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Duran Duran, Britney Spears and The Hives

click to enlarge Duran Duran  - Red Carpet Massacre  -  -  -  - Epic  -  - Sounds like: Duran Duran gets Timbaland-ized -  - Short take: Still hungry like the wolf -  - The upside to Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre is that it's the album the band needed to make. - However, it isn't filled with the music the group's fan - base will necessarily want to hear. Instead of attempting - to recreate '80s anthems  as Simon LeBon and - company have done for the past decade  the outfit - explores the urban sounds of its influences. That said, it - also shouldn't come as any surprise that the disc's best - two tracks are Timbaland-produced gems. This includes - the low-key "Nite-Runner," which features Justin - Timberlake, and the dance-floor ready "Skin Divers." - After returning to relevancy in the '90s with the alt-rock - sounding Wedding Album, Duran Duran - incorporates an element of hip-hop to score more major - points on the credibility meter.  John - Benson
  • Duran Duran

    Red Carpet Massacre

    Epic

    Sounds like: Duran Duran gets Timbaland-ized

    Short take: Still hungry like the wolf

    The upside to Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre is that it's the album the band needed to make. However, it isn't filled with the music the group's fan base will necessarily want to hear. Instead of attempting to recreate '80s anthems as Simon LeBon and company have done for the past decade the outfit explores the urban sounds of its influences. That said, it also shouldn't come as any surprise that the disc's best two tracks are Timbaland-produced gems. This includes the low-key "Nite-Runner," which features Justin Timberlake, and the dance-floor ready "Skin Divers." After returning to relevancy in the '90s with the alt-rock sounding Wedding Album, Duran Duran incorporates an element of hip-hop to score more major points on the credibility meter. John Benson

click to enlarge Britney Spears  - Blackout  -  -  - Jive  -  - Sounds like: A Femmebot's Europop hit parade -  - Short take: Overproduced has-beens win! -  - Blackout is a really good record. And it's a good - record because Britney Spears has almost no part in it. - This album isn't the tabloid-hopping pop star's - "comeback" album. For that, Spears would actually have - to, y'know, come back. Instead, on Blackout, she - is negated into oblivion by fierce electronics and stellar - production. What's left is an oversexed automaton - spitting club-ready lyrical backup to the real stars: the - banging beats. Ignoring the lead single and obvious - worst song, "Gimme More," Blackout is a - collection of giddy hits and Timbaland-aping hip- - swingers. Having accomplished everything she's ever - going to musically, Britney, with her reputation in utter - shambles, has no one to answer to. And, somehow, from - the cusp of oblivion, she's made her best album yet. -   Matt Martin
  • Britney Spears

    Blackout

    Jive

    Sounds like: A Femmebot's Europop hit parade

    Short take: Overproduced has-beens win!

    Blackout is a really good record. And it's a good record because Britney Spears has almost no part in it. This album isn't the tabloid-hopping pop star's "comeback" album. For that, Spears would actually have to, y'know, come back. Instead, on Blackout, she is negated into oblivion by fierce electronics and stellar production. What's left is an oversexed automaton spitting club-ready lyrical backup to the real stars: the banging beats. Ignoring the lead single and obvious worst song, "Gimme More," Blackout is a collection of giddy hits and Timbaland-aping hip- swingers. Having accomplished everything she's ever going to musically, Britney, with her reputation in utter shambles, has no one to answer to. And, somehow, from the cusp of oblivion, she's made her best album yet. Matt Martin

click to enlarge The Hives  - The Black and White Album -  -  -  - Capitol  -  - Sounds like: A one-trick Swedish pony -  - Short take: Another harmless case -  - As charming as The Hives' arrival in the States may have - seemed, with its Swedish garage-rock sound on the - 2002 album Veni Vidi Vicious, it was fairly - obvious from the start that the act lacked songwriting - strong enough to offer even a hint at longevity  let - alone fill an album. Even though 2004's - Tyrannosaurus Hives confirmed this notion, the - band's latest effort, The Black and White Album, - does have a few nuggets of interest. The falsetto vocals, - tight guitar lead and pseudo-heavy bass line makes - "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S." one of the band's more interesting - digressions, while the raucous lead single "Tick Tick - Boom" (which sounds like 2002 all over again) succeeds - in creating a blood-pumping swagger. Still, the track's - lyrics sum up The Hives' current position in rock: "Yeah! - But it's too late!"  John Benson
  • The Hives

    The Black and White Album

    Capitol

    Sounds like: A one-trick Swedish pony

    Short take: Another harmless case

    As charming as The Hives' arrival in the States may have seemed, with its Swedish garage-rock sound on the 2002 album Veni Vidi Vicious, it was fairly obvious from the start that the act lacked songwriting strong enough to offer even a hint at longevity let alone fill an album. Even though 2004's Tyrannosaurus Hives confirmed this notion, the band's latest effort, The Black and White Album, does have a few nuggets of interest. The falsetto vocals, tight guitar lead and pseudo-heavy bass line makes "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S." one of the band's more interesting digressions, while the raucous lead single "Tick Tick Boom" (which sounds like 2002 all over again) succeeds in creating a blood-pumping swagger. Still, the track's lyrics sum up The Hives' current position in rock: "Yeah! But it's too late!" John Benson

  • Duran Duran, Britney Spears and The Hives

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