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e've got quite a backlog of CDs we've never gotten around to, so we're going to try to chip away at the pile with this regular feature. The plan: to take a few at a time and play each CD for as long as I can stand it.
Joshua Radin (New York, NY)
The Rock and the Tide (Mom + Pop)
To kick off this week's manly edition of the Mailroom, we have the latest from Joshua Radin to try out. Radin's music is pretty much made for prime-time drama--and that's not always going to be a bad thing, really. In fact, repeated placement of an artist's tunes on various television shows can indicate that the artist in question might really know how to craft a gem of a pop tune. Of course, the flip side of that possibility is that the artist might also know how to simply create some pleasant background music that is little more than incidental noise, rather than a primary mood-setter. Radin deals in both perspectives in the case of this record. Unfortunately, His sensitive-male pop, polished to the point of shiny slickness, doesn't provide the listener with anything substantial enough to suggest that something above sugary puffiness is awaiting them as the record proceeds further.
I made it: all the way through track No. 5, "The Rock and The Tide."
Rob Zombie (Los Angeles, CA)
Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Special Edition (Roadrunner)
Did you enjoy the original version of this special edition when it was released in 1998? Well, if you did, then great, you'll really dig the new version, with its three new tunes that fit rather well into the album that started Zombie's solo career. Were you one of the folks that didn't enjoy the original? Then, fret not, this album isn't really a "special edition" that you will find all that special; it only has more of the aspects that you decided weren't all that special to begin with. In a refreshing turn, though, Zombie doesn't come off as desperate, or as a softer version of his earlier self here. While his Hollywood hobby might've changed his style had he directed rom-coms, the fact that he has helmed several horror flicks seems to have only increased his ravenous thirst for blood. At times industrial and, at other points, groove-laden, each of songs, both old and new, are urgently apocalyptic in tone and serve the horrific niche that Zombie has resided in quite well.
I made it: through track No. 8, "Everything is Boring."
Robbie Williams (Staffordshire, England)
In & Out of Consciousness: Greatest Hits 1990 - 2010 (Chrysalis)
A greatest hits package that spans 20 years is likely little more than a surprising, ill-deserved collection for this Englishman -- to American audiences, at least. This dude's like soccer (or futbol) in that he's a big deal in just about every other part of the globe except here in the USA. While he has managed to garner a bad boy rep, such a meticulously developed persona just doesn't gel with the whimpy schlock that makes up this collection, which includes a couple of new tunes to kick the album off.
I made it: to track No. 3, "Morning Sun."