Two MTV Mixers

various artists
MTV's Amp

various artists
MTV's Grind: Volume One
Tommy Boy

IT IS A fundamental assumption held by aesthetic elitists and, well, Marxists, that records such as these are calculated rip-offs, hornswoggles born to do little more than sell synthetic opiate amalgams of opiate pop forms to dullards and latecomers in godawful places like the one you're sitting in right now as you flip past this dull review en route to the titty-bar ads. Well, capitalism will out: These records are wonderful.

Amp, an album compiling would-be hits by every potential platinum-selling dance band on the planet, is the genre-defining compilation punk rock and hip hop never had (but sorely needed). The Grind, being what it is--a package of hits from a TV show rooted in a limp display of ham-footed beach boys and barely masked beaver shots--lacks Amp's cultural immediacy. But its song selection is undeniably right. No record this year will offer a one-two punch as potent as White Town's gender-politics fuck, "Your Lover," bumping into the Spice Girls' pure pop fidelity-politics fuck "Wannabe." Except for the one-two of Amp, which sets the most exciting dance-floor style of the last two years, drum'n'bass (via Photek's "Ni Ten Ichi Ryu"), against the most unorthodox dance-floor hit of the decade, Aphex Twin's "Girl/Boy Song."

Yet, while Amp has its clunkers--the marketing wiz that decided to include Tranquility Bass and Atari Teenage Riot should have his M.B.A. revoked--Grind is an embarrassingly fun party record. Middle of the road alt-rockers Garbage, revitalized relics Depeche Mode, Funky Green Dogs, and jazz-vibe funkists Nuyorican Soul all seem strangely united under the tent of MTV's catholic sense of capitalism. Adorno has left the building.

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