Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews - We listen to the lousy records so you won't have to.

Year In Review: 1996

Pop music continued an upward trend this year - or maybe we just think it did because we haven't reviewed the crummy records yet. Either way, rock and roll produced most of the year's strongest records: the Posies' blistering Amazing Disgrace; Sleater-Kinney's cathartic post-punk Call The Doctor; a powerful two-disc effort from folk guitar wizard Richard Thompson; the weirdest album yet from Tori Amos; a crisply professional disc from Aussie rockers Hoodoo Gurus; and an outrageously fun release from local Massachusetts band Slide. For whatever reason, most critics embraced Beck's smirking Odelay instead.

The year's longest record was a three-hour set from , Emancipation, and though it strains the attention span, it's packed with gems. There was no really strong hip hop album, but there were decent efforts from Chuck D., MC Lyte and Wu-Tang's Ghostface Killah.

The only really bad record we've heard was a synth-heavy comeback attempt by Ray Charles; Prince's Girl 6 Soundtrack is listenable but a bad buy because it's mostly previously released material.

The year's best Latin record was Marisa Monte's A Great Noise; the best jazz record we've heard is Gene Williams's Welcome 2 My World.

The Posies, Amazing Disgrace

Sleater-Kinney, Call The Doctor

Tori Amos, Boys For Pele
Joe Arroyo, Mi Libertad
Steve Coleman & The Mystic Rhythm Society, The Sign And The Seal
DLG, Dark Latin Groove
Hoodoo Gurus, Blue Cave
Marisa Monte, A Great Noise
, Emancipation
Richard Thompson, You? Me? Us?

George Clinton, T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M.
Chuck D., Autobiography Of Mistachuck
Luis Diaz Quintet, On The Edge
For Real, Free
Ghostface Killah, Ironman
India/Tito Puente, Jazzin'
Lucrecia Y Su Orquesta, Prohibido
MC Lyte, Bad As I Wanna B
Midnight Oil, Breathe
Nora Nora, Electric Lady
Gene Williams, Welcome 2 My World
Frank Zappa, The Lost Episodes

Ashford & Simpson, Been Found
Babyface, The Day
The Beatles, Anthology Vol. 3
Beck, Odelay
Adrian Belew, Op Zop Too Wah
Chic, Live At The Budokan
Steve Coleman & Five Elements, Curves Of Life
Willie Colón, Y Vuelve Otra Vez!
Digital Underground, future rhythm
Earth, Wind & Fire, Greatest Hits Live
Candido Fabré, Son de Cuba
Herbie Hancock, The New Standard
Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, Moss Elixir
Isley Brothers, Mission To Please
Maxwell, Urban Hang Suite
Curtis Mayfield, New World Order
Metallica, Load
Ohio Players, Ol' School
Eddie Palmieri, Vortex
Lou Reed, Set The Twilight Reeling
Silvio Rodríguez, Domínguez
Paul Westerberg, Eventually

The Band, High On The Hog
Bikini Kill, Reject All American
Doyle Bramhall II
Toni Braxton, Secrets
Jackson Browne, Looking East
Busta Rhymes, The Coming
John Cale, Walking On Locusts
Elvis Costello, All This Useless Beauty
EU, Make Money
Grant Lee Buffalo, Copperopolis
Kool & The Gang, State Of Affairs
Me'Shell Ndegeócello, Peace Beyond Passion
REM, New Adventures In Hi-Fi
Los Van Van, ¡Ay Dios, Ampárame!
Yes, Keys To Ascension

The Beatles, Anthology Vol. 2
Rubén Blades, La Rosa De Los Vientos
Cibo Matto, VIVA! La Woman
Juan Carlos y su Dan Den, Mi Cuerpo
Grace Of My Heart Soundtrack
Living Colour, Mistaken Identity
Roger McGuinn, Live From Mars
, Chaos And Disorder
7 Year Bitch, Gato Negro
Shonen Knife, The Birds & The B Sides
Tony Toni Toné, House Of Music
A Tribe Called Quest, Beats, Rhymes And Life
Neil Young, Broken Arrow
Yo Yo, Total Control

Ray Charles, Strong Love Affair
Prince, Girl 6 Soundtrack

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