November 21, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST

Parents’ Guide for new music

ALBUM TITLE No Way Out ARTISTS Puff Daddy & the Family WHO Hip-hop entrepreneur-turned-MC Sean ”Puffy” Combs MUSICAL STYLE Something old, new, borrowed, and borrowed THINK Rap sampler RECURRENT THEMES The death of pal Notorious B.I.G.; making money TYPICAL LYRIC ”If they don’t give a f—, f— it, why should I?” (”Pain”) SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT Sex takes a backseat to flying bullets. LANGUAGE Enough expletives to earn a parental-advisory label WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT Puffy’s obvious affection for the B.I.G. man WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD Persistent profanity undermines the emotion.

ALBUM TITLE Aquarium ARTISTS Aqua WHO Cheesy Danish band whose passport is the smash ”Barbie Girl” MUSICAL STYLE Club hoppin’ THINK ABBA without the innocence RECURRENT THEMES Partying; having fun; being happy TYPICAL LYRIC ”Come on, let’s go get it on/Everybody let’s go have some fun” (”Happy Boys & Girls”) SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT Negligible, unless the phrase ”hanky-panky” irks you LANGUAGE Upbeat, perky, and subtly perverse WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT The perfect beat to give your kids an aerobic workout WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD Mixed message of ”Barbie Girl” sends up the beauty ideal while making the plastic pixie the object of leering lust.

ALBUM TITLE The Velvet Rope ARTISTS Janet Jackson WHO Michael’s little sister all grown up MUSICAL STYLE Hip-pop that purrs THINK Madonna’s Erotica RECURRENT THEMES Sex and love TYPICAL LYRIC ”Tie me up tie me down/Make me moan real loud” (”Rope Burn”) SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT Bondage to bisexuality LANGUAGE Explicit WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT Janet’s sense of confidence and empowerment WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD Do you really want ”Your coochie gon’ swell up and fall apart” wafting through your daughter’s headphones?

ALBUM TITLE You Light Up My Life ARTISTS LeAnn Rimes WHO 15-year-old singer whose debut honky-tonked to the top MUSICAL STYLE Inspirational THINK Debby Boone, duh RECURRENT THEMES God, America TYPICAL LYRIC ”God bless America, land that I love” SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT None from this Bible belter LANGUAGE Virginal WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT The songs celebrate basic values. WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD It’s hard to be inspirational when the presentation is so uninspired.

ALBUM TITLE Yourself or Someone Like You ARTISTS matchbox 20 WHO Florida quintet whose ”Push” pushed its album into the top 10 MUSICAL STYLE Generic post-grunge pop rock THINK Hootie sans the Southern hospitality RECURRENT THEMES Lost love; loneliness TYPICAL LYRIC ”You think this life would make me bolder but I’m running scared is all” (”Girl Like That”) SEX/VIOLENCE CONTENT ”Push” can be construed as misogynistic. LANGUAGE One song is entitled ”Damn.” WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT Boomer-friendly rock appeals to parents and kids. WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD Lowercase spelling of matchbox 20 could unravel a year’s worth of elementary school grammar lessons.

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