What's Going On A group of pop artists ranging from Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Backstreet Boys to Eve, Destiny’s Child, Nelly, Usher and Jennifer Lopez, as well as including the singers of U2, Stone Temple Pilots, R.E.M., .Jane’s Addiction and No Doubt came together recently to record a benefit song in the spirit of "We Are The World." The artists put together various versions of Marvin Gaye’s "What’s Going On," and released them as the What’s Going On EP through Columbia Records. The proceeds of the song will benefit the United Way’s September 11th Fund through the rest of 2001 and future sales will benefit the Artists Agains AIDS Worldwide and Global AIDS Alliance among others. The "Dupri Original Mix" of the session is an urban, rappy version that includes lead vocals by Jermaine Dupri, P. Diddy, Bono, Gwen Stefani, Nona Gaye, Backstsreet Boys, Aguilera, Spears, Destiny’s Child, Ja Rule, Nelly Furtado, Michael Stipe, Alicia Keys, NSYNC and more. The more mainstream radio-friendly "London Version" features Bono and Chris Martin trading off lead vocals. Moby contributes a string-heavy remix, and "Fred Durst’s Reality Check Mix" cranks up the obnoxious guitars and leaves Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland, Perry Farrell, and Elijah Blue to handle most of the lead vocals. "Mick Guzauski’s Pop Mix" sounds the most like Gaye’s original version, and features Jagged Edge, Train’s Pat Monahan, Usher, Nona Gaye, Bono, Aguilera, Spears, Monica, Furtado, Stipe and more.

Enigma - Love Sensuality DevotionNobody has done a better job at combining techno dance beats and warm synthesizer buzz with ambient (usually) female vocals and exotic melodies than Enigma. The brainchild of writer producer Michael Cretu, Enigma has sold 30 million copies of its four CDs over the past decade and taken its sound from the shadows of dance clubs to the top of the charts thanks to singles like "Sadeness Part 1," "Mea Culpa Part II," "Return to Innocence" and "Beyond the Invisible." Those songs and 14 more – including a new track, "Turn Around" – appear on Love Sensuality Devotion: The Greatest Hits, now available from Virgin…

The soundtrack to Drew Barrymore’s new movie Riding In Cars With Boys is out from Columbia, and features a slice of classic American pop and rock, with songs from The Everly Brothers ("All I Have To Do Is Dream"), Sonny & Cher ("I Got You Babe"), The Chiffons ("One Fine Day"), Sir Douglas Quintet ("She’s About a Mover") and a more recent bit of chart gold in Cyndi Lauper’s "Girls Just Want To Have Fun."


David Garza - Overdub David Garza

Austin’s David (pronounced Dah-Veed) Garza has pulled together a fascinating study on contrasts for his second major label release (his 12th LP overall – he’s released a slew of CDs on his own label).

Overdub opens with a light singer-songwriter bit of airy falsetto in "Drone," throbs through an inciteful investigation of the meaning of soul in "Say Baby," (soul is a four-letter scam, DJs won’t spin your jam unless you sing "baby, baby, baby, baby") and then launches into a garage rock celebration in the stomping "God’s Hands."

My personal favorite comes in the T-Rex jam of "Blow My Mind," where Garza demonstrates his distinctive vocals with a vibrato-heavy mid-range and tremulously affecting falsettoes. The driving "Crown of Thorns" takes advantage of this same Bryan Ferry-esque vocal prowess with more of a Roy Orbison classic rock flair.

But Garza isn’t out there just to rock your world. With "Too Much," he croons over a slow beat and minimalist piano chording as he complains "sometimes I love you too much." And the building ballad "Keep On Crying," finds Garza’s emotional tremelo supported by a host of background singers contributing lots of iterations of "oooh" and "keep on crying."

Overdub is an album rich in both lyrics and melody, with a rootsy rock sense that puts it somewhere between Jude Cole and Bryan Ferry. The singer was recently in Chicago promoting the disc at a Borders Books. Watch his web site at www.davidgarza.com for when he hits town again in the coming months.