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Nelly
Country Grammar

If Nelly was the king of the world we’d all be chilling in the hood, waving our gats in the air and capping off every sucker MC who’s style wasn’t fresh. We’d ride around in expensive cars while big booty ho’s passed the chronic and danced. He’d be 50 feet tall and we’d flock in droves to praise his flow and his wealth. Unfortunately, Nelly is the king of nothing and his only destiny is the bottom of a bargain bucket. “Country Grammar”, the title cut and the reason this album was made did the rounds on BET and Muchmusic and has had pretty good airplay, but everyone will be sick of it soon. After that we won’t be seeing much more of Nelly.

There is an endearing tune written to his mother that laments the fact that they don’t smoke indo together no more, and why that really bums him out. In a parallel universe this song and “Thicky Thick Girl” would be burning up the clubs, making the crowd go nuts. In this one they just suck.

— Dave Wong

54-40
Casual Viewing

Casual Viewing, 54-40’s newly-released album sees the band return to a style that was present in past songs like She-La and One Gun.

To be quite honest, the band’s last CD did not impress. It had a feeling of being rushed, devoid of true inspiration and creativity conforming more to the deadline of the record label and less to the artistic flare of the band.

On the other hand, this CD, with its first release “Casual Viewing” is a great collection of songs. It’s an album that you can put in your CD player and just let play without having to make a mad dash to the skip button.

It starts off with the upbeat tempo of the title track, and this feeling is carried throughout the album. When it comes right down to it, Casual Viewing is just not a CD with one good radio hit, it is a total play list that can stand alone.

— Matt McKinnon

Olive
Trickle

The UK combo of Ruth-Ann and Tim Kellett (a former member of Simply Red) have released their second album under Madonna’s Maverick label. After winning success on the British charts with their debut album in 1997, Olive are back with a more grown up sound. Unaware of their sound? Olive falls under the umbrella term of ‘electronica’, which basically means pretty British female vocal backed by happy dance beats/morose slow beats. That isn’t to say that Trickle is uninspired. Perhaps just unoriginal. Ruth-Ann’s vocals are what make this album different from garden variety electronica. Lyrically, however, Olive don’t offer anything new or insightful.

There is an interesting cover of 80’s band 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love” that starts out nice, but tapers off into mediocrity. Particularly pleasurable are the tracks “Love Affair”, “Push” and “Creature of Comfort”.

If you like Portishead, but wish they were happier, or Morcheeba, but wish they were more electronic, then seek out Olive.

— Alicia Cox

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