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Jim Farber


  • The One

    Buying an Elton John album these days is like investing in a mutual fund: You won't get a huge payoff, but you probably won't get burned either. As with recent portfolios offered by bankable rockers Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton, audiences buy into John's work at this point for a familiar sense of craft, not […]

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  • All This Useless Beauty

    Writing songs for other performers brings out the best in Elvis Costello. On his latest work, Costello "covers" tunes he's penned for other artists, including the British folk singer June Tabor and ex-Byrd Roger McGuinn. Surprisingly, what could have wound up a hodgepodge or an intellectual exercise ends up the most likable and organic Costello […]

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  • The Stones Got Tape if You Want It

    New Lorne Michaels-produced video features rare Stones footage

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  • One Night Of Sin

    It's been years since anyone expected greatness from a Joe Cocker album. True believers have come to rate Cocker's albums on a bell curve, getting by on the relative terseness of Sheffield Steel or the promising punch of last year's Unchain My Heart. The latter album was too slick and conformist for Cocker, but at […]

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  • Rank

    Rank, a concert album from the late, great Smiths, offers the liveliest postmortem imaginable. Rather than being an exploitative rehash, it realizes the greatest goal of a live album, namely, to offer a full reinterpretation of a band's work. The songs are significantly speeded up, compared with the studio versions; they are toughened up as […]

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  • Blow up Your Video

    It's time the world stopped thinking of AC/DC as just a heavy-metal band. For thirteen albums now, Angus and Malcolm Young have been crafting the kind of guitar riffs any Who-style rock & roll band would kill for. Better yet, the members of AC/DC have allowed no production compromises whatsoever: they've carved every one of […]

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  • Louder Than Bombs

    Morrissey is modern pop's most creative masochist. From the start, the Smiths' singer and lyricist knew how to turn self-loathing into a virtue — by redeeming it with humor. Now after three U.S. albums establishing that M.O., this double package picks up the loose ends of the Smiths' career and gives Morrissey's character new depth. […]

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  • Good Music

    On a Joan Jett album, the pop touches should always be kept to a minimum. In the ideal mix, most of the melody should come from hooky but rock-hard riffs, without much frill on top. Jett's earlier LPs were terrific because they hit that tough balance dead center. But for her fifth outing, producers Ken […]

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  • Landing On Water

    After a series of musical one-night stands, Neil Young is finally getting serious again. His previous three albums were just dalliances — in electronic (Trans), rockabilly (Everybody's Rockin') and country (Old Ways) music — none of which were terribly meaningful or deeply felt. This time, however, Young has committed himself to a sound that's truly […]

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  • Computers That Make Waves

    Digital synthesizers take to the road

    • Music