CD reviews for March 24

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Fiona Apple

"Extraordinary Machine"

Available at All That Jazz for $16.98

We've waited a long time for Fiona's new CD.

The CD opens with "Extraordinary Machine," the perfect song to tiptoe you into the album. It makes you feel as if it's cool to be in the marching band, and it sets the stage for an old musical.

It's not until the second song, "Get Him Back," that you realize the CD was written by a girl fresh out of a break-up (The break-up was with director Paul Thomas Anderson).

Apple sings, "One man, he disappoint me/He give me the gouge and he take my glee/Now every other man I see/ remind me of the one man who disappoint me."

Lucky for Apple, she has the beautiful, sultry voice to back up her pain. And her voice is as beautiful and smoky as it was in her two previous albums.

She brings us back to a hopeful tempo in the dance song, "Tymps (The Sick In The Head Song)."

And you'll love how she pounds the keyboards in "Parting Gift."

Apple is an incredibly powerful performer to see live. But you can feel all her unbridled passion just by listening to this album.

Rating: Add another gigabyte to your iPod because you're gonna want to make sure that there's enough room to download this CD.

Jack Johnson and Friends

"Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the film Curious George"

On sale at All That Jazz for $14.98

Try, if you will, to imagine Jack Johnson producing another sweet, sexy, whimsical album. Then visualize it being the soundtrack to a movie about a cute little monkey.

It may be part of some formula for success. If you liked "Brushfire Fairytales," you will be pleasantly surprised that there are artists like Johnson who can stay true to their sound by not changing their style. Johnson has no surprises for you on this new album.

He enlists the talent of G. Love, Ben Harper and Matt Costa for myriad sing-a-longs and lullabies. Just make sure you have a down comforter, a window to a rainy day and something to cuddle with before you listen to "Wrong Turn."

Wait for a sunny day to listen to "We're Going Be Friends" because you're gonna want to skip down the sidewalk. You may even forget that this is an album that's fun for the whole family. The chorus "Reduce, reuse, recycle" will get stuck in your head after listening to "The 3 R's." They sound like the theme of this CD.

This album was produced by the Johnson you fell in love with. And that's no monkey business.

Rating: You might want to go see the movie, too.

Kanye West

"Late Registration"

On sale at All That Jazz for $15.98

If you close your eyes, move your hips from left to right, lift up your arms and drop back your head, you could be that sweaty clubber lost in your own Kanye West groove.

It's the typical hip-hop CD with some sweet bootie-shakin' songs that you'll want to play while you get dressed up to go out on the town. And it has those songs that you probably will skip over, promising yourself that you'll get into them later.

Listening to "Drive Slow," you feel the urge to lean back in your car seat -- left arm straight on the steering wheel -- and nod as the horns in the background cruise you down Lincoln Avenue.

I heard "Gold Digger" featuring Jamie Foxx for the first one million times when I was back East in the fall, and I never got sick of it. I'm still not sick of it. It is my favorite hip-hop song of the past year. "Get down girl, go ahead get down."

Rating: Wear comfortable shoes because you might want to get up and dance.

-- Allison Plean

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