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Parents' Guide to Albums

We compare releases from Mandy Moore, Macy Gray, Aimee Man, Dr. Dre and the Chili Peppers from the parent’s perspective

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SO REAL
Artist: Mandy Moore
Who: Frosted pop tart from Florida Musical style: Catchy, sugar-coated teen trifles
Think: Britney Spears’ kid sister
Recurrent themes: Love through hormone-tinted glasses
Typical lyric: ”You were my first slow dance/Thought that we had a chance/ But together was too hard for you/Hanging out with your friends”
Sex/violence content: Some sexually suggestive lyrics (”Take me all the way/Boy I want you to”)
Language: Tamer than her adult themes
What?s good about it: Even pop stars experience crushes and unrequited love
What?s not so good: Let’s just hope the 15-year-old singer is only thinking about this stuff

ON HOW LIFE IS Artist: Macy Gray
Who: A Mad Rasper
Musical style: A bold and eclectic soul sound
Think: Billie Holiday after an all-nighter
Recurrent themes: Bad love, sweaty love, self-love
Typical lyric: ”We had such a good time/Hey! Why didn’t you call me/I thought I’d see you again”
Sex/violence content: With titles like ”Caligula,” ”I’ve Committed Murder,” and ”Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak,” what do you think?
Language: Poignantly raw, but not for young ears
What?s good about it: Gray’s call to take charge of your life
What?s not so good: Continuing to love her abusive man (”Still”)

MAGNOLIA Artist: Aimee Mann
Who: Cult singer-songwriter gaining mainstrea recognition
Musical style: Moody and introspective alt-folk
Think: Postmodern Joni Mitchell
Recurrent themes: Loneliness, disappointment and alienation
Typical lyric: ”Even when it’s approaching torture/I’ve got my routine”
Sex/violence content: Negligible
Language: Pure
What?s good about it: Serves as a real-life soundtrack for girls who didn’t make the cheerleading squad
What?s not so good: This is music to wallow in.

CALIFORNICATION Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Who: White boys playing that funky music
Musical style: From rap-sodic to reflective
Think: Red Hot Chili Peppers with a lot of water under the bridge
Recurrent themes: Sex (and its consequences)
Typical lyric: ”I’ll malinger on your block and give the finger to a copy and/Pick a lock before I knock and/Set you up to get on top”
Sex/violence content: They so horny
Language: Red Hot and blue
What?s good about it: Finally they show their sensitive side
What?s not so good: The title

2001 Artist: Dr. Dre
Who: Godfather of gangsta rap
Musical style: Hardcore hip-hop
Think: Rap-star-studded street party
Recurrent themes: Booty, bullets, and Dr. Dre
Typical lyric: ”#@!&%!!”
Sex/violence content: Yup
Language: Boy, is that parental advisory on the mark
What?s good about it: A heartfelt remembrance of his late brother in ”The Message”
What?s not so good: See Recurrent Themes and Typical Lyric above

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