Mini Reviews

Guilty Simpson, Ode to the Ghetto (Stones Throw). As guilty as the Juice might've been, Guilty Simpson is equally culpable of having tons of potential and not doing much with it. Laid back, even smart at times, Ode is Guilty's debut, and the (sparse) clever wordplay and occasional dope beats just don't justify its release. Andrew Fersch

Flo Rida, Mail on Sunday (Atlantic). "Low," co-starring T-Pain, is an irresistible one-shot in the tradition of Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It" (which you're singing to yourself right now, completely against your will). Nothing else here is anywhere near as strong, including the latest single, the humdrum, Timbaland-helmed "Elevator." For Flo, his "Low" point remains his high point. Roberts

Fozzy, All That Remains Reloaded (Ash Records). In 2000, douchebag pro wrestler Chris Jericho released one of the most bad-ass metal albums few people ever heard — and then released this steaming heap of musical and lyrical embarrassment. The disc hasn't improved with age, and is to metal what Avril Lavigne is to punk rock. — Fersch

Sia, Some People Have Real Problems (Hear Music). Sia Furler's voice is almost as flexible as Frank Caliendo's, but that's not always a good thing. Rather than simply sing these snippets of Starbuckery, she alternately coos, whoops, warbles and rasps in a manner that seems about as spontaneous as the invasion of Iraq. She'd be more affecting without all the affectations. — Roberts

Super Furry Animals, Hey Venus (Rough Trade). Envision a group full of musical geniuses that hasn't medicated its collective A.D.D., and this is what you'd see. Hey Venus doesn't completely abandon the electronic space symphonies explored in previous records, but it does focus more efficiently on the act's gorgeous melodies. They're still absurd, though, as evidenced by the wild "Baby Ate My Eightball." >— Nick Schreiber

Various ArtistsI'm Not There Original Soundtrack (Sony BMG). Dylan purists will probably decry this expansive collection of covers by a wide variety of artists. Utilizing old folkies (Roger McGuinn, Ramblin' Jack Elliot) and indie stars (Cat Power, Stephen Malkmus), the soundtrack hits on fan favorites and hidden gems with enjoyable balance, regardless of what Dylan snobs would have you believe. Schreiber

 
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