Nickelback's boisterous and moving barroom sing along "How you remind me" kicks off an above-average compilation of rock that ranges from certifiable nu metal to glam rock, to broad appeal radio pop.
The focus is on Nu-Metal - expect acts like Nickelback, Sum 41, Muddle of Mudd ("She ****ing hates me"), and the infuriatingly overrated Tweak with "Birthday card". Yep, the Boy Complaining 'Cause the Girl Left Him theme runs through it. But the teen spirit isn't only full of pain, apparently - there's plenty of foot stomping music designed for jumping up and down like you're high on something. And plenty of poking fun at the eternal loserness of the younger boy wanting the silly cool girl who wants the guys that treat her bad, like Bowling for Soup's hilarious "Girl all the Bad Guys Want".
Having a sense of humour helps. Losing it is a shame. Prime Circle have an interesting, deep and creamy sound, but don't try this at home, boys! Admitting you identify with lyrics such as "I'm entwined in a web of confusion" are likely to make most girls think twice about whether you're ready for emotional (or physical) involvement.
Crazytown's sexually charged little number, "Butterfly", is nice. As is the graceful sadness of the more adult Coldplay, and Placebo's distinctive but likeable psychopathic ballad of loss. Side one finishes with Skunk Anansie's finely unbalanced "Twisted (everyday hurts)".
More of the same on Side Two, but with more focus on recent classics, matched with up-to-the-minute production - look out for Rammstein's techno infused bouncy metal in German, "Du Hast". It's bound to make you smile, whether intentionally or not.Two really admirable things about this compilation: The use of music from EMI, Gallo and Universal's stables - many compilations only draw from one label. The other is the clear debt acknowledged to past punk and rock.What's sad to see is how the emphasis in lyrics seems to have shifted. Rock singer-songwriters of the old creed featured here have some sort of political consciousness. Nu-metal seems focused on girls' and boys' personal problems, exhibiting a nihilistic sulkiness towards life - a kind of "More alternative than thou" attitude.
But oh, who cares? What's wrong with having a few personal problems? It makes for important music too, sometimes. Closing the set: Starsailor's painful and expansive "Alcoholic".- Jean BarkerWHAT OTHER CRITICS SAID:This double album blends traditional, grunge, pop and alternative rock genres into a perfect milieu of sound.- Serjio Davis for iafrica.com
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