Jim Newell

Puff Daddy and the Family

No Way Out

Buying '97s No Way Out marked an important step in my record collection's evolution. It was the first album I ever bought with a "parental advisory" label. As if that wasn't enough gratification on its own, the actual music turned out to be pretty good as well. Spread out over 17 eclectic tracks, No Way Out features many of the best hip-hop artists of the time, including Busta Rhymes, Mase, Faith Hill and the late Notorious B.I.G. It was both a milestone album and the peak of Puff Daddy's career -- before he changed his name and threatened to kill people for not voting.

John Carroll

John Ashcroft

"Let the Eagle Soar"

You've got the American flag hanging in your window. You yelled at that guy with the rainbow sticker. You spied on that suspicious looking guy in the library. You're feeling patriotic, but if you're like me, not quite enough. John Ashcroft can help. "Let the Eagle Soar" is the American song of the century, and a fine note for the Attorney General to leave on. The song soars like the titular, homophobic eagle but also shows Ashcroft to be an Eminem-like wordsmith. Did he say "rocky coast," or "Iraqi coast"? We don't really know, and that's the way Ashcroft wants it. Double meaning. Think about it.

Eugenia Salvo

Dogs Die in Hot Cars

Please Describe Yourself

Okay, so Dogs Die in Hot Cars is probably one of the worst names in rock 'n' roll (except Hoobastank, but clearly they don't count here). Still, this album is easily one of my favorites of the year. Filling the witty, energetic, catchy pop void left by bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs when they departed into MTV-land, DDHC definitely bring the fun. They start off the album with the single "I Love You Cause I Have To" and end it by asking "Who Shot the Baby?" Amazing. And well, their album title almost makes up for the terrible band name.


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