I had a lot of fun doing this the first time around, so I thought I'd expand my list of CDs you should be aware of...
Musicforthemorningafter ~ Pete Yorn (2001) I talked about Pete Yorn's second CD (Day I Forgot) last time, but his debut CD is where it's at. This is what put Yorn on the map and established him as the real deal - a modern rock legend. He's the best songwriter, crooner, rocker out there. You may have heard a few of his songs already on some movie soundtracks, but this CD is full of A-grade music. Key tracks: Life On a Chain, Black, Lose You, For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is), Closet.
Poses ~ Rufus Wainwright (2001) A more sophisticated sound rises out of Rufus Wainwright's sophomore effort (which was quickly followed by two more very critically-acclaimed albums). Full of strings and beautiful vocals, as well as a few techno beats, this CD is an operatic wonder that will supply hours of entertainment. Key tracks: Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk, Greek Song, California, The Tower of Learning, Evil Angel.
Coverage ~ Mandy Moore (2003) Yes, Mandy Moore. With this CD, Moore proves that she has the vocal chops to be a serious force in music. With the appropriately titled Coverage, she takes on some of rock's most celebrated (or just best) songs from days past, remaking songs from the likes of Carly Simon and Elton John. And doing it well. Not surprisingly, the best of the songs are the more obscure, as songs like One Way or Another and I Feel the Earth Move demand a lot to live up to. One critic claimed this CD to be the best remake album since David Bowie's Pinups. He wasn't wrong. Key tracks: The Whole of the Moon, Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, Drop the Pilot, Moonshadow, Have a Little Faith In Me.
Super Extra Gravity ~ The Cardigans (2005) (Import) The latest of The Cardigans' CDs recaptures the splendor of their acclaimed Long Gone Before Daylight album, and goes that one step further to help The Cardigans shed the sugary pop image they adopted with the hit Lovefool from Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet soundtrack (You know the one - Lovin' me, lovin' me. Say that you love me! It's obnoxiously hard to get out of your head.) With mature themes, a topnotch sound and alternately depressing and heartening rhythms, The Cardigans have established themselves as more than a passing sunshine hit. Key tracks: I Need Some Fine Wine and You - You Need To Be Nicer, Little Black Cloud, In the Round, Good Morning Joan, And Then You Kissed Me II.
BeautifulGarbage ~ Garbage (2001) Following up the success of their Grammy-nominated Version 2.0 was a hard act. Garbage abandoned more of the darker, suicidal themes from their previous two albums to chase a dream of danceable, synthetic beats and bask in gay-themed romps. And they did a great job, proving that they're range extended past the mundane and depressing. Unfortunately, their new sound wasn't a welcome change to many fans and Beautifulgarbage was all but ignored. A sad circumstance, given that it contains some of the best music out there. Key tracks: Cup of Coffee, Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go), Drive You Home, Parade, Untouchable.
And one more...
Long Gone Before Daylight ~ The Cardigans (2003) After Lovefool, The Cardigans went too far and released a critically-panned overdone dark CD entitled Gran Turismo. After the album's failure, the group took a five-year break from music before returning with a CD worthy of their talent in the form of Long Gone Before Daylight. A beautiful CD where every track is a gem, this is a classic not to be missed. Key tracks: Communication, And Then You Kissed Me, For What It's Worth, Live and Learn, Feathers and Down.