Ghouls just wanna have fun

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Tanya Markova

“Shock Pop” 2-CD edition

MCA Music

There’s something about Tanya, and it’s called “shock pop.” That’s the convenient tag that best describes Tanya Markova’s music—a curious mix of pop, rock ’n’ roll, new wave, punk and metal. Add a dash of caricature horror, combine it with irreverent humor, and you have shock pop.

Who would have imagined that this group of eight wacky members with painted faces and outrageous aliases would be taken seriously? All of the band’s past singles have become certified hits!

It’s almost shocking how “Picture Picture,” “Disney,” “Linda Blair” and “PA Roadie Fernandez” have dominated the charts of many radio stations and music channels in the country.

This out-of-the-box band with its catchy melodies and scary but cute lyrics was recognized at the 2010 NU Rock Awards as best new artist, best live act and best music video for “Disney.” Tanya Markova also won Monster Radio’s 2010 artist of the year award.

“Shock Pop,” an expanded 2-CD edition of its debut album, contains all of the band’s hit songs, including the music videos of the four singles, plus acoustic versions of “Picture Picture,” “Jacuzzi,” and the cheeky and catchy “Da Facebook Song,” plus the band’s version of the Radiohead hit “Creep.”

There is also a near overload of remixes (three versions of “Picture Picture”—a Sonix Remix, Club Remix and Swabe Remix), but think of it as the band’s immortal paean to the song. Ghouls and vamps, let’s party until dawn.

The band’s fascination with the horror genre spills over on other tracks, and it seems Mang Jose’s shadow hovers over most songs, distinguished by their dark yet pop lyrics that almost sound like nursery rhymes.

There’s an oddly delightful feeling that one has just crashed a party where Coraline and Jack Skellington are chilling out with Pugsley and Wednesday Addams.

There are about 31 tracks mixing quirky songs, ambient sounds and campy conversations that show a casual we’re-ghouls-who-just-want-to-have-fun attitude.

The noble-sounding “Reunion of Souls” is a pedestrian encounter that literally ends with a bang! There is also a heartrending declaration of love in the sensitive but novel “Kundiman Growl.”

Does one laugh or shed a tear at “Bye Bye Mosquito?”

What a crazy album!

Pearl Jam

“PJ 20: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Ivory Music

Whether or not this double CD can be considered the definitive retrospective of Pearl Jam’s 20-year saga is beside the point, because diehard fans will relish this explosive package, the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s mixed-reviewed rockumentary.

The tracks cover Pearl Jam’s extensive career beginning in the early 1990s—when the band was just starting as a key member of the Seattle grunge community (along with Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Soundgarden)—as well as live performances from around the world.

It also features archival material that includes demo tapes and the band’s early recordings.

The energy and intensity of Pearl Jam’s live performances are here, including “Crown Of Thorns,” “Walk With Me” (featuring Neil Young), the elegantly arranged “Breathe,” acoustic numbers like “Sleep,” “Black” and “Garden.”

Also featured is “Not For You” live in Manila, during the band’s 1995 tour. There’s also the anthem-like “Better Man,” with the audience singing along as the song builds up to a thunderous climax; the raw and powerful instrumental “Girl”; the crowd-stomping “Bushleaguer”; the exuberant “Given to Fly”; the early demo tape “Times Of Trouble”; and the anticlimactic “Rear View Mirror.”

Voted in a USA Today reader’s poll as the greatest American rock band of all time, Pearl Jam has outlasted many of its contemporaries and attracted a cult-like following. “PJ20” is a testament to its longevity, popularity and influence.

All Original Artists

“The Hottest Hits… Ever!”

MCA

The lyrics say it all: “Have a good time” from LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” and “Don’t Stop the Party” from The Black Eyed Peas. This compilation has everything for everyone, and listeners will find something to like here, whatever musical preferences they may have.

From the opening cut, Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” to the final track, OneRepublic’s “The Good Life,” there’s plenty of catchy tunes in between from an array of notable artists including Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Snoop Dogg.

Now hit the floor!

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