Surreal, otherworldly and occasionally nightmarish, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II provides a visionary perspective on ambient electronic music.
But the real miracle of Bee Thousand is that it not only celebrates the power of rock music, it also embodies it. "I am a lost soul/I shoot myself with rock & roll," Pollard sings on "I Am a Scientist," "but nothing else can set me free."
Rage Against the Machine may never ignite the youth war they want to see. But at last, with The Battle of Los Angeles, they've managed to win a war within — one in which the band's notoriously feuding members have come together to produce a sound that's not quite louder than a bomb but that's definitely as loud as Led Zeppelin II.
There are no treatises on ecology or foreign policy, no oblique strategies or hidden agendas. There doesn't have to be; all of that is implicit in the atmosphere of entropy, of things falling apart, that's evoked and detailed candidly, with glimmering beauty and unsurpassable sadness, on Out of Time.
Baduizm was produced by, among others, newcomer Madakwu Chinwah and the Philadelphian rap instrumentalists Roots, who know something about making hip-hop with an organic feel. But Badu, of course, is the real focus here: Baduizm showcases the heart and soul of a bohemian B-girl who happens to have an effortless jazz swing.
Depeche Mode's more tranquil hymns do have an ambient charm. But when the boys in the band try to make you dance, they revert to morose pop psychology and then never tell you how come they're so sad.
But Vitalogy isn't Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, nor does it seem like a tossed-off interlude like Zooropa. It's more a portrait of an artist in crisis, a man who hasn't yet decided what direction to take next.