13 items by Ben Ratliff

  • Discovery

    Discovery | ALBUM REVIEW

    Homework, the french duo Daft Punk's 1996 debut album, relied on sleazy electro-funk hooks and clever thefts of Seventies radio pop: It got you feeling good, though slightly covertly, since you didn't really know who these people...

    March 6, 2005 12:00 AM ET
  • American Life

    American Life | ALBUM REVIEW

    Madonna Ciccone has done it again: The forty-four-year-old guitar player from London via Detroit has taken the pulse of the nation, if not the whole Women's Wear Daily-reading world. American Life, her tenth album, isn't much as...

    April 22, 2003 12:00 AM ET
  • Chocolate City

    Chocolate City | ALBUM REVIEW

    After George Clinton's Funkadelic crashed and burned —; taking the whole era of psychedelic funk-rock with it —; up sprouted Parliament, an astonishing new group building wonderlands of fun and sass and ass and horns and keyboards....

    April 8, 2003 12:00 AM ET
  • Justified

    Justified | ALBUM REVIEW

    Justin has risked so much, girl, to have your business. The teen-pop movement has been filing toward the cliff of adulthood; as we watch, each adorable entertainer either falls or makes it to the other side....

    November 28, 2002 12:00 AM ET
  • Nirvana

    Nirvana | ALBUM REVIEW

    With its chorus of double-tracked, serrated, drowsy bellowing, "You Know You're Right" is the most Sabbath-esque song Kurt Cobain ever wrote. The last recording of his short career centers around harsh drones and repetitions. It is not...

    November 5, 2002 12:00 AM ET
  • American III: Solitary Man

    American III: Solitary Man | ALBUM REVIEW

    Even the best good ideas can get pushed too far, and for Johnny Cash, American III: Solitary Man is one Rick Rubin-built cover album over the line. The point with the Cash-Rubin series, which started in 1994...

    October 3, 2000 12:00 AM ET
  • If I Could Only Fly

    If I Could Only Fly | ALBUM REVIEW

    At this point, Merle Haggard's musical territory is staked out and grazed to the nubbin: slow, sauntering ballads, up-tempo country boogie, occasionally a little Western swing. No string sections, no synths, no exclamation marks. Staying clear of...

    October 3, 2000 12:00 AM ET
  • R


    The California desert: home of hot-rod proving grounds, heat hallucinations, alien abductions. It was the home, too, of Kyuss, a quartet started in the late Eighties by the teenage Josh Homme, a burnout visionary for what became...

    June 22, 2000 12:00 AM ET
  • Mule Variations

    Mule Variations | ALBUM REVIEW

    What Tom Waits does to the blues is something like what newspapers do to bright colors — in the way that a picture of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling ends up looking like roast beef in the morning...

    May 13, 1999 12:00 AM ET
  • Garage Inc.

    Garage Inc. | ALBUM REVIEW

    Interpreting other bands' songs isn't part of the rhetoric of heavy metal. It makes the distance between musician and fan too negligible; metal heroes are supposed to be lords of the realm beyond good and evil, not...

    November 17, 1998 12:00 AM ET
  • The Boy With The Arab Strap

    The Boy With The Arab Strap | ALBUM REVIEW

    The eight layabouts in the secretive Scottish band Belle and Sebastian are the new kings of the kind of teen-innocence porn that makes indie-rock fans cry "mama." Manufacturing an illusion of high school cuddliness without actually appealing...

    August 25, 1998 12:00 AM ET
  • A Thousand Leaves

    A Thousand Leaves | ALBUM REVIEW

    Once the music leaves your head, it's already compromised," reads a quote from Los Angeles musician Jack Brewer in the notes to Sonic Youth's 1994 album, Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star. Their next album, Washing...

    May 6, 1998 12:00 AM ET
  • In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

    In The Aeroplane Over The Sea | ALBUM REVIEW

    Those two great overgrown gardens of American mainstream pop, the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, have had oddly different effects on their admirers. Looked at one way, the albums responsibly connect with old American...

    February 13, 1998 12:00 AM ET