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10 Rock-Pop Acts That Are Making Great Music Today  Print E-mail
Home Theater News Music - General News
Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Friday, 21 November 2003

A lot has been said about the downfall of the music business. The record execs and the RIAA myopically blame Napster and file sharing. Analysts say that the CD is a bad value versus more audio-video oriented media like DVD-Videos and video games. Music critics say the reason music isn’t selling at the same volumes is because the music of today technically stinks as compared to the rock-pop being created during the “classic” period of 1967-1993.

The cause of the music business’ ills are a solid dose of all of the above afflictions however there are still musical acts that can play their asses off and are making great music today. Beyond high resolution audio (SACD and DVD-Audio) there are good musical reasons to buy new CDs. Here are ten acts we think are worthy of a full price CD acquisition:

1. Foo Fighters – Genre = Rock - While Nirvana should be critically destroyed for making it cool not to care (about being in tune, how you look, how well you play your guitar and if you blow your brains out) the Foo Fighters, lead by Dave Grohl, have developed into one of the most solid rock acts you can buy on CD (and soon on DVD-Audio). Their track record with constantly being able to produce hit songs paired with their killer covers of classic Queen and Prince songs show their Van Halen-esque versatility.

2. Thievery Corporation - Genre = Electronic/Lounge – The two most famous Deejays to come out of Washington DC, Thievery Corporation, are more soundsmiths than songwriters. Their groovy, jazzy and mellow electronic tracks are so hip you won’t believe your ears. Bits of reggae, house, jazz all blend into a warm, analog sound that makes Thievery a must have in any happening music collection especially their Mirror Conspiracy album.

3. Ween - Genre = Pop/comedy – Ween is the funniest an one of the most creative bands making music today. These wasted suburban Philadelphia goofballs write some of the tightest, most hilarious songs that literally can not be defined by any genre. Ween successfully covers musical ground ranging from Miami booty rap to traditional French ballads to 1970’s crotch rock to epic tales of Mexican family feuds. Ween fearlessly took on country music with a vengeance when they hired Elvis’ old band and created an absolute killer record called 12 Golden Country Greats (that happens to only have 10 songs). If you are new to Ween look to their classic Chocolate and Cheese for a starting point. They are an acquired taste but once you give them a chance, they will grow on your like an outbreak of open sores.

4. No Doubt - Genre = Pop – Gwen and her Orange Country posse have sold a whole lot of records over the past few years with a consistent offering of solid pop-rock songs that are both radio friendly and tunes that hold up over time. The band has transcended from a trendy “girl power” act into a real pop powerhouse.

5. Beck - Genre = Pop – While Beck’s latest effort Sea Change wasn’t my favorite album of the year there are a number of music enthusiasts who think it is the best surround sound mix for SACD to date. Beck’s best work comes on Midnite Vultures where he mixes crafty, stylish and funny lyrics with brilliant Prince-like musical performances.

6. Audioslave - Genre = Rock – What ever happened to the concept of the super band? With Chris Cornell fronting the remaining band members of Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave has the musical power to really rock and on their first, self-titled album they definitively proved their point. Our point is that it matters to the record buying community that a band can rock their instruments which Audioslave certainly can do thus their album is a worthy addition to your hard rock collection.

7. Justin Timberlake - Pop/dance – I know, I know, but face facts, Justin Timberlake does neuveau Michael Jackson better than Jacko himself. That is without trying to justify sleeping with any 8 year olds in his bed. Give Timberlake credit for being the first to transcend as a performer from a Boy Band into a respectable solo artist.

8. Bebel Gilberto - Genre = Pop-Brazilian – The sultry daughter of a Brazilian Jazz hero, Bebel Gilberto has pop appeal with a worldly flavor that crosses, ever so slightly, into electronic music from here mainstay pop-jazz sound. Her album Tanto Tempo is a must have.

9. Underworld - Genre = Electronic – Looking for mind-boggling musical compositions that take the trippy nature of Pink Floyd and fuse them with the intensity of the best rave of the summer in Ibiza and you have Underworld. Of specific note is their album Beaucoup Fish which is the Dark Side of the Moon of electronic music. Their live record is a must-have too.

10. Tool - Genre = Modern Progressive rock – Those that love Yes and King Crimson from the late 1960’s and 70’s find Tool to be a most thought provoking act making great new music for the thinking man. Their dark lyrical content and hard hitting beats are mixed in with odd time signatures to create a complex musical flavor so spicy that Wolfgang Puck would be proud to pour it all over a bed of Radicchio and Arugula.

Honorable Mentions: Coldplay, Radiohead, Tenacious D, Rush, U2, Deftones, Kylie Minogue, Lyle Lovett.

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