Many thanks to Christina for sending me this review.
* * 1/2 Various Artists "Great Expectations: The Album" Atlantic
By Natalie Nichols.
The most striking thing about this hodgepodge of alt-rock stars and unknowns is just how much influence the Beatles still hold over contemporary pop. Almost all of the 16 tracks bear the mark of the Fab Four somewhere--in melody, arrangement or backbeat.
But "Great Expectations" also conjures the moods you'd expect to dominate a modern coming-of-age story, as restlessness and self-absorption color everything from Tori Amos' dramatic, piano-driven "Siren" to Mono's trip-hop fantasia "Life in Mono" to the Verve Pipe's blithely masochistic rocker "Her Ornament."
Nine tunes are new recordings by such hot properties du jour as Pulp, Poe and Duncan Sheik, whose melancholy "Wishful Thinking," the collection's first single, has a psychedelic pop hook that would make it a perfect summertime tune (too bad it's the middle of winter). But probably most anticipated are debut solo works from former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and Stone Temple Pilots leader Scott Weiland.
Each singer departs from his band's sound, although Cornell stays closer to home with "Sunshower," a sprawling, Traffic-esque romp that grows ever more bombastic, fueled by his histrionic vocalizing. Weiland turns in an epic, glam-spangled mini-cabaret act of a performance on "Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down," an obsessive, delightfully shambling waltz laced with piano and strings.
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