
acoustics and bass to compete with Ice Cube's intelligent, but
raunchy lyrics about women and haters.

Another hit is evident in "Gangsta Queens" via Trina, Rah-Digga
and Groove Armada. The production has a laid back groove that
flows well with the loose and sexual lyrics of the proclaimed
gangsta queens.

Of course, Busta Rhymes can hype any party and continues to do
so in "The One," also featuring Silkk The Shocker and Dub Pistols.
Before the song begins, Busta has you pumped to listen and then
delivers with his powerful rap vocals.

The creative lyrics of Fabolous and Jadakiss are heightened in the
chaotic, but enticing mixture of beats by Danny Saber in "We Be
Like This." Their cool rap style enhances the creativity of the beats.

Once again, the producers of <I>Blade II<P> create a notable track
with the help of the Roots and BT in "Tao of the Machine." It is
obvious the loud, techno beat encourages the Roots to hype their
lyrics and it succeeds.

As usual, Redman's wild and crazy lyrics, along with the talent of
Gorillaz, reveal a successful project of humorous rhymes and
catchy beats.

Impressive productions cease with "I Against I" by Mos Def and
Massive Attack when its disturbing beat does not equal the ability
of its lyricist.

Cypress Hill and Roni Size collaborate on "Child of the Wild West,"
but after a few chords of this song, its irritating beat leaves
something to be desired.

Fortunately, a few bad apples do not spoil this bunch. As a whole,
<I>Blade II<P> is jamming and its unexpected partnerships are sure
to entice hip- hop and electronica enthusiasts.

<B>Various Artists

<I>Blade II<P>

<B>Immortal/Virgin Records<P>

3 stars

                                                                                                                                                                                         <I>-- Becky Proctor

                                                                                                                                                                              Daily Cougar Staff<P>

In its heyday, Farmclub.com was a dynamic, groundbreaking forum
for fledgling artists to get their music heard by many people.

Music fans of every genre could log on and hear musicians from
Pinole, Calif., to Ithaca, NY, and many bands were discovered and
given record contracts from their exposure on the site.

A television show was spawned and high-profile acts like Eminem,
DMX and Ja Rule made appearances to hype the show they
appreciated so much.

Although the site and show are now defunct, plenty of memorable
performances went down from 2000-2001 and are remembered
on Farmclub's <I>Live & Unreleased<P>, released in late February.

Classic gangsta rap group N.W.A. reunited (minus Eazy-E) and
threw Snoop Dogg into the mix to open the 16-track collection,
performing Dr. Dre and Snoop's trend-setting "Nuthin' But A 'G'
Thang" for adoring fans.

Eminem rips through "The Real Slim Shady," the song that
continued his chart dominance. DMX offers "Party Up," Mystikal
turns in his unforgettable booty-rumbler "Shake Ya Ass" and Nelly
delivers his down-home, Midwest twang on "Country Grammar,"
the song that introduced him to the world.

Other performances include Limp Bizkit and Method Man's
tag-team on "N 2 Gether Now," Staind's "Mudshovel" and Ja Rule's
"Between Me and You."

You can also find rousing, head-banging performances from rock
acts Nickelback, Powerman 5000 and previously unheard-of bands
Sev, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and Bionic Jive.

The sets are powerful, attention-grabbing and, well, fun.

The CD itself is refreshing in that it contains a diverse range of
artists playing live, not a unique idea but undoubtedly a rarity.

Yes, the songs found on <I>Live & Unreleased<P> were worn out
by radio and music television, which may be enough to keep you
from plopping down cash for it. But for those who feel a little
nostalgia for these artists' smash hits, it may be worth the price.

<B>Various Artists

<I>Live & Unreleased From Farmclub.com<P>

<B>UTV/Interscope Records<P>

4 stars

                                                                                                                                                                                                 <I>-- Jake McKim

                                                                                                                                                                              Daily Cougar Staff<P>

Schizophrenic is the only way to describe the beats on the songs
of r&b artist Brandy's third album, <I>Full Moon<P>.

After a break from making music, Brandy returns with a sound and
song topics that mirror her sojourn into adulthood and discovery of
who she is in the midst of all the glamour and heartache that
comes along with success.

"What About Us," the first single (produced by hit maker Rodney
Jerkins), greets Brandy's fans with beat confusion and a stronger
vocal presence, which is only a taste of what her album has to

<I>Full Moon<P>, a two-disc CD, is the culmination of a career that
started when Brandy was a teenager. Now, she has blossomed into
a woman who sings about adult issues and has shed her angelic
image. With a new husband and a baby on the way, Brandy has
come a long way since her self-titled 1994 debut.

The new album is the premiere of a sound that is stronger, with
delayed beats that skip, hop and make you wonder if your CD is
scratched. Brandy no longer sings in that one honey-drenched
hoarse voice that made her popular; she experiments with her
range and sings in a lower key. In some songs, she reminds you of
TLC's T-Boz.

The first CD is a 17-track ode to falling in love, wanting affection
and falling out of love. "Can We" is a track that after a while can be
grating; the beat sounds like a DJ slowing down a record. "All in
Me" is an easy listener that has a steady drumbeat with overtones
of beats reminiscent of wind chimes and sugarplum fairies.

But in the middle of the song, the beat seems possessed and takes
on a life of its own. Brandy shows her growth as she manages to
stay on beat within a period of frenzy. It is a song that says
"whatever the case is, you can count on me."

The beats don't take away from Brandy, and the latter half of her
album is more subdued and more like the Brandy of yesterday --
the one who sang about wanting to be down and trying to make a
relationship work.

"He Is" is a sweet love song that likens a man to Prince Charming
and a dream come true. Brandy's duet "Die Without You" with her
brother, Ray J, covers the early '90s song "I'd Die Without You" by
PM Dawn and is an average replica of the original song.

The second CD is a treat for fans of Brandy with its photo gallery
of pictures, a screensaver and the "What About Us?" video.
Overall, the CD is a winner, with innovative beats and a stronger
voice. Brandy has come full circle.


<I>Full Moon<P>

<B>Atlantic Records<P>

3.5 stars

                                                                                                                                                                                          <I>-- Dionne Victor

                                                                                                                                                                              Daily Cougar Staff<P>

Picture this: A band with eight guys in jumpsuits and masks, two
of which are singers with a wide variety of musical influence and a
sound that is a little industrial, a little hardcore, and a lot heavy
metal. Let me guess you pictured Slipknot, right?


Straight from Cleveland, Ohio, Universal Records brings to America
the next chart climber in the world of nu-metal.

Mushroomhead is an octet that has been together since 1993
long before Slipknot became what it is today. Though the
appearance of the two bands can be compared and they are
therefore thrown into the same bin, Mushroomhead gathers its
music from a different set of influences and the sound it produces
is entirely unique. You just have to get past this overplayed
costume-metal appearance and give the band a chance.

With the release of <I>XX<P>, Mushroomhead is now on a national
tour with the expectations of bringing to its audiences the truth
about the band: pure brutality, a performance like no other and a
sound that'll blow your mind.

<I>XX<P> is dark. <I>XX<P> is trippy. <I>XX<P> is like being high
and taking a walk through a pitch-black alley in a city you've never
been in and don't know your way around.

The album has so many unexpected twists and turns it leaves you
feeling a little confused. Mushroomhead's members (featuring
founder/drummer Skinny, lead vocalists J Mann and Jeffrey
Nothing, Schmotz on keyboards, bassist Pig Benis, Gravy and
Bronson on guitars and sampler Stitch) came from different bands
and different walks of life to pull their own musical influences
together to create the industrial, gothic, dark-metal, rap-rock,
crashing guitar sound that makes Mushroomhead one of a kind.

With one vocalist sounding a bit like metal bands from the past
(like Pantera or Slayer) and the other vocalist obviously influenced
by Mike Patton, there are times when you want just to jam to the
furiously fast drumming and deep-throated vocals and other times
when you want to sit back a little, mesmerized by the eccentric
combination of sounds resembling Patton's bands Mr. Bungle and

The album is rather like a movie with several different scenes and
actions occurring. The alternative-metal sound comparable to
Machinehead in the intro song "Before I Die" opens the album and
leads into the first release, "Solitaire Unraveling." This song begins
with the ringing of a bell and goes into a complex overlapping of
both vocals and all instruments, producing a syncopated rhythm
and melody effect.

The purely brutal death metal style of "Xeroxed" has drums
patterned after Fear Factory with Nothing growling, "Fall from
grace/ False messiah/ Laid to waste amidst desire."

The samples and effects of track eight make it appear to be
something out of a horror movie, while track nine, "The New Cult
King," is vocal-driven.

"Empty Spaces" is a cover of the Pink Floyd song from <I>The
Wall<P>. "Fear Held Dear" has the flowing of a storybook or
maybe a horror storybook. It has a nice intro, which then takes you
on a crazy climax only to bring your tension back down through
the resolution.

The hidden track on the album is track 43. Its industrial-heavy
metal-rap style ends with a soft musical melody where the ending
words are "Don't let the rhythm stop." I definitely didn't want it to

Mushroomhead's music is fascinating and spooky. It is said that
after a viciously crazy and chaotic performance, the group throws
on the hardcore techno and makes the rest of the night a
mini-rave. It has something for just about everyone.



<B>Universal Records<P>

4 stars

                                                                                                                                                                                             <I>-- Shiley Carter

                                                                                                                                                                              Daily Cougar Staff<P>

Kylie Minogue is a newcomer to the U.S., but has been in the
European mainstream for some time. Her latest album,
<I>Fever<P>, climbed its way to the No. 10 spot on the pop
charts. The hit single "Can't Get You Out of My Head" gets plenty
of airplay on the radio and in the club scene.

The album, however, doesn't live up to Minogue's popularity clout.
The lyrics are redundant and the music is bubble-gummy. The only
noteworthy songs are the first three on the album. The rest all
sound the same, all following the same formula.

There is never a beat, note, melody, lyric or chorus that strikes the
ear as new or different. No other song on the album demands
attention. After letting the album play, the listener gets bored
quickly and soon begins to pay no attention to the music at all.

Minogue's vocal ability is a degree above that of Britney Spears,
which isn't saying much. And though it is not fair to compare
every pop singer to the princess herself, Spears' vocal "ability," or
lack thereof, has been argued. Therefore, it is safe to compare
someone with similar styles so that the consumer and music
enthusiast will have some basis of comparison.

Minogue is also easy to compare to Spears because of the
emphasis she puts on her physical appearance. Her press photos
look like Maxim magazine spreads. She has a beautiful body, and
for that she deserves an A-plus, but as far as her music goes
she gets no more than a C.

But just like any other merciful grader, I will give her "room for
improvement" before I swear her onto my black list of one-hit

<B>Kylie Minogue


<B>Capitol Records<P>

1 star

                                                                                                                                                                              <I>-- Melissa Ragsdale

                                                                                                                                                                              Daily Cougar Staff<P>

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