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Parents' guide to music

We rate the kid-friendliness of Hanson’s ”Middle of Nowhere,” Jewel’s ”Pieces of You,” and more

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Parents’ guide to music

BATMAN & ROBIN

ARTISTS Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., Jewel, and others

WHO Top musicians performing songs ”from and inspired by” the blockbuster movie.

MUSICAL STYLE Rock, pop

THINK FM radio

RECURRENT THEMES Change, identity, heroes and villains

TYPICAL LYRIC ”And now the kingdom comes crashing down and down/And I am master of a nothing place.” (Pumpkins)

SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT None of the Dynamic Duo’s pow! wham! bam!, but the overall vision is dark.

LANGUAGE Holy role model! Hardly a bad word is uttered.

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT The female artists are as strong as Batgirl herself.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD Most of the songs have nothing to do with the movie.


MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

ARTISTS Hanson

WHO A towheaded trio of teen-idol brothers from Tulsa.

MUSICAL STYLE Bubblegum pop

THINK Osmonds

RECURRENT THEMES Girls, girls, girls

TYPICAL LYRIC ”You’re always on my mind, you’re always in my head/And I can’t live, I can’t live another day without you.”

SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT None

LANGUAGE The boys’ record is spotless.

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT It’s proof that young boys can make a hit that’s upbeat rather than about beating up people.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD Eventually, 14-year-old lead singer Taylor’s voice is going to change.


PIECES OF YOU

ARTISTS Jewel

WHO Hot Alaskan soul searcher with a gem of a voice.

MUSICAL STYLE Coffeehouse folk

THINK Joni Mitchell minus IQ points

RECURRENT THEMES Relationships, the state of the world

TYPICAL LYRIC ”Please be careful with me, I’m sensitive/And I’d like to stay that way.”

SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT A couple of sexual references in a romantic context.

LANGUAGE Poetic

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT Teenage girls may be inspired to pick up a guitar and put their diary thoughts to music.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD They may want to check out the writings of Anais Nin, who’s referred to in one song.


SPICE

ARTISTS Spice Girls

WHO British pop quintet whose motto is ”girl power.”

MUSICAL STYLE Girl-group harmonizing with a dash of hip-hop lite

THINK Go-Go’s with attitude

RECURRENT THEMES Love without victimization

TYPICAL LYRIC ”If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.”

SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT PG-rated fantasies and come-ons.

LANGUAGE Tame

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT Moms are given ”cool” status by their daughters in the maternal love song ”Mama.”

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD With their brash attitudes and rude behavior, the girls may not be ideal role models.


WU-TANG FOREVER

ARTISTS Wu-Tang Clan

WHO Eight East Coast MCs whose debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), gangbusted its way onto the charts four years ago.

MUSICAL STYLE Hardcore hip-hop

THINK Public Enemy

RECURRENT THEMES Revolution, murder, sex

TYPICAL LYRIC #@%! #@%! #@%! #@%!

SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT Constant and explicit.

LANGUAGE Every track warrants the parental advisory warning.

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT Occasional positive messages like ”You can’t drink your life away/You can’t smoke your life away.”

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD A few songs demean women, and the two-CD set means twice as much profanity.