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

Year In Review: 1997

It was a pretty good year. INXS released the career-capping Elegantly Wasted, and there were solid efforts from 60s holdovers Janis Ian and Steve Winwood, but the really good news for rock fans were the best record yet from Britpoppers Radiohead and the higher visibility of Olympia's own Sleater-Kinney. Hip hop produced two terrific albums: Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott's spellbinding debut and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's double-CD The Art Of War. Though Wu-Tang Clan's second album was excessive, their side project Gravediggaz released a mature, thoughtful effort. On the crossover tip, Will Smith topped the charts with the sample-heavy Big Willie Style.

The big story in R&B was the debut of hip hop-influenced Erykah Badu, but actually Janet Jackson's tuneful The Velvet Rope was even better. Lackluster efforts from Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey didn't deserve their impressive chart performance, while Earth Wind and Fire's return to form went underappreciated.

There weren't many embarassments that we've heard; worst record of the year was an indulgent orchestral work by Prince's NPG Orchestra.

The year's best Latin record (best record in any genre, actually) was Daniela Mercury's updated samba Feijão Com Arroz. Top jazz LP was an acoustic reunion of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, 1+1.

Daniela Mercury, Feijão Com Arroz

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, The Art Of War
Carlinhos Brown, Alfagamabetizado
Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Supa Dupa Fly

Adolescent's Orquesta, Persona Ideal
Cubanismo, Malembre
Gravediggaz, The Pick, The Sickle And The Shovel
Herbie Hancock/Wayne Shorter, 1+1
INXS, Elegantly Wasted
Janet Jackson, The Velvet Rope
Marc Anthony, Contra La Corriente
Nuyorican Soul
Jill Sobule, Happy Town
Olga Tañon, Llévame Contigo

Erykah Badu, Baduizm
Collective Soul, Disciplined Breakdown
DLG, Swing On
Earth, Wind & Fire, In The Name Of Love
Free Kitten, Sentimental Education
Janis Ian, Hunger
India, Sobre El Fuego
NG La Banda, Best of NG La Banda
Radiohead, OK Computer
Shonen Knife, Brand New Knife
Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out
Los Van Van, Te Pone La Cabeza Mala
Steve Winwood, Junction Seven

Pat Benatar, Innamorata
Mary J. Blige, Share My World
Dez Dickerson, Oneman
Rick James, Urban Rapsody
Elton John, The Big Picture
Patti LaBelle, Flame
Lunachicks, Pretty Ugly
Material Issue, Telecommando Americano
Chichi Peralta, Pa' Otro La'o
Patrice Rushen, Signature
Salt-N-Pepa, Brand New
Sintesis, Orishas
Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention, Industry
Timbaland & Magoo, Welcome To Our World
U2, Pop
Wu-Tang Clan, Wu-Tang Forever

David Bowie, Earthling
Mariah Carey, Butterfly
Rickie Lee Jones, Ghostyhead
Manolín, De Buena Fé
Midnight Oil, The Best Of The B-Sides
Music From And Inspired By The Hit TV Show Living Single
The Rolling Stones, Bridges To Babylon
Bernie Worrell, Free Agent
Young MC, Return of the 1 Hit Wonder

Bamboléo, Te Gusto O Te Caigo Bién
George Clinton, Greatest Funkin' Hits
George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars, Live... And Kickin'
L7, The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum
Phoebe Legere, Last Tango In Bubbleland
Ric Ocasek, Troublizing
Carly Simon, Film Noir
McCoy Tyner, What The World Needs Now

NPG Orchestra, Kamasutra
Playa, Cheers 2 U
Ray Sepulveda, De Todo Un Poco

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