Sonique 1.808
Want to listen to your music in style? Sonique is a snazzy, full-featured player that can handle MP3s, Windows Media files, CD audio, and much more. Version 1.808 boasts improved MP3 playback, bug fixes, and built-in support for the new Ogg Vorbis audio file format.


Millennium, Backstreet Boys
Prefabricated, too pretty, suspiciously well choreographed -- such objections to the Backstreet Boys wither in the face of singles like the undeniable "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" and the sweet soar of "I'll Never Break Your Heart."

Oops!...I Did It Again, Britney Spears

Given the phenomenal success of Britney Spears' debut, ...Baby One More Time, it should come as no surprise that its sequel offers more of the same. After all, she gives away the plot with the ingenious title of her second album Oops!...I Did It Again, essentially admitting that the record is more of the same. It has the same combination of sweetly sentimental ballads and endearingly gaudy dance-pop that made One More Time. Fortunately, she and her production team not only have a stronger overall set of songs this time, but they also occasionally get carried away with the same bewildering magpie aesthetic that made the first album's "Sodapop" -- a combination of bubblegum, urban soul, and raga -- a gonzo teen-pop classic. It doesn't happen all that often -- the clenched-funk revision of the Stones' deathless "Satisfaction" is the most obvious example -- but it helps give the album character apart from the well-crafted dance-pop and ballads that serve as its heart. In the end, it's what makes this an entertaining, satisfying listen.

Supernatural, Santana

Three decades after Carlos Santana made his first, now classic hits -- songs that blurred the line between Afro-Latin groove and American hippie rock -- his ability to blend diverse styles is still inspiring young musicians. So it makes sense that so many contemporary stars stopped by to help out on his first album since 1997's BLUES FOR SALVADOR. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Everlast, Eagle Eye Cherry, Dave Matthews, and Goodie Mob's Cee-Lo all lend songs and voices to a disc that's mostly a more reflective, contemplative version of the sound that originally made Santana famous. Album opener "(Da Le) Taleo" is hot enough, especially during the main man's spirited solo, but Santana's mojo works on a more mellow vibe during Matthew's sentimental "Love of My Life" and Everlast's pensive folk-rocker "Put Your Lights On." More spirited is Jean's slow, smoldering "Maria, Maria" and the soulful Hill production "Do You Like the Way," especially when Cee-Lo steps in with his best Otis Redding impression. Ultimately, despite some missteps, SUPERNATURAL succeeds in achieving its goal of bringing new fans to an old sound and vice versa, which is an admirable feat indeed.

Revelation, 98 Degree

With the release of their fourth disc, Revelation, R&B; and pop trio 98� have concocted the perfect balance of dance tracks and syrupy ballads to win over straggling 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys fans. With the sultry, Latin-inspired single "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" leading the way, Nick, Drew, Jeff, and Justin prove they are a boy band force to contend with. On the up-tempo tracks, 98� borrow a page from the 'N Sync handbook, as on "Dizzy," which employs computerized vocals � la " 'N Sync's "Digital Getdown," and the sassy ode to lost love "He'll Never Be," which thematically mirrors 'N Sync's "It Makes Me Ill." Ballads, however, remain the Ohio quartet's mainstay -- and fans won't be disappointed by the soaring "Stay the Night," the sentimental "Always You," or the imploring "Yesterday's Letter." Another slow jam highlight is "My Everything," on which Jessica Simpson boy-toy Nick Lachey muses: "I pray on bended knee that you will always be my everything." With songs that come straight from the heart, it's clear that 98� will always give their fans the best that they've got.

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