CD Reviews: Go on the Mothership |

CD Reviews: Go on the Mothership

Daily Staff ReportsVail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

Mothership, AtlanticOkay, I know that there is nothing new offered on this very best of collection from Led Zeppelin, but I couldnt resist forking over the money for it anyway. The good news is that its a Led Zeppelin CD, and one can never own too many. If you are any kind of Zep fan then you probably already own all of the individual albums that these songs first appeared on, but come on, the packaging for Mothership alone is cool enough to justify the purchase. Besides, you get two discs crammed full of 24 remastered hits. And not just hits, these are 24 of the best rock n roll songs ever created by (you can argue all you want) the greatest band of all time.Look, you could spend your hard earned cash on a billion other mediocre new CDs. Lord knows that theres a never ending supply of crap out there and more on the way every week. Or, you could just save yourself the trouble and buy an album that you know youre going to listen to again and again and never think it sucks. And if youre among the tiny part of the population who isnt yet familiar with LZ, then its even more urgent for you to buy Mothership. Theres nothing else to be said. Just get on board the Mothership and enjoy revolutionary music from a generation that really knew how to ROCK.Charlie Owen, Arts & Entertainment Writer

Jordin Sparks, Jive RecordsJordin Sparks is Young And In Love and Just For The Record, shes into that Shy Boy.Those are some of the song titles from Sparks self-titled debut album, which oozes the earnestness that endeared the bubbly 17-year-old to gazillions of tween girls and their mothers as she sang to victory on American Idol.Sparks has the wholesome appeal of a Disney Channel star clearly an asset, at a time when Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana is selling out stadiums in no less than four minutes.Thats why its slightly jarring when Sparks turns into a club vixen on the Britney-esque Young And In Love, which is perhaps the musical equivalent of learning too much about your little sister. Granted, Sparks is nearly 18 but still.That said, this album as a whole is tame, upbeat, free from innuendo something you might expect from the telegenic teen, who suggests original Idol Kelly Clarkson in terms of likability but lacks the Grammy winners irresistible bravado.The disc consists mainly of slickly produced songs about boys (No Air, Now You Tell Me) and feel-good empowerment tunes (One Step At A Time, This Is My Now). But it takes a decidedly maudlin turn with God Loves Ugly, which has the comely singer asking: With all of my blemishes, how could somebody want me? Come on! Youre Jordin Sparks!A standout is Next To You. The sugary-sweet pop song, a perfect fit for Sparks naturally soulful voice, gets better after several listens. Maybe were friends/Maybe were more/Maybe its just my imagination/But I see you stare just a little too long and it makes me start to wonder, she croons over smooth harmonies and crisp handclaps.And thats enough to keep you wondering what else Sparks may have in store.CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: Guys hoping to woo Sparks on the dance floor, naturally should listen to Shy Boy, her clubby shout-out to that low-key hottie sitting in the corner. Erin Carlson, AP Writer

Dylan, ColumbiaThe box set is a curious beast a combination of curatorial selection, increased quality, whiz-bang packaging and new insights on favorite talents. Nowhere is this truer than with Dylan, an impressive yet redundant three-disc compilation of the talents of one of Americas best creative minds.The problem with any Dylan box is that the concept distillation defies logic. Try and imagine going to the biggest library in town and asking the librarian to represent it with a small pile of carefully selected books. No matter how good the volumes, they cant represent the richness and diversity of the library itself.If you begin with that premise, though, Dylan is a compact and aurally pleasing, if unimaginative, tour of the artist and the American musical tapestry he has spent his life exploring.This is a 48-track arc of Dylans career, from his earliest days (Song to Woody) to his 1960s icon moments (The Times They Are A-Changin, Like A Rolling Stone) to the soul-scouring Blood on the Tracks era (Tangled Up In Blue) to his Christian period (Gotta Serve Somebody) to the gravelly, growling Dylan whos still producing genius today (Someday Baby).As with most compilations, theres lots to argue particularly given the raft of already existing Dylan box sets. This is no Biograph, the 1985 retrospective that was a piece of genius but, of course, is missing everything since then. And the choices in Dylan skew too popular: Wheres Desolation Row? Wheres Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts? With Dylan, theres just so much that these arguments are fruitless late-night conversation fodder, like those who spent the 70s arguing for hours over which Beatles album had been the best.If this were a college English course …, begins one paragraph of Bill Flanagans liner notes. And thats it exactly. This is a survey course of Dylan, who could be an entire major or even a graduate degree. Blues, jazz, folk, country their roots and branches are all here. In that respect, its one of the best classes available to any Dylan freshman anywhere. But if youre a graduating senior whos not a sucker for beautiful packaging, you might want to pass. Ted Anthony, AP National Writer

The Original Outlaw, Time LifeSinging harmony behind Merle Haggard must be a great job. Heres the supporting part for Today, I Started Loving You Again:Cause today I ooooooooh.Im right back ooooooooh.I got over you just long enough ooooooooh.Then today ooooooooh.Funny how a weepy song like that can bring a smile. Haggards tunes of heartache have been making audiences feel better for more than 40 years, and The Original Outlaw collects his best work in one three-CD set.The set spans Haggards career and starts fittingly with Sing A Sad Song in 1964. Most of the 60 tunes were hits, including The Fugitive, The Bottle Let Me Down, Okie From Muskogee, Mama Tried and Movin On. The appeal of such songs is obvious, with Haggards commanding baritone delivering performances so convincing he was embraced both as an outlaw and as a voice for the silent majority.Alas, this is an oldies set. Like many country stars of his generation, Haggard had difficulty sustaining his career when urban cowboys began to dominate Nashville. The most recent hit included is from 1986, and The Original Outlaw features only five songs from the past 20 years all excellent, by the way.The set is part of Time Lifes series Legends of American Music, and for the most part the packaging is well done. One major flaw is the failure to identify Haggards top-notch backing musicians, who included such heavyweights as Glen Campbell and James Burton. But the liner notes are informative, and previously unpublished photos are a treat, just like the music. Steven Wine, AP Writer

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