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Pop: Album reviews

Common: One Day It'll All Make Sense (Relativity, below) Compelling US urban-life philosophy and a warm style makes this one of the strongest rap albums of recent times. The fact individuals as diverse as Foxy Brown, Louis Farrakhan and Stevie Wonder are mentioned in the first five minutes tells you much about vast perspectives taken on board. Fugees gal Lauryn Hill and the wonderful Erykah Badu are guests here. HHHH

The Geraldine Fibbers: Butch (Virgin America)

Country music with fangs from the melodically astute Fibbers. It swings from the fem-rock tempestuousness of "I Killed The Cuckoo" to the swaying country of "Trashman In Furs". When they turn on the petulant power pop of "Seven Or In Ten" they share more in common with Hole than the stetsons brigade, but it's back to Nashville for "Folks Like Me". HHH

Various Artists: Lounge-A-Palooza (Hollywood Records) A frisky blighter of a compilation that vaults over your cynicism about easy listening. Polly Jean Harvey is almost unrecognisable as she turns silky torch song warbler for "Zaz Turned Blue", but best are the songs by "alternative" artists given the suave lounge treatment. Ben Folds Five rumba through "The Flaming Lips" and "She Don't Use Jelly", while Steve and Eddie turn the heavy-metal "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden into a wondrous strings- drenched ballad. Utterly bizarre. HHHH

Recoil: Unsound Methods (Mute) Sadly, the title of this album by the former Depeche Mode member Alan Wilder rings all too true. The dark, stream- of-consciousness style album commits all the crimes of the unfocused artist: self-indulgence ("Drifting") self-importance ("Incubus") and pretension, in the form of horrendous storyteller babble ("Luscious Apparatus"). HH

HHHHHexcellent HHHH good HHH average HH poor