Let the Worshippers Arise (2004) – Philips, Craig & Dean
This was a gift. Not in the metaphorical sense of a gift of art from the universe. A literal gift from a friend. As always, soaring harmonies from this contemporary gospel group, though the somewhat techno arrangements were a bit offputting. Particularly the one electronic tone that seemed to open every other track. There were some good songs; they mashed up two very different versions of In Christ Alone to create a nice medley; the title track is very good as is You are God Alone. Solid, if reasonably unremarkable. I wouldn’t have bought it for myself and you probably shouldn’t either.
Happy Christmas Vol. 2 (1999) – Various Artists
Well, this one was substantially worse than the first one; Joy Electric murders Lollipop Parade and iconic rock group The Lost Dogs does a cringe inducing 'funny' version of The Chipmunk Song. Slay me now. Most of the rest of the songs are just plain boring, as clichéd in their edginess as most Christmas songs are in their blandness. There are a few exceptions: Hangnail's stomping, punked up, incredibly fast take on O Little Town of Bethlehem is a stunner; MxPx contributes an original raver, Christmas Day, with a sing/shout chorus to die for; and Sixpence None the Richer does a fantastic acoustic version of You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch, though the mix was a bit off and Nash kept getting buried when she tried to do the spoken parts; sad since she has about the sexiest voice I've ever heard. Regardless, this one was a real step down in quality from the first CD in this series.
Totally Hits 2 (2000) – Various Artists
Nothing is so hilarious as a greatest pop hits compilation a decade late. These songs were hits? Really? Mostly mediocre compilation, with a few songs that still kind of hold up, like TLC’s Dear Lie and Christina Aguilera’s Genie in a Bottle (yes, you heard me right). It did make me want to hear Moby's Play again though, by virtue of having the absolutely astonishing Natural Blues on it, so maybe it evened out.
Greatest Hits (1995) – Lorrie Morgan
If these are her greatest hits, I'm glad I haven't heard her weaker stuff. Her full name is Loretta Lynn Morgan and you can tell it by her ambition, but unfortunately, the songs here are mostly weak, the music mostly MOR and her voice has none of the distinctiveness of Lynn or Cline or Bobbie Gentry or any of the country stars she probably wants to be like. Five Minutes is a pretty good song, understandable when you note it’s a Beth Nielsen Chapman tune and Something in Red would have been a great song if they’d pushed the concept just a little bit farther. On the whole, weak.
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: Flatt & Scruggs (2001) – Flatt & Scruggs
I have the same problem with this compilation that I have with about all of the 20th Century Master CDs; it’s too short. It’s great to hear these old tunes remastered and still crackling with energy. But the CD is barely over half an hour. Could have packed more great stuff on there. But what’s here is cherce, as they say. People still say this music isn’t intellectual or sophisticated; well, fair enough, but has any music ever been as much fun? Cue up Foggy Mountain Breakdown and just try to keep the smile off your face.