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Nick Drake: Pink Moon
By Christina Kim, 16, South Pasadena HS
In discovering Nick Drake‘s album, Pink Moon, I not only found great music, but an entire experience. Simply listening to a few songs on this album will age you 100 years—finishing Pink Moon in one sitting will make you feel as if you’d traveled the world bathed in twilight, holding hands with Nick. Like the best things in life, this album, and the singer himself, cannot be described in mere words. His songs must be felt, his words absorbed with closed eyes and open ears. Pink Moon is gaunt and desperately plain, showcasing only Nick Drake’s painfully soft and beautiful voice, his masterful acoustic guitar and a hint of piano.

I am sure that this music is not for everyone. It is spare, reedy, quiet, and haunting, driven not by a hard beat or powerful vocals, but by a detached loveliness. You will not remember the songs on this album in the way you might remember any other song. Long after you have finished listening to Pink Moon you will remember such cathartic songs as "Things Behind the Sun" and "From the Morning" like sun-drenched memories from some distant past. If you have been searching for something deeper in your music, try the somber melodies of Nick Drake.

50 Cent: Get Rich or Die Tryin’
By Ann Beisch, 17, Marymount HS

With the release of Eminem‘s movie 8 Mile came the song, "Wanksta" which was first featured on the soundtrack. The song’s popularity interested many in the rhymes and rants of rapper 50 Cent. When 50’s record came out, sales records were broken and even I, an avid user of Kazaa, shelled out the $13.99 for his CD.

50’s tainted past seems to ignite a deep anger and intense emotions that are represented throughout the record. Track four, "Many Men" describes the people "who wish death upon" him and a few of 50’s other tracks complain about the "poser gangsters" which he describes in his first single, "Wanksta." 50’s accusation that Ja Rule and his "hip hop princess" Ashanti are "poser gangsters" due to their lack of experience on the streets, fired up the rivalry between Ja Rule and 50 Cent.

Stylistically, he has the ability to switch from a haunting and resentful tone all the way to track 11’s "P.I.M.P." attitude. 50’s record is must-have because its beats are hypnotizing, lyrics creative and his style is unlike any other present rapper.

The Ataris: So long, Astoria
By Ann Beisch

Some people may not know the new album, which was released March 12, is The Ataris’ fifth album. But this album is gaining a lot more publicity because it is The Ataris’ debut record with Columbia Records. The group’s song, "In this Diary" is getting played on KROQ and the video debuted on TRL on MTV. Many feel that the switch for The Ataris from Kung Fu Records to Columbia gave the whole album what lead singer Kris Roe described as, "straight-forward powerpop rock vibe." Fans are left to wonder where the punk aspects of this record were hidden. What once attracted me to The Ataris—the raw sound of electric guitar and Kris’s hardcore vocals—are lost on So long, Astoria.

The lyrics are innovative, providing the listener with several examples of insights on memory: "Life is only as good as the memories we make/ and I’m taking back what belongs to me/ Polaroids of classrooms unattended/ These relics of remembrance are just like shipwrecks/ only they’re gone faster than the smell after it rains."

Unfortunately, all I can say about this record is: sell-out. If you want to hear what made me drive to Santa Barbara to see them, then listen to "Blue Skies, Broken Hearts … Next 12 Exits."