Artist Formerly Known as Prince - Chaos and Disorder (Warner Bros.): What has happened to our little purple prince? His latest CD is made up of songs that are half-hearted, unpolished attempts. There's plenty of funk throughout, but blaring horns, police sirens, explicit lyrics, and reggae muddle up most of the 11 songs. On the back of the CD cover it says, "... this compilation serves as the last original material recorded by [the artist formerly known as Prince] 4 warner brothers records." Unfortunately, it's been a while since this talented artist has released anything worthwhile. Maybe now that he's free from Warner Bros., he'll start producing songs worth listening to.
-- Lisa Leigh Parney
Hoodoo Gurus - Blue Cave (Zoo Entertainment): This Australian power-pop band has been blasting out melodic rock for 10 years, wooing college radio since the mid-'80s. Their seventh album has no big surprises, as the band sticks to what works best for them: fuel-injected, guitar-driven rock anthems, such as the cautionary "Get High," to more-melodic pop tunes, such as "Waking Up Tired." While it may not be a must-have album, true Gurus followers will mark it as a worthy CD to round out a decade.
-- Kirsten Conover
Various artists - (Almost) Everybody Slides (Rykodisc): The title of Rykodisc's first CD in its slide-guitar series may be a bit of an exaggeration, since about half of the tracks contain little or no perceptible slide guitar. But the non-slide playing - by artists including Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl, Johnny Winter, and the late Danny Gatton - fills the space in between, and there's plenty to satisfy any fan of guitar-based blues. Among sliders, Sonny Landreth's bouncy "Zydeco Shuffle" justifies his reputation as top notch, and Anson Funderburgh evokes Elmore James himself. Other noted sliders include Ry Cooder, Lenny Carlson, Roy Rogers, Jimmie Vaughan, and Michael Bloomfield.
-- Jef Scoville