Paperback Writer

Trashman pours his beer-fueled soul into a saga of Guns n' Mooks

And at what point was it cool for hard-rock vocals to be whiney and high but sound forced low and growly? Wasn't Vince "Slim-Fast" Neil worth at least one lesson?

Beware of any combo that touts a front man as its one comely faction. The two band photos included in the packaging see the smooth-skinned singer sporting black eyeliner and spiky blond locks preening in the foreground while three cherub-faced goobs lurk back, mixing in with the shadows. The devolution of pop is never more aggrandized than when the Exies top a Lenny Kravitz cop with lines like, "Sly's got a family stone/And all the cat's [sic] groove along."

And then there's a negative side here common to all contemporary "rock 'n' roll" records: no fuck-you snottiness, no working-class pride, no ferocious interplay and, worst of all, no swagger to make the cervix of a teenage girl glisten. Just loud rock music that aspires to nothing beyond filling time and space.

Rand Carlson

3 Doors Down
The Better Life

Think, if you can stand to, of Soundgarden. Then remember it in all of its force-fed sonic cliché and seppuku-inducing FM-happy credo. Then picture a sun-drenched Texas landscape strewn with tract homes, fatherless children, bleak swing sets and men with grisly facial scars. Imagine four slack-shouldered dullards, phlegmatic since birth, attempting to shape that into a "rock" sound. I mean, it is the sound of a rock.

Alecia Elliott
I'm Diggin' It
(MCA Nashville)

Britney Spears' latest video is being directed by Gregory Dark. You may remember him as the man behind brilliant triple-X features such as New Wave Hookers, among dozens of others.

Why, do you ask?

Because all this reminds of Ms. Alecia Elliott, the latest teeny pop tart mired in porn (pre)-tension: well put together, lighting-flattered and very buxom. Only she's a little bit country. If Nazi scientists had focused their efforts on creating the perfect Nashville country-cum-porn starlet, Alecia Elliott is it.

What price Nashville?

And if that don't make you just a little concerned and somewhat sad, then you are more messed up than me, brother.

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