Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

CD Reviews ; Reviews of Recent CDs

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

CD Reviews ; Reviews of Recent CDs

Article excerpt

COUNTRY

Kenny Chesney - No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems (BMG): Fans of modern country music will find Chesney's seventh and latest CD enjoyable and emotional. Perhaps the strongest track: the regret- laced "A Lot of Things Different." From being too shy to skinny dip, to not standing up against a bully, to failing to show a woman his love for her, Chesney's half-spoken, half-sung delivery makes you wish you could go back and relive your youth. But Chesney's next song reminds us that memories aren't always bad. "The Good Stuff" features two men at a bar sharing a glass of milk and celebrating the love in their lives. And the CD's title cut is perfect for a trip to the beach. - Vic Roberts

POP/ROCK

Craig Armstrong - As if to Nothing (Astralwerks): Armstrong is the go-to guy when Madonna or U2 needs an orchestral arrangement or when films such as "Romeo and Juliet" and "Plunkett and McLaine" need a soundtrack with an edge. Fresh from his Golden Globe win for the score to "Moulin Rouge," the composer has produced a second solo album that fuses electronic beats with string sections that are either ominous ("Ruthless Gravity") or sprightly ("Finding Beauty"). Not all of the album is instrumental. Though David McAlmont's voice makes "Snow" too slushy, grit comes courtesy of Evan Dando on the grand "Wake Up in New York" and Bono's reworking of U2's "Stay." Like his film scores, this is atmospheric stuff. - Stephen Humphries

Sheryl Crow - C'mon, c'mon (A&M): Sheryl Crow's stated intention was to make a record that evoked classic '70s rock. And from the retro outfit on the sun-dappled cover to guest icons from that decade, such as Don Henley and Stevie Nicks, Crow seems to have all the elements in place. There's just one problem: The songs are more Bad Company than they are Led Zeppelin. There are hummable tunes ("Soak Up the Sun," "Over You") but too many seem to be throwaway efforts, and Crow has largely left her emotions behind on these recordings. It's only in the duet "Weather Channel" with Emmylou Harris that we get a glimpse of the songwriter who produced 1998's seminal "Globe Sessions" album. - S.H.

Celine Dion - A New Day Has Come (Epic/Sony): Celine Dion's highly touted "return" is simply more of the same. While varying degrees of success are achieved through her chameleon-like ability to recall artists ranging from the Bee Gees ("I'm Alive") to Sheryl Crow ("Ten Days"), Dion ultimately sounds more like a polished cover band than an authentic interpreter of song. At 16 tracks, the album - like her Titanic hit - just seems to go on and on.... - Bill Wright

Chris Isaak - Always Got Tonight (Reprise): With his gelled James Dean hair, outrageous Vegas suits, and Elvis and Roy Orbison influences, Chris Isaak is believable when he sings "I'm the original American boy" on this, his eighth album. …

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