Sun, 12 Nov 2000

On the records

Album: Lucy Pearl (PT EMI Indonesia/2000); Artist: Lucy Pearl

What would happen if three hip-hop artists from three different groups got together, formed a new group and made an album?

In the case of Lucy Pearl, it resulted in a groovy record that makes your body move from the first track right on through to the last.

Lucy Pearl is a collaboration of Tony Toni Tone's Raphael Saadiq, girls quartet En Vogue's Dawn Robinson and Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest.

Their self-titled debut album presents 15 tracks of hip-hop, pop and R&B.

This album, which Saadiq, Robinson and Muhammad produced, as well as writing most of the songs, is really fresh.

They mix different sounds together -- a lot of bass, samples, drum programming, jazz elements -- and put them neatly in the tracks.

Dance Tonight is a sexy number backed by the South Central Chamber Orchestra and a string section. LaLa is a bit jazzy with flute and percussion, while You features rappers Snoop Dogg and Q Tip.

The last track, Lucy Pearl Tells, is accompanied by the Alabama A&M Marching Band from Alabama University.

Set against the numerous boy-bands and other bubblegummers singing fake and dumbed-down R&B and hip-hop, Lucy Pearl is a refreshing choice.

Album: Kid A (PT EMI Indonesia/2000); Artist: Radiohead

Sometimes the best way to listen to a record is to just listen to it. Simply listen and enjoy without trying to analyze the meaning of the lyrics, or worse, getting trapped in the useless and boring game of trying to classify the music as pop, rock, both or neither.

This is true for the latest album from the British rock band Radiohead, its fourth after Pablo Honey (1993), The Bends (1995) and OK Computer (1997).

Do not bother trying to decipher the words of vocalist Thom Yorke, who more often than not sounds as he is babbling rather than singing, and whose voice sometimes gives one the impression of something being squashed.

While it is indeed rock music that guitarists Jonny Greenwood and Ed O'Brien, bassist Colin Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway are playing, the so-called rock elements often are blurred and warped.

Some song titles are not synchronized with the music. The first track is titled Everything is in the Right Place, but it does not sound like everything is in the right place, with the distorted sound of a synthesizer mixed with electric piano.

Meanwhile, Optimistic hardly sounds optimistic, although this is probably the easiest song to digest.

But then again, just listen to all 10 tracks on the album, and you will find yourself entranced by the flow of mysterious, aching yet shivering sounds the band experiments with and explores.

Radiohead also retains its touches of humanity on this album, as with Pablo's Creep, which became an anthem for the less-than- perfect people of the world.

Kid A, according to the band, refers to the first human clone, who the band believes already exists. With this album, the band explores the consequences of playing God.

If there is any one word that can possibly describe this album, it is orgasmic. And you just might be moved to tears as this ingenious music flows over and into you. (Hera Diani)