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EW review: New Santana a big bore

Also: Decent Anastasio, Public Enemy

By David Browne
Entertainment Weekly

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Carlos Santana
Chuck D

(Entertainment Weekly) -- Santana recycles his Billboard-all-stars formula yet again on "All That I Am," this time rounding up everyone from Big Boi to Los Lonely Boys to (yikes!) Bo Bice.

And again, he saddles his guests with stupendously pedestrian material: perfunctory forays into rock-radio balladry ("Just Feel Better" with Steven Tyler), R&B soul ("My Man" with an unconvincingly upbeat Mary J. Blige), and desperate-housewife pop ("I'm Feeling You" with returnee Michelle Branch).

"New beginning, Carlos Santana!" exhorts Sean Paul at one point. Not quite.

EW Grade: C-

'Shine,' Trey Anastasio

Reviewed by David Browne

Trey Anastasio's "Shine," his first CD after Phish's split, helps explain why he felt it was time to move on: He wanted to rock -- or at least rock more than he had been.

With producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen) aboard, Anastasio's crafted the loud-but-tasteful, radio-friendly songs Phish were never able to create; for once, the anthems sound anthemic, not cutesy.

Next time around, though, he needs to hire a lyricist: Modern-hippie refrains like "love is freedom" and "the air said to me" prove you can take the boy out of Phish but you can't completely take Phish out of the boy.

EW Grade: B

'New Whirl Odor,' Public Enemy

Reviewed by Tom Sinclair

With so many current rappers opting for partying over politics, it's refreshing to hear Public Enemy frontman Chuck D's stentorian voice hectoring, indicting, and pontificating on "New Whirl Odor" like it was 1989 all over again.

As usual, the noisy, intermittently funky beats -- not to mention some characteristically zany trash-talking from the irrepressible Flavor Flav -- help lodge preachy tracks like "Check What You're Listening To" in your memory bank. And what other group would open an album with a spoken endorsement from the Rev. Al Sharpton?

EW Grade: B


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