Music Reviews: The Brow

LOW BROW: Spice Girls, Greatest Hits

They aren’t sexin’ music, despite “2 Become 1.” They’re not really party music, unless said party is prefaced by the word ‘slumber.’ Hell, they’re not even good music. But the Spice Girls still make me smile, out of nostalgic irony, and love of all things plastic and shiny. Though songs like “Wannabe” always remain near to my heart, hearing these songs is best left up to radio play, and not my CD player. In a way, the quintets’ exclusive launch release with Victoria’s Secret was a perfect fit. Like the store’s other goods, Greatest Hits is moderately pleasant on, but better when off.-CHRIS WADE

MID-BROW: The Magnetic Fields, Distortion

Distortion represents what people want from seasoned bands: an album consistent in feeling, yet transformed in style. Long-term fans will find these The Magnetic Fields’s reunion release of cleverly orchestrated love songs in synch with the standard one-man music machine Stephin Merritt sound. With lush seemingly sourceless reverb that gives Distortion both its name and new resonance. For fans of tongue-in-cheek indie pop, I would still recommend the Fields’ 69 Love Songs, for its sheer scope and display of Merritt’s prowess as a songwriter. But, for those looking for a little extra kick in their lo-fi electro-pop, this one’s for you.-KATE PUHALA

HIGH BROW: The Very Best of Nancy Wilson, The Capitol Recordings 1960-1976

Next time you hear the name Nancy Wilson, suppress images of the aerosol-haired, Barracuda-crooning Heart songwriter. Rather than a rush of rugged vocal-stallions stampeding from the speakers, you’ll find this Wilson as smooth as a silk elbow-length glove. With the release of The Very Best of Nancy Wilson: The Capitol Recordings 1960-1976, Wilson transports you to a swanky, dimly-lit lounge where shoulders bop to her flirtatious vocals. Spotted with renditions of old-time classics like “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” “For Once In My Life,” and “Moon River,” highlights on the three-disk set include daintily played jazz tunes “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am.” Especially tantalizing are Wilson’s collaborations with the George Shearing Quintet for “Nearness of You,” and the Duke Ellington composed “Prelude to a Kiss.”-PHIL LINDERT