Are you plugged in?

I found the best record reviews on the web. The site is called Plugged In and its mission statement is: “Helping parents and youth leaders guide teens through the world of popular youth culture.” And boy, does it ever. There are reviews of movies and television too, but the record reviews are the best. Critic Bob Waliszewski appears to be the author of most of these critiques and this guy can really turn a phrase. Check out how he skewers Beck’s Midnite Vultures:

Beck’s bizarre, nonsensical stream of consciousness flows into some stagnant pools. On “Debra” he propositions a store clerk, saying he wants to have sex with her and her sister, concluding, “Ain’t no use in wastin’ time getting to know each other . . . ’cause you got the thing I just got to get with.” “Milk & Honey” prattles about wet dreams, Buddha and roofies. Erotic fragments also refer to a ménage à trois (“Peaches & Cream”), sadomasochistic sex (“Sexx Laws”), hookers (“Pressure Zone”), incest (“Get Real Paid”), lesbianism (“Mixed Bizness”) and twisted fantasies involving public gratification (“Hollywood Freaks”). Beck’s sexual assault begins and ends with suggestive CD cover art.

Each review is divided into three sections: Pro-Social Content, Objectionable Content and Summary/Advisory. The Pro-Social Content is often “None,” as in the case of Dr. Dre’s 2001, Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe and Korn’s Follow the Leader. Every single critic in the world has an opinion about Radiohead’s Kid A, and here is Waliszewski’s take on its Pro-Social Content:

“Optimistic” tells fans that doing their best is good enough. Beyond that, the messages are generally neutral and obscure with lines like “I slipped on a little white lie/ We’ve got heads on sticks/ You’ve got ventriloquists” and “This one went to market/ This one just came out of the swamp/ This one dropped a payload.” Nebulous.

Nebulous! In his summary, he advises parents that “teens shouldn’t waste their time on what feels like a 50-minute soundtrack from a despairing hallucination.” Do yourself a favor and go get Plugged In.

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