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I've gotta be honest with you: This album pissed me off! Thumbs up for the cover, on which the Divine Miss B displays a hottie hairstyle, bare shoulders and a smile that seems to say, "Hey, sailor -- plastic warms to the touch." When I popped in the disc, though, the first thing I heard was a rendition of OutKast's "Hey Ya" belted by...some dude! I first assumed it must be Ken, but Barbie recently gave him his walking papers, right? Besides, this singer has a little bit of flava, and everyone knows Ken is flava-free. So who is the mystery man, and is Barbie doing him? The disc provides no information. None!

That's the way it goes throughout Mix, a batch of tunes popularized by the likes of Shania Twain, Faith Hill and Britney Spears as performed by, well, somebody. "With You" is no more phony than the original by Jessica Simpson, who -- face it -- is pretty prefab herself. Yet the line about having "nothin' but a T-shirt on" would be soooo much more meaningful if we had a clue which doll delivered it. Might be Babs, seen inside the CD's jacket wearing a top whose slogan ("Pink It Up!") is pure Larry Flynt. But couldn't it also be Christie or Midge, captured in glamour shots of their own? Granted, this last pair look awfully fine with their mini-skirts and guitars, despite having their necks twisted at unnatural angles. Still, how can a guy work up a good fantasy if he's not sure who he's fantasizing about?

I'm going back to Toys 'R' Us to demand a refund!

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts