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V/A
MTV2 HANDPICKED
(COLUMBIA)

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MTV still hasnít had much luck garnering anything close to the kind of universal exposure the music-video channel captured back in the "I Want My MTV" formative years of the early í80s for its young and struggling sister station, MTV2. Most cable subscribers simply canít get M2, and as of yet the savvy MTV marketing department just hasnít come up with an effective "I Want My ... " ploy to step up demand. Handpicked isnít going to do the trick, but if the dozen-and-a-half tracks compiled here are any indication, I wouldnít mind having my M2. Like MTV in its pre-hair-sprayed metal salad days, the M2 playlist leans toward the quirkier, mildly adventurous side of the pop spectrum, encompassing everything from the dreamy Britpop of Travisís "Sing" and Coldplayís sleeper hit "Yellow," to the wry, post-grad hookery of Cakeís "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" and Tenacious Dís "Wonderboy," with a satisfying slice of neo-Americana courtesy of Ryan "Whiskeytown" Adamsís Mellencamp-y (or, perhaps more Cougarish) "New York, New York" and the requisite dose of upbeat electronica supplied by the "US Mix Edit" of Lo Fidelity Allstarsí "Sleeping Faster." The M2 strategy has its drawbacks ó finding a track by Radiohead (in this case "Idioteque"), a band who are rightly revered for the integrity they bring to their work, next to an overly slick offering from an outfit who sound as calculated as Ours can be as unsettling as seeing a video by the Clash segue into the latest from Duran Duran. And Handpicked has its share of generic efforts by bands who are too transparent in their attempts to please modern rock-radio programmers ó Stereomudís trying-to-be-aggro metal "Pain" and Dave Navarroís soul-bearing (and somewhat side-splitting) "Rexall." But there are some welcome discoveries here too ó even if Columbiaís affiliation with the project probably had something to do with squeezing their signing Pete Yornís "Life On A Chain" into the discís second slot, it doesnít change the fact that his debut was one of the better overlooked albums of 2001.

BY MATT ASHARE

Issue Date: February 14 - 21, 2002
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