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Market Research Group

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Matthew Rodriguez
Matthew Rodriguez

Estelle, Shine Full Album Zip

Stew, Rodewald and Various Artists: Passing Strange(Ghostlight)Always impressed and never bowled over by the auteur's albums, I onlycaught his musical after this original cast recording hit me like noStew or Negro Problem CD ever had. Two clues emerge in the guitared-up"Prologue": first "If you're ever not sure what I'm all about/Just askthe song," then "Since it's my job I'ma set the scene." Music assurrogate self, music as daily occupation--if Stew never shone asbrightly as he had to on his own records, his craftsman's approach tohis lifework was why. But these limitations feed into this amusing,moving, sophisticated, less than profound Broadway show about racialidentity and art for art's sake. Stew the narrator expresses himselfmore subtly and forcefully than he ever did as mere persona--thedistance frees him up. Similarly, two songs that satirize themselves,the Afro-hardcore "Sole Brother" and the Euro-anarchist "What's InsideIs Just a Lie," pack straightforward power. But in the end, there'sonly one standard: "Keys," a celebration of the occasional kindnessesof the bohemia where this 47-year-old African-American has spent hisadult life.A MINUS

Estelle, Shine full album zip

Natasha Bedingfield: Pocketful of Sunshine (Epic/Phonogenic)As pop wannabes go, the Bedingfield of 2005 had humanity andhumility. Still "unwritten," she "stumbled," "bruised easily." Butstick this follow-up in the changer and the magic of compressionraises the volume of these transparently calculated songs to barragelevel. Even doing her humble bit, she yells in your ear. So what's allthis about how she just lost her job but has so many reasons to behappy anyway--and so do you, girlie! Though the Sean Kingston collabgenerated sales and remixes and the album hung around in the top 40,it's yet to go gold. I never rejoice about the death of the recordbusiness. But sometimes it doesn't seem like such a bad idea.C PLUS 350c69d7ab


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