Just Podlin' Along

If you haven't already noticed there is a musical Renaissance going on. From Stephen Sondheim to Beyonce, from AFI to Andrew Lloyd Webber, contemporary music is alive with brilliant lyrics and fascinating melodic turns. We mention here just three of our favorites, in case you want to dip your toe into these lively waters.

Jamaican rhythms form the core of U B 40's upbeat numbers. For over twenty years this group has been bringing us toe-tapping tunes, like "Red Red Wine" and "I Got You Babe". A good place to start is their CD "The Best of U B 40", volume 1. Some of my favorite lyrics are: "Nobody knows me but I'm always there. A statistical reminder of a world that does't care." I'll wager you'll have a hard time sitting still through the infectious rhythm of their songs.

Flogging Molly happily combines current rap with a touch of Gaelic rhythm. This multi-talented group has participated in several crisply-titled tours, like "Side One Dummy Punk Voter Tour" and "Van's Warped Tour". Don't let those words deter you. Their music and lyrics are infectious, their presentations highly professional, and their warmth completely engaging. Flogging Molly's newest album, "Within a Mile of Home" is just out.

Finally, we take a look at rapper Nelly. Nelly sold fifteen million copies of his first two albums. In high school, Cornell "Nelly" Haynes, Jr. formed a rock band called "Nelly and the Saint Lunatics", and the group self-produced "Gimme What You Got". His current back-up musicians are still called the Saint Lunatics. Two of his top singles are "Izu" and "Shake Ya Tailfeather". Nelly produces, or invests in, a line of energy drinks called "Pimp Juice". Less well-known, perhaps, is that he offered to donate his bone marrow last year to his sister, who was dying of leukemia.

These three will give you a good start on your new IPod or HP Pod tune collection. Let me know if you find others that you'd like to recommend.

c.Corinne Whitaker 2004