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September 5, 2000

down the promo PIPELINE

Motley Crue (Motley Records/Beyond)

The Crueís new CD NEW TATTOO picks up right where GENERATION SWINE left off, which isnít surprising considering theyíve been making the same album since 1980. One must wonder at the 14-year-old who bought SHOUT AT THE DEVIL. Are they Wall Street traders or Bourbon Street junkies? And which demographic will buy the new CD? Both? Could be. Which could explain a lot about a band whose only nod to their advancing age is the inclusion of not one but two ballads. The Crue describe the first, "New Tattoo," as "a real panty remover" and I guess this sums up the extent of the bandís romantic development. One can just picture Nikki Sixx cuddled up with his blushing bride and cooing, "Treat me like the dog I am. Youíre my bitch and Iím youíre bastard. You treat me like the dog I am". If you want heartfelt lyric or melody go buy a Paul McCartney or Sting CD, these guys make ACDC sound like Albert Schwitzer.

All and all this CD is not unlike the grandma on the beach in the thong bikini, the initial reaction might be repulsion, but after a slight pause for reflection a begrudging respect has to arise for the sheer chutzpah involved. Anyone willing to live it or at least sell it to this degree deserves a listen. Truth be told, at this point in the career of a band like Motley Crue, itís not as much about artistic development as it is about brand recognition. If youíve bought any title in their collection and enjoyed it, you will enjoy this and if not donít bother.

-- Jay Sharpe

Popsicle Illusion,
Joanne Brackeen (Arcadia) 2000

When first assigned the task of reviewing this solo piano release I thought; "Great, Iíll wait until my second cup of coffee Sunday morning and give the disc a spin." Iím a slow listener, so I didnít wait for the weekend. Wednesday night after work I dropped the disc in my player for a sneak preview. What I heard was no Sunday brunch: this was solo piano suitable for Saturday night! Popsicle Illusion is the second album from Berklee College of Music professor Joanne Brackeen. Joanne, who received a Grammy nomination for her 1998 Arcadia debut Pink Elephant MagiC, has performed with Art Blakeyís Jazz Messengers, saxophonist Joe Henderson and Stan Getz. What makes her work unique is her wonderfully odd yet fully developed sense of time. Brackeen can stutter, stumble, stagger and glide gracefully along the keyboard with ease. Typical of her style is an original composition, "Telavivision" written in 7/4 time to satisfy a request for a tune that contained inspiration from Israel and the United States. The song alternates between the Eastern influenced meter and a New York blues sound. (Donít try that at home!) Brackeenís interpretations of other composerís works are treated with her bouncy, boppy handiwork as well. Tunes from Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, and Lennon and McCartney are embellished and analyzed by her unique style. In the world of solo piano, many artists lean toward the quiet, lethargic sound. Joanne Brackeen provides listeners with a wild, reckless yet totally controlled roller coaster ride.

-- A.J. Hidell, Jr.


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