Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Single file:

The reigning king of the lyrical non-sequitur, hip-hop division, returns as Ghostface Killah teams with Missy Elliott on "Tush," which is decidedly not a ZZ Top cover. Backed by a crazy disco-funk track (anyone know what that sample's from?), Ghost and Missy trade verses about, well, gettin' up in her tush, tush, tush (which rhymes with "bush," "push," and "shush," by the way) and just generally do their thing. Musically, "Tush" is a lot less hard than most of Ghost's catalog - though he's never been afraid to ride a limb - which works to its advantage here. "Tush" (titled "Push" in its radio edit) sounds like little else out there at the moment; it deserves to be a huge springtime smash. Radio's never seemed to cotton to Ghost before, so hopefully the addition of Ms. Elliott will break down some barriers. A-

Praise be, Teena Marie is back! And perhaps more importantly, she's not trying to do anything she shouldn't on her comeback single, "Still In Love" (apart, possibly, from bizarrely signing with Cash Money Records - whaaat?!). This is classic Teena, sultry and sexy without being smutty, with an old-soul kinda backing and no guest stars. It's all about Teena Marie. As it should be. B+

Aerosmith's blues record, Honkin' On Bobo, finally surfaces (in stores) today. It's led by their cover of the Big Joe Williams standard "Baby Please Don't Go" - and don't be afraid of the fact that this is allegedly "blues." More like blooze, this is Boston's finest taking on some of their favorites and doing them in decidedly Aerostyle, all messy and nasty, with Joe Perry wailing away on his guitar as Steven Perry does the same on the mic. There's no reverence to be found here, but a whole lotta love nonetheless. If you're mainly familiar with the Them version of "Baby," you ain't heard nothin'. This is a superb move by Aerosmith - one they should've made years ago, perhaps? A-

After three albums' worth of decent-to-good uptempo tunes and soppy ballads (such as his last single, the fairly insulting "Little Things"), Brad Paisley has finely come out with a ballad befitting his considerable trad-country strengths. "Whiskey Lullaby," a duet with (who else?) Alison Krauss, is a sad, sad song about those eternal country subjects, lost love and the bottle. Its instrumentation is suitably understated, allowing the song's lyric (and its singer's voices) to take center stage, which they do in sterling fashion. Country radio probably won't latch on to this one, seeing it as too much of a "downer," which is (as usual) a shame. "Lullaby" is a frontrunner for the best country single of 2004. A

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