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GrooveOut Shorts: Learn to Be Lonely

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Phantom of the Opera, Kelly & the Kellygirls and more.

By Troy Carrington, Leslie Claire, Lance Scott Walker, Andrea Rodricks, Suzie Lynde

Original Movie Soundtrack
The Phantom of the Opera

The original soundtrack recording of music from the new film The Phantom of the Opera features one of the most popular musical theater scores of all time. The CD includes a new end-title song, “Learn to Be Lonely,” written especially for the film and performed by Minnie Driver. The single-disc original soundtrack recording features all the key numbers from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score; a deluxe, specially priced two-disc version will include all of the music from the film in a collector’s edition package. The cast stars Scottish actor Gerard Butler in the title role, 18-year-old Emmy Rossum as Christine, and Tony nominee Patrick Wilson (Angels in America) as Raoul. The cast also includes Oscar nominees Minnie Driver and Miranda Richardson. The film is directed by openly gay Joel Schumacher. From Sony Classical (www.sonyclassical.com). —Troy Carrington

Kelly & the Kellygirls
swing swing
R. Kelly Clipperton takes an energetic and expressive approach in his new album, featuring his memorable voice to best effect. The debut album of Kelly & the Kellygirls, swing swing combines a mix of infectious dance beats and introspective lyrics. Clipperton’s resonant baritone voice, often compared to Peter Murphy’s, ranges from croon to growl on this album, completing the con-fident, driving sound of bass, horns, guitar, and percussion. His flamboyant style (no doubt well informed by his background as a hairstylist and a photographer) has metamorphosed through an assort-ment of looks, alighting for this album on luxuriant blonde locks. Formerly of the now-defunct project, Merkury Burn, Clipperton is well known for his bold, glam approach and a penchant for disrobing. The word most often used to describe him seems to be “sexy,” and he does indeed project a blatant sexuality and charisma that has proven impossible to ignore by his audiences. His dramatic, distinctive personal style is conveyed effectively in the music of this album, reflecting the magnetic appeal of his powerful stage presence. From Renaissance Projects/SOCAN. Info: www.kellyclipperton.com. —Leslie Claire

Alison Krauss & Union Station
Lonely Runs Both Ways
It’s been an unprecedented year for Alison Krauss and Union Sta-tion. Krauss won three Grammys in February, bringing her total to 17, more than any other female artist in the history of the awards. Produced by the band and recorded in Nashville, their new album Lonely Runs Both Ways features songs by some of the band’s favorite writers, and Krauss herself is a co-writer on “This Sad Song.” As with previous albums, Krauss shares lead vocals with Dan Tyminski and Ron Block. Krauss’s contributions to blockbuster soundtracks such as Cold Mountain and O Brother, Where Art Thou? have become touchstones for a widespread renaissance in American roots music. The group’s remarkable technical skill.enriches Krauss’s haunting and unpretentious vocals and the warmth and emotion of the band’s style. From Rounder Records (www.rounder.com). Info: www.alisonkrauss.com. —Suzie Lynde

Gwen Stefani
Love.Angel.Music.Baby

There’s something very ’80s about Gwen Stefani. You know, that Madonna-quality voice, the cutoff shorts she’s wearing on the cover of this album . . . but perhaps the most ’80s thing about Gwen is her really awful lyrics. High school quality lyrics about bananas and drive-in movies. The songs aren’t bad, though—actually better than No Doubt—and with that, there is little doubt that she’ll continue on her path to becoming the next great diva. From Interscope (www.interscope.com). —Lance Scott Walker

Chaka Khan
Classikhan
Chaka Khan has spent the last few years performing and preparing the release of Classikhan, the debut release on her Earthsong record label. Classihkan features the renowned London Symphony Orchestra accompanying her on songs such as “Is That All There Is?” and “The Best Is Yet to Come.” Working on 10 songs with producer/arranger Eve Nelson and three tracks with famed musician Joe Sample, Khan recorded most of her vocals at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London. Khan’s song choices for the album run the musical gamut: “Hey, Big Spender,” “I’m in the Mood for Love,” “Crazy,” and “To Sir, With Love.” The closing cut, the poignant yet lyrically powerful “I Believe,” was written by Khan herself. The lush arrangements of classic numbers, combined with Khan’s distinctive vocals, will be an instant favorite for retro enthusiasts and Khan’s fans alike. From AGU Music Group/Earthsong Records. Info: www.chakakhan.com. —SL

Britney Spears
Greatest Hits: My Prerogative
American pop culture icon Britney Spears’ five-year career has yielded so many hits that the 22-year-old has put out a Greatest Hits CD. The collection highlights the many changes in appearance, sound, and attitude the singer has blazed through since the start of her career. Dressed as a Catholic schoolgirl in the video for her debut single, “Baby One More Time” catapulted her into an international sex symbol. Since then she has managed to stay ahead of the game. This deluxe edition is an enticing collection of her greatest hits, unreleased tracks, and remixes all in an impressive CD package. Info: www.britneyspears.com.—Andrea Rodricks

Various Artists
Love Songs

These seven individual CDs (Chet Baker, Marlene Dietrich, Merle Haggard, Ramsey Lewis, Roy Orbison, Marty Robinson, Sarah Vaughan) are a collection of love songs that comprise some of the finest works by some of pop, rock, jazz, and country music’s finest artists. Vocally and instrumentally stunning, these CDs portray love in all its many splendors with pop-oriented ballads, jazz renditions, and country-infused love songs. The German-accented vocals of Marlene Dietrich may be an acquired taste, but the ravishingly beautiful and likely-bisexual songstress captivated audiences. The great Roy Orbison’s musical range pushed his music into country, pop, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll. These legends in the music world breathe life into the lyrics of these familiar favorites with soaring vocals and outstanding accompaniment. From Legacy (www.legacyrecordings.com/lovesongs). —AR

Various Artists
The Celtic Circle 2: More Legendary Music from a Mystical World
The Celtic Circle 2 offers a mix of traditional songs and evocative contemporary compositions, including contributions from Áine Minogue, Clannad lead singer Máire Brennan, Sarah McLachlan, and Rory Gallagher. The CD features collaborations between The Chief-tains and Sinéad O’Connor, The Chieftains and Sting, and Susan McKeown and Natalie Merchant. This two-disc set also includes spectacular renditions of mystical theme music from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Gladiator, Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, and “My Heart Will Go On” from the film Titanic. The enchanting compilation provides more than two hours of distinctive music in the Windham Hill tradition, which encourages meditation, relaxation, and peacefulness. From Windham Hill (www.windhamhill.com). —TC

Kimberley Locke
One Love
Kimberley Locke will be familiar already to American Idol audiences, coming in third behind Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken last summer. Having abandoned her life as a student to audition for the American Idol program, she has released her debut album, One Love . She lists as her inspirations Whitney Houston, Sade, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, and Janet Jackson; the album includes “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and a duet with Clay Aiken, “Without You.” From Curb Records (www.curb.com). Info: www.kimberleylockeweb.com. —SL

Queen Esther
Talkin’ Fishbowl Blues
If it’s a unique voice you crave, look no further than Queen Esther, because finding a sound more powerfully distinct than this would be a formidable task. Her sound, dubbed “Black Americana,” is a puzzle with many pieces: back-porch blues, old-time twang, sanctified gospel, and country rock. Her voice is strong enough that she can ignore musical conventions and still be heard loud and clear. Whether you love blues, rock, country, or pop music, she can give it to you—and in a way you’ve never experienced before. She injects her straight-up bluesy rock ‘n’ roll into everything she touches. From El Recordings. —SL

o Living Colour Live at CBGB’s
o Toad the Wet Sprocket Welcome Home: Live

o Soul Asylum After the Flood: Live from the Grand Forks Prom, June 28, 1997
While Living Colour and Toad the Wet Sprocket’s discs chronicle live gigs at their return home after lengthy tours at the onset of their careers, Soul Asylum trumps them convincingly with a recording of their performance at the Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1997 prom. Grand Forks had been ravaged by a flood all Spring, and the town was in a complete shambles, but the spirits of its high schoolers were easily picked up when Soul Asylum agreed to make them dance in an old airplane hanger—probably the only dry ground for miles around. From Columbia/Legacy (www.legacyrecordings.com). —LSW

The Cure
Three Imaginary Boys (reissue)
Talk about improving on an already perfect thing. The Cure’s 1979 debut album wasn’t exactly what the band had in mind at the time. They didn’t think it sounded like them, it was rushed, and the cover was drawn up without their consent. Nevertheless, this collection, which includes both the original album and a series of outtakes, rare tracks, and alternate versions, is a perfect snapshot of what the band was up to at that time besides their studio work. The only question that remains is why the brilliant, sultry “Winter”—another great song in a career of nothing but—was left off of Boys. By the way, every disc in Rhino’s Cure reissue campaign is going to be worth it. From Rhino (www.rhino.com). —LSW

Dirty Vegas
One

You don’t have to be straight to appreciate Playboy magazines of years past. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the magazine made countless statements on sexuality, art, and masculinity, both on its pages and its covers. Perhaps that message is what this British dance trio had in mind when they based this album’s artwork on age-old covers from the nearly obsolete magazine. It doesn’t quite come across in the music, no. But, hey, that’s like saying you read Playboy for the articles. From EMI (www.emirecords.co.uk). —LSW

DVD
Erasure
The Tank, the Swan, and the Balloon Live!

Erasure, composed of Vince Clarke and openly gay Andy Bell, is one of the most successful U.K. duos of all time. This live DVD was recorded at the Manchester Apollo in England on August 6, 1992, as part of their Phantasmagorical Entertainment tour. The spectacular live DVD is available in both 5.1 surround sound and stereo sound, and comes with a bonus disc which includes exclusive interviews and backstage footage. Directed by David Mallet, the DVD includes many of Erasure’s classic singles, including “A Little Respect,” “Sometimes,” “Oh L’Amour” and “Stop!” as well as the classic Abba covers. From Mute Corporation (www.mute.com). Info: www.erasureinfo.com. —TC

Tony Moran
Tour de Beats

If you’re looking for hard, sexy tribal beats and soaring diva vocals, then hop on board this party train. This continuously mixed compilation combines world-premiere remixes like Chad Jack’s production of Vernessa Mitchell’s “Took My Life,” exclusive unreleased productions like Kristine W’s “I’ll Be Your Light,” and hard-to-find club favorites like Suzanne Palmer’s “Luv 2 Luv” and Deborah Cox’s summer smash, “Easy as Life.” The double CD also features brand-new tracks from Deborah Cooper and rising queen Zhana Saunders. Cooper’s “Live You All Over” is a joyous love-fest with a rollicking hook sure to make dance floors sweat. Saunders’ “Waiting for Alegria” is a deliciously dark and sexy tribal anthem that pays homage to the New York City dance-party phenomenon Rick Sena’s “Alegria.” From Tommy Boy Entertainment (www.tommyboy.com). Info:   www.djtonymoran.com. — Troy Carrington

David Knapp
Party Groove: White Party Volume 6
Song selections for Party Groove stack up in true David Knapp form—diva-heavy and dance-floor primed. Knapp also selects his mixes carefully, drawing from the top shelf of America’s remix producers, including Victor Calderone, Tony Moran, Ralphi Rosario, and Mike Cruz. The 13 tracks blend songs from the global dance charts with new domestic releases, introducing us to new beats while satisfying our desire for the familiar. Chart-topping tracks featured on the album include the No. 1 international hit “Lola’s Theme” by Shape:UK and the No. 1 UK hit “Strings of Life” by Soul Central. America’s top names in dance are also featured in the new Knapp mix. Moran and Rosario put their golden touch on “Party Time” and “Mas Energia,” respectively, each raising the energy with their signature beats. From Centaur Music (www.centaurmusic.com). —TC

Various Artists
Top Shelf: Dance Volume 1
Top Shelf is the first of a series of compilations of different dance genres, showcasing both established and upcoming DJs. The CD features 16 handpicked sexy house grooves with a sprinkling of uplifting trance anthems, a stylish metropolitan mix for the dance floor with upfront anthems, and no shortage of juicy vocals. It proves to be a perfect soundtrack to a decadent, sweat-soaked, action-packed year ahead in the world of clubbing. KOCH Records product manager Geoffrey Colon says that the “music is reflective of what’s going on in nightclubs and not necessarily just what’s on the radio.” All of the music on the CD was mixed directly from its original vinyl source and includes tracks from Stonebridge, Martin Solveig, Sun, and more. From KOCH Records (www.kochrecords.com). — Susie Lynde

Sarah Atereth
You Wouldn’t Know How
Her music has been described as “melodic” and “atmospheric.” With pounding percussion and synth sequences underpinning the fragile vocals, the disk provides a variety of club mixes, including offerings from MacQ, Dr. Octavo, and Davy D. The single supplies an advance taste of Atereth’s upcoming debut album, Beguile, due out this spring. From Beguile Records/Light Year Entertainment. Info: www.thesarah.com. —SL

SINGLE

Martha Wash
“You Lift Me Up”
Legendary artist Martha Wash has released her first single in four years, “You Lift Me Up,” marking the debut of her Purple Rose label. Produced by Michael Hearn and Maurice Johnson, the track is a fierce gospel house-stomper with a message of hope and inspiration that kicks its message as hard as the beats that carry it. The single offers a taste from Martha’s forthcoming album, due out later in 2005. Martha has been a great favorite on the dance floor for more than two decades, from her days with Sylvester and Two Tons of Fun to her record-breaking pop sales with “Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” “Everybody, Everybody,” and “Strike It Up.” Millions of fans of her dance/pop repertoire will look forward to another offering by her powerful and unmistakable voice on this new single, available on CD maxi-single and 12-inch disk. From Purple Rose. Info: www.martha-wash.com. —SL

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