Genuine musical objectivity is tough to come by, since most listeners, try as they might, can't help but bring biases to what they hear. Sometimes these predispositions are personal; for instance, my beloved can no longer listen to the Beach Boys' "Help Me, Rhonda" without displeasure, because it was playing on her car radio when she was sideswiped by a hit-and-run driver a few years back. (Terrific: another burden for Brian Wilson to bear.) But nearly as often, such notions are generated by the public personae of the performers themselves. Rightly or wrongly, we bring assorted expectations to the work of Marilyn Manson or Shania Twain or practically any other popular musician whose stories we know (or think we know), and that can't help but... More >>>