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Parents' Guide to Music

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RIGHTEOUS LOVE
Joan Osborne
WHO
Back-burnered songstress who in 1995 raised the controversial question, ”What if God was one of us?”
MUSICAL STYLE
A funk-rock-blues hybrid
THINK
Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin minus the hard living
RECURRENT THEMES
Love is righteous when it’s not wrongteous.
TYPICAL LYRIC
”Oh I recall the moment when you ruined me for other men”
SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT
No violence, but plenty of sexual innuendo
LANGUAGE
No raunch dressing here
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
Osborne follows her heart but still uses her head.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD
”Baby Love” is based on the real-life case of a high school teacher’s romance with her student.

COUNTRY GRAMMAR
Nelly
WHO
Belt-phobic St. Louis rapper and the crew he fronts
MUSICAL STYLE
Rump-shaking rap
THINK
A younger Young MC
RECURRENT THEMES
Cars, sex, and standing on the corner
TYPICAL LYRIC
”F— the game/Don’t let the game f— you”
SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT
You bet
LANGUAGE
This grammar lesson’s rated NC-17.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
Nelly’s occasional anti-gang message …
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD
… is overshadowed by such pastimes as joyriding with an assault weapon, smoking blunts, and engaging in oral sex.

ALL THE PAIN MONEY CAN BUY
Fastball
WHO
Austin trio who hit big with 1998’s ”The Way”
MUSICAL STYLE
Rootsy power pop
THINK
Costello, Bacharach, Beatles by way of the kitsch-en sink
RECURRENT THEMES
Toujours l’amour
TYPICAL LYRIC
”Funny how I couldn’t see/This is not at all about you, it’s about me”
SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT
Save your concern for Nelly.
LANGUAGE
Not too harsh
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
Love songs like ”Dark Street” are all sweetness and light.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD
Their laissez-faire attitude toward drink, drugs, and sex in ”Whatever Gets You On” makes you wonder what their name really means.

MAROON
Barenaked Ladies
WHO
Rockin’ Canadian cutups with a pensive side
MUSICAL STYLE
Pop rock that hasn’t been in vogue since the ’70s
THINK
The tuneful smarts of Squeeze laced with XTC’s subversion
RECURRENT THEMES
The minutiae of life
TYPICAL LYRIC
”Have you heard the one about the boy/Who moved into the henhouse to sleep?/He woke up with egg on his face/When he found out all the hens had crossed the street”
SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT
Steer clear of the gory ”Tonight Is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel.”
LANGUAGE
Clean as those Toronto streets
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
They come through hard times with humor intact.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD
Sometimes getting through hard times requires a one-night stand.

THE ECLEFTIC: 2 SIDES II A BOOK
Wyclef Jean
WHO
Another Fugee on hiatus
MUSICAL STYLE
Eclectic mix of rap, reggae, and soul
THINK
Bob Marley2K
RECURRENT THEMES
Wyclef and his famous friends
TYPICAL LYRIC
”Y’all ain’t MC’s, you’re CM’s/ common motherf—ers rhymin’ about Lexus and Benz”
SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT
Plenty of both
LANGUAGE
Cover those ears!
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
His call to look beyond material possessions
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD
His tribute to the red-light district

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