P.O.D. have stuck around longer than many of their erstwhile rap-rock bros by actively embracing the properties of radio pop: They've never shied from soaring choruses, nor have they kept their music free of the shiny production values that keep them from sounding too out of place next to Mariah Carey and the All-American Rejects on TRL. To make Testify, the San Diego-based quartet hired Glen Ballard, the platinum-plated producer with records by Alanis Morissette and Wilson Phillips on his résumé. Wise move: Now that the adolescent rage that fueled rap-rock's ascent among white suburban teens has transformed into the acquisitive zeal that motors high-bling cocaine rap, somebody has to provide relatively well-balanced teenagers with pre-game pump-up music. (How good at rage has P.O.D. ever been, anyway? It's worth noting that the band's biggest hit, "Youth of the Nation," detailed a Columbine-style massacre from the perspective of a victim, not a perpetrator.) To that end, Testify offers a bounty of glossy, hip-hop-inflected alt-rock--muscular stuff studded with jewels of melody that would've earned them sneers in the Decade of Durst. The best cut is "On the Grind," where the tough-talking verses are propped up by a cream-cheese chorus about the siren song of the streets.
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