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click to enlarge Tom Waits  - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & - Bastards  -  -  - Anti-  -  - Sounds like: Every genre under the sun -  - Short take: The master unloads his footlocker -  - You could call Orphans a B-side collection or - retrospective, but you'd be mistaken. Orphans is - more so a collaborative of 54 tunes, tales, rants and - beyond  more than 30 of them new  broken into - three separate CDs. Says the artist of his work, - "Orphans is a dead-end kid driving a coffin with - big tires across the Ohio River wearing welding goggles - and a wife beater with a lit firecracker in his ear." What it - is also: a hard-mined gem. It's difficult to lump - something so gorgeously caucauphonous, rusty, rattly, - somber, wild, haunting and diverse into any single - category. Waits deserves his own music section at the - store.  Matthew Schniper
  • Tom Waits

    Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards

    Anti-

    Sounds like: Every genre under the sun

    Short take: The master unloads his footlocker

    You could call Orphans a B-side collection or retrospective, but you'd be mistaken. Orphans is more so a collaborative of 54 tunes, tales, rants and beyond more than 30 of them new broken into three separate CDs. Says the artist of his work, "Orphans is a dead-end kid driving a coffin with big tires across the Ohio River wearing welding goggles and a wife beater with a lit firecracker in his ear." What it is also: a hard-mined gem. It's difficult to lump something so gorgeously caucauphonous, rusty, rattly, somber, wild, haunting and diverse into any single category. Waits deserves his own music section at the store. Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge Damien Rice  - 9  -  -  - Warner Bros.  -  - Sounds like: David Gray on ludes -  - Short take: Rice cereal needs fiber -  - Since his 2003 debut, O, Irish singer-songwriter - Damien Rice has befuddled fans. His first disc was a - mellow affair that positioned the newcomer as a folk- - based writer of intimate tales with deep emotions; on - stage, however, Rice wasn't afraid to rock out a bit. - Sadly, Rice plays it safe on his latest effort, 9. - Save for a jam at the end of "Elephant" and the - transcendent Radiohead-esque dissonance experienced - on "Rootless Tree," the contemporary artist fails to - traverse new ground on the high-profile 10-track effort. - Sure, he can turn a gentle phrase that would have most - shedding a tear into their Guinness, but it's the lack of - experimentation that ultimately makes 9 a - disappointment.  John - Benson
  • Damien Rice

    9

    Warner Bros.

    Sounds like: David Gray on ludes

    Short take: Rice cereal needs fiber

    Since his 2003 debut, O, Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice has befuddled fans. His first disc was a mellow affair that positioned the newcomer as a folk- based writer of intimate tales with deep emotions; on stage, however, Rice wasn't afraid to rock out a bit. Sadly, Rice plays it safe on his latest effort, 9. Save for a jam at the end of "Elephant" and the transcendent Radiohead-esque dissonance experienced on "Rootless Tree," the contemporary artist fails to traverse new ground on the high-profile 10-track effort. Sure, he can turn a gentle phrase that would have most shedding a tear into their Guinness, but it's the lack of experimentation that ultimately makes 9 a disappointment. John Benson

click to enlarge The Beatles  - Love  -  -  - Capitol  -  - Sounds like: A Beatles mixtape from hell -  - Short take: Money can't buy me, Love -  - On Love, the Fab Four gets special treatment by - longtime producer Sir George Martin. The 26-track mix - is a mishmash of Beatles classics and fan favorites from - the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show of the same name. - The problem is that it comes across as more of a - hackneyed mash-up attempt than a mind-blowing - Beatles experience. The segues are clumsy ("Blackbird / - Yesterday") or forced ("Within You / Tomorrow Never - Knows"), while the remixes are flat (a string section - added to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"). It pales in - comparison to anything heard in the band's anthology - series. Martin would have been better served allowing a - new ear to update the classics.  - John Benson
  • The Beatles

    Love

    Capitol

    Sounds like: A Beatles mixtape from hell

    Short take: Money can't buy me, Love

    On Love, the Fab Four gets special treatment by longtime producer Sir George Martin. The 26-track mix is a mishmash of Beatles classics and fan favorites from the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show of the same name. The problem is that it comes across as more of a hackneyed mash-up attempt than a mind-blowing Beatles experience. The segues are clumsy ("Blackbird / Yesterday") or forced ("Within You / Tomorrow Never Knows"), while the remixes are flat (a string section added to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"). It pales in comparison to anything heard in the band's anthology series. Martin would have been better served allowing a new ear to update the classics. John Benson

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