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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Feeling Dizzy, Heavy and Lit Up

By Daniel J. Katz
STAFF REPORTER

Looks like the newest trend on the mainstream rock scene is simultaneous multiformat releases. Collective Soul and the Goo Goo Dolls are each currently promoting two different singles, one for rock radio and one for pop radio. The Goo Goo Dolls’ big song right now is “Dizzy,” a hummable rock tune with a quietly fuming guitar line. While it’s not a perfect song (too much of it is devoted to repetition of the chorus), it’s better than their lighter single, “Black Balloon,” which tries to be slow, haunting, and beautiful. It only accomplishes the first. Collective Soul’s light pop release, “Run,” is much more successful, with nicely understated slide guitars and a nice acoustic rhythm part. But the big winner here is Collective Soul’s “Heavy,” currently a mainstay on Billboard’s Modern and Mainstream Rock charts. With its crunchy riff and nifty melody, “Heavy” shows power that the band hasn’t put into a single since “Gel.” Keep it up, boys.

* I suppose that if you’ve been living inside an incredibly deep cave for the last few months holding your ears, there’s a minuscule chance that you haven’t heard Sugar Ray’s “Every Morning” (which may eventually have driven you to do just that). While it’s not the most brilliant song ever to hit the radio, give them credit; it’s about a thousand times deeper than “Fly,” the band’s earlier pop hit. Which brings me to Citizen King’s “Better Days (And The Bottom Drops Out),” which is extremely similar to “Fly,” but with more feeling and more earthy rhythm. Sugar Ray is in actuality a hard rock band that releases pop singles, but Citizen King’s tune is honest, entertaining, and all in all, an excellent first effort.

* Nice to see some mainstream coverage for the Lo-Fidelity Allstars, whose version of “Battleflag,” featuring Pigeonhead, is now a buzz clip on MTV. The song starts with a dark tone that evokes thoughts of a barren wasteland before a sharp keyboard riff kicks in under the slick British vocals. This single’s been out for a while now, and while it’s odd that MTV only just picked it up, better late than never.

* Time for a look at the Kornesque bands that the kids love so much. Kid Rock scores with “Bawitdaba,” a sinister rap-rock ditty with scat lyrics that sound like a Marilyn Manson rendition of “Rapper’s Delight.” On the other end of the spectrum, Staind, the newest member of Korn’s label, Elementree, bores with “Just Go,” a mediocre attempt at combining the angry volume of Korn with the style of Limp Bizkit, ending up with a big mess.

* Counting Crows and Counting Fauxs are seeking airplay at the moment. Counting Crows has an excellent song on the soundtrack to Cruel Intentions; My Friend Steve has a new single on which they sound completely identical to Counting Crows. How do you tell the difference? The latter isn’t any good.

* Buckcherry’s “Lit Up” brings back memories of a time when the Black Crowes made music that didn’t plod along. It’s a solid package of skillful drumming, powerful guitars, and energetic vocals. This one’s a keeper.

* And in closing, a correction from last week. Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” is not in fact, based on a Kurt Vonnegut speech, as was circulated through a massive e-mail chain over the last year. The lyrics are actually from an editorial newspaper article. But more important than the source, is this universal truth: the song’s irritating as all hell.

* Have any comments or suggestions? E-mail airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu. Until next time, have a good week and keep expanding your horizons.