Sarah Cracknell, Paul Revere & the Raiders

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PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS, Greatest Hits (Columbia/ Legacy) If ever a band was perfect for television, it was Paul Revere & the Raiders. Veterans

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Sarah Cracknell, Paul Revere & the Raiders

  • Sarah Cracknell, Paul Revere & the Raiders

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    PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS, Greatest Hits (Columbia/ Legacy) If ever a band was perfect for television, it was Paul Revere & the Raiders. Veterans of the Pacific Northwest's competitive early 1960s teen dance circuit, the Raiders' colonial uniforms, choreographed stage antics, and regional hit records got them signed by Columbia Records. But the band really hit the big time in the summer of 1965, when they were selected as house band for the afternoon teen TV show Where the Action Is. Adding more pop to their R&B-derived sound, the Raiders hooked up with producer Terry Melcher on six Top-40 hits: "Just Like Me," "Kicks," "Hungry," "The Great Airplane Strike," "Good Thing," and "Ups and Downs." All are included here, along with three of the group's first five singles—the original "Louie, Louie" (a Northwest smash, although the Kingsmen had the national hit), follow-up "Louie Go Home," and "Steppin' Out." This Columbia/Legacy reissue simply reproduces the original track lineup of the band's 1967 Greatest Hits album, adding four bonus songs. Instead of filling out the package with hits by later versions of the band (such as 1971's "Indian Reservation"), the bonus tracks stick with the same period, including another Top-10 hit ("Him or Me"), a less successful single (the R&B-laced "Peace of Mind"), and two album tracks which became hits for other artists, "Action" and "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone" (Top-20 tunes for Freddy Cannon and the Monkees, respectively). More sweeping collections are available for completists, but this one includes almost all the good stuff. —James Bush

    THE PIMPS, To a Cool Person, Stay That Way! (Hollywood) Unfortunately, a new millennium doesn't necessarily mean a fresh slate for rock 'n' roll. Right now, America remains in the midst of an angry white boy trend, which, in its last guise, conquered Sunset Boulevard in a blaze of big hair, slow songs belted out to a sea of lighters, "fuck you" posturing, and shameless tit-flashing. Now, the hair's mostly greasy or shaved, the slow songs have given way to faux-funk and not-quite-reggae, and the posturing has been heavily borrowed (or stolen) from rap. The only thing that's remained the same is the degradation of women. With that in mind, The Pimps' To a Cool Person, Stay That Way! fits snugly into this (d)evolution. The Rockford, Ill., band lacks the potency of Limp Bizkit, Korn, Kid Rock, or tour mates the Insane Clown Posse. Still, they try: There's the hip-hop/metal hybrids of "Muthafuggas"; the nod to blaxploitation style; the Red Hot Chili Peppers-like smooth funk ("Pimp Floyd"); and, in "Job Opportunities," even the sort of lazily rendered short story trademarked by Sublime. Sadly for the Pimps, as well as for FM radio and the mothers of the disillusioned teens who will be cranking this CD 24-7 (or so their Disney-owned label, Hollywood, hopes), there's only one real nugget of comic gold on the album: "Grandma's Christmas Shirt." Could the body of American rock 'n' roll be moving on to its next state of health? Keep your fingers crossed.—David Massengill

    SARAH CRACKNELL, Lipslide (Instinct) At its best, UK trio Saint Etienne resembles a well-made cappuccino; a delicious head of foam blankets strong, undeniably catchy tunes. Still, as many a barista can tell you, froth-with-a-kick can be hellishly difficult to get right—something demonstrated by Lipslide, the American debut by Etienne vocalist Sarah Cracknell. Unlike the luxurious textures of great Etienne, like 1993's housealicious So Tough or 1998's Swedepop move Good Humor, Lipslide sounds in serious need of fleshing out: There's almost no oomph here, nothing ear-grabbing enough to make you want to tune in. This could have been a hindrance but not a disaster: After all, plenty of classic pop has overcome a similarly thin sound. But what makes a pop record pop isn't sonics, it's songs, and that's where the album is weakest. Even if you think standard equals classic, it's impossible not to find the moon-June-spoon lyrics of "If You Leave Me" and "Goldie" wanting, and the melodies are just as limp. More lite than light, more frivolous than incidental, Lipslide is the kind of record you put on and immediately forget about. For collectors of Etienne-related ephemera only. —Michaelangelo Matos

     
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