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SOUNDING OFF, Vol. 8

Plane and Simple:
There's a need for certain CDs to have right-to-the-point titles, too

One thing's for sure about the movie Snakes on a Plane -- the title says it all. Yep, viewers can expect to see a film with actual slithery creatures on an aircraft.

Now if only musicians were as forthright and accurate when giving titles to their albums so listeners would really know what they're going to hear.

Here are two recent releases that deserve Snakes-style renaming:

Christina Aguilera_Basics.jpg

Artist: Christina Aguilera
Real title: Back to Basics
More accurate title: Not One, But Two Discs of Typical Overemoting

It can be argued that at this stage of her career Aguilera doesn't have the clout to explore such basics as big band and classic soul. That said, her personal basics -- those tiresome, acrobatic, song-suffocating vocal runs a la Mariah Carey -- well, those are everywhere on Back to Basics (listen no further than "Ain't No Other Man").

A lesson in restraint is long overdue. Aretha Franklin, please do the honors.

Furtado_Loose.jpg

Artist: Nelly Furtado
Real title: Loose
More accurate title: Intentionally Sexed-Up, Danceable Album Featuring Big-Name Producer

Remember Furtado's debut disc, Whoa, Nelly!, featuring the hit "I'm Like a Bird"? Sure. How about her follow-up album, Folklore? Probably not.

Perhaps taking her cue from Macy Gray, who quickly proved that being quirky and commercially successful is tough to sustain, Furtado has chosen to revive her career by strutting through dirrrty Aguilera/Britney Spears territory. Loose features major contributions from producer Timbaland. "Promiscuous," a Timbaland/Furtado duet, is more playful than the title suggests and is actually pretty good. But the same can't be said of "Maneater," on which Furtado sounds robotic and unconvincing.

-- By Chris M. Junior

Sounding Off, a music opinion column, appears regularly on www.medleyville.us

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