When I bought the Britney Spears CD in November, I received a free singles collection with five songs from random acts. One was from an newly signed artist whose debut CD would come out in the winter. This was the onyl song on the CD that I liked - I actually adored it. Suddenly, this chick, Vanessa Carlton, is huge. her video is a buzzworthy clip on MTV and she's crossed over to the TRL base, too. She's got a great backstory, too - a piano player who seriously studied ballet through her teen years, but gave it up because of all the bullshit associated with dancing professionally. Now, she's back at the keyboards and, if the first single is a fair representation of her music, she's on her way to big-time success.

Speaking of which, I'm glad Michelle Branch is moving beyond the one-hit wonder label with her second single. Same for Natalie Imbruglia. Her new song kicks major ass. I love it. Back to Michelle, I'm seeing her at a club in SF in a few weeks - should be fun times.

Continuing with the music theme, I went to Amoeba for the first time a few weeks ago. It's this huge CD store in SF (and there's one in Berkeley) that offers a ton of used CDs. I found Duncan Sheik's last CD for $5. This thing is amazing. I had read a lot of positive reviews last year, but didn't pick it up, despite loving "Barely Breathing." This new CD, "Phantom Moon," is a really well-crafted work. It's all mellow and neo-folk with music and lyrics that are equally beautiful. "Mr. Chess" is my favorite. Buy it now.

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