Travels with my Matsui I was actually nervous. My hand wasn't shaking, but I wasn't sweating a little bit. What was I afraid of? I wasn't trying some drug or other. This was only music. But over and over in my head I kept thinking -- 'What led me to this?' But as I placed the silver disc in my portable Matsui CD player, waited for the little LCD display to register, and pressed play I knew this was something I had to do...

...I've known for some time that the moments my ears spent between home and work and back again are wasted. So although my eye glances across things called pages, the oral input is zero. So I've decided to start educating myself with different types of music, each day or for a few days, listening to a CD which I wouldn't otherwise have looked at or paid any mind to, looking for something new to move me.

There won't be a direct route through this -- I won't be starting at the dawn of music and working onwards, and I won't be concentrating on a type of music. It'll perfectly random, on a whim, influenced perhaps by the musings of 'Rolling Stone' magazine and regular readers of my weblog. I'll report back to the weblog with what I find....let's begin...

Britney Spears '...baby one more time'
First Impressions: The title track is madeningly catchy. '...Baby One More Time' is actually atypical of the rest of the album -- it's roots are more rock in origin, although hearing the original having spent a lot of time playing the Travis cover version is quite a shock.
Moved? I had to start somewhere and why not with the antithesis of everything I probably stand for musically? But this journey is to find how much a phrase like that actually means so why not answer a question which has been driving my up the wall for years. What does a Britney Spears album actually sound like? Patchy, with glimpses. This is the musical equivalent of a teen film, although more 'She's All That' than 'Ten Things I Hate About You' It isn't difficult to see why Spears is idolised as this may be the zenith of the genre, certainly better than J-Lo's initial offering and technically better than The Hit Factory's output. Much of the time I find myself reflecting backwards on my youth listening to Debbie Gibson, whose influence hangs over the disc like a mother hen. The highlights are the singles, of course. It's just a pity that some kind of cohesion couldn't have been stretched over the whole fifty minutes. 'Soda Pop' and 'I Will Be There' are pure cornball. Much of the time I switch off, this being noise in the background. I wasn't all that involved in the music. Nothing to strike me, or shock me.
Lasting impressions? The only glimpse of what might have been is the final track 'The Beat Goes On', a rhythmic dance piece, maddenly catchy. If anything I felt nostalgia. I know that if I was a teenager now I'd probably be a bit of a fan and getting the new album for Christmas. Despite outward appearance this is a piece about innocence and naivity -- of simpler teenage emotions. I do miss those.
Keep, sell or dump? Oh dump, except 'The Beat Goes On' -- but that wouldn't work would it?

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