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click to enlarge My Chemical Romance  - The Black Parade  -  -  - Reprise  -  - Sounds like: A modern-day Queen -  - Short take: A band comes of age -  - Those who wrote off My Chemical Romance as a footnote - to the emo zeitgeist can choke on their mascara wands - as the New Jersey act breaks new ground on its third - album. Instead of ignoring its faddy image, the act meets - it head-on with the grandiose track "Welcome to the - Black Parade," which is a mini-suite of styles and sounds - reminiscent of Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia." Wailing - guitars, building background choruses and emoting - singer Gerard Way's voice meld into an aural bliss that - positions the quartet as a bonafide alt-pop juggernaut. - The secret to The Black Parade is the increased - focus on rock structures ("This is How I Disappear" and - "House of Wolves"), which invariably legitimizes the - band's existence and future.  John Benson
  • My Chemical Romance

    The Black Parade

    Reprise

    Sounds like: A modern-day Queen

    Short take: A band comes of age

    Those who wrote off My Chemical Romance as a footnote to the emo zeitgeist can choke on their mascara wands as the New Jersey act breaks new ground on its third album. Instead of ignoring its faddy image, the act meets it head-on with the grandiose track "Welcome to the Black Parade," which is a mini-suite of styles and sounds reminiscent of Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia." Wailing guitars, building background choruses and emoting singer Gerard Way's voice meld into an aural bliss that positions the quartet as a bonafide alt-pop juggernaut. The secret to The Black Parade is the increased focus on rock structures ("This is How I Disappear" and "House of Wolves"), which invariably legitimizes the band's existence and future. John Benson

click to enlarge Various Artists  - Marie Antoinette (Original Motion - Picture Soundtrack)  -  -  - Polydor  -  - Sounds like: Music for when you're out of - Quaaludes -  - Short take: Sexy and gloomy fun -  - Francis Ford Coppola's use of The Doors' "The End" in his - epic Apocalypse Now is legendary. His - screenwriter/director daughter Sofia does him proud in - capturing the intended cinematic mood with Marie - Antoinette's perfect mix of classic tracks. This - double-disc soundtrack brilliantly depicts the upper- - crust life of the late 18th century with emotionally - excessive and indulgent early New Wave tunes. (Adam & - the Ants, The Cure and Bow Wow Wow are obvious - selections.) Sofia really hits her mark in the middle of the - first disc, with The Strokes' "What Ever Happened," The - Radio Dept.'s "Pulling Our Weight" and New Order's - "Ceremony" capturing rainy-day disillusionment and - creating a fragile universe you could really lose your - head over.  John Benson
  • Various Artists

    Marie Antoinette (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

    Polydor

    Sounds like: Music for when you're out of Quaaludes

    Short take: Sexy and gloomy fun

    Francis Ford Coppola's use of The Doors' "The End" in his epic Apocalypse Now is legendary. His screenwriter/director daughter Sofia does him proud in capturing the intended cinematic mood with Marie Antoinette's perfect mix of classic tracks. This double-disc soundtrack brilliantly depicts the upper- crust life of the late 18th century with emotionally excessive and indulgent early New Wave tunes. (Adam & the Ants, The Cure and Bow Wow Wow are obvious selections.) Sofia really hits her mark in the middle of the first disc, with The Strokes' "What Ever Happened," The Radio Dept.'s "Pulling Our Weight" and New Order's "Ceremony" capturing rainy-day disillusionment and creating a fragile universe you could really lose your head over. John Benson

click to enlarge Lady Sovereign  - Public Warning  -  -  - Def Jam  -  - Sounds like: Jean Grae, minus the talent -  - Short take: A crime against grime -  - There are few things less essential than Lady Sovereign, - a purely grating provocateur with less than one iota of - actual ability. Fresh out of the Brit-rap scene, which - values being British over being good, she hips and flops - over a stumbling grime dubstep, not understanding that - grime is, at best, also obnoxious. She's Dizzy - without the Rascal. Sov sullies one electro-elastic beat - after another on Public Warning, her lyrics those - of a cheeky seventh-grader, her attitude as standard as - it gets, and not a flow to speak of. It's not a question of - loving or hating her; there's nothing subjective about a - black hole of talent.  Matt Martin
  • Lady Sovereign

    Public Warning

    Def Jam

    Sounds like: Jean Grae, minus the talent

    Short take: A crime against grime

    There are few things less essential than Lady Sovereign, a purely grating provocateur with less than one iota of actual ability. Fresh out of the Brit-rap scene, which values being British over being good, she hips and flops over a stumbling grime dubstep, not understanding that grime is, at best, also obnoxious. She's Dizzy without the Rascal. Sov sullies one electro-elastic beat after another on Public Warning, her lyrics those of a cheeky seventh-grader, her attitude as standard as it gets, and not a flow to speak of. It's not a question of loving or hating her; there's nothing subjective about a black hole of talent. Matt Martin

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