American Idol Contestants Make Good Music
Although I’m proud to say I’ve never seen the show, I’m beginning to think American Idol is a force for good in modern music. Both Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice drop albums this week, and they’re both surprisingly good. The music isn’t especially innovative – Underwood sings country with a rock edge, and Bice sings rock with a country edge – but the singing is fantastic. Singing tends to take a back seat these days to production, so it’s refreshing to hear two artists whose strongest selling point is the raw power of the human voice.
Neil Young – Chrome Dreams II (rock)
Of the many sides of Neil Young, this one taps the vein of straightforward, rootsy rock that’s been his bread and butter for most of his career. There’s nothing here as vulnerable as the Harvest Trilogy, nothing as loud as the glory days of Crazy Horse. Still, he comes through with some decent rockers that’ll satisfy long-time fans.
Ween – La Cucaracha (rock)
Serious music with goofball lyrics. Each song mimics a specific musical style, from 80’s pop to classic country to dub reggae to an acid rock ballad complete with voice modulator. Worthy of a spot on the spoof rock continuum somewhere between Spinal Tap and Dr. Demento.