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COMPASS MAGAZINE, December 2002.

Translated by Matthew Godsey

Valen Hsu/ Blossom/VIGRIN

       This album makes the listener feel comfortable and free, and has a soothing effect like that of burning incense. Unique yet unpretentious, this music's stirring beauty perfectly complements Valen's sad but tender voice. When she sings, it is like poetry floating, like the morning breeze or a clear, pure scent. It's like sunlight going through your fingertips, the slow sadness. until finally you lose yourself. This album is commercial but not cliched. Valen's singing is even better than on "If the Cloud Knows" and "Ocean of Tears" - it is serene but grips your heart. -Berkeley Internet Bookstore


Bjork/ Greatest Hits/ Universal Music

       To Bjork, this album is the fulfillment of a dream she has had since she was a child. The first disc, "Bjork," covers her punk period; the second, "Debut," takes over at the start of her solo career, and successfully chronicles Bjork's enduring distinctiveness. The cover design on the third disc, "POST," has become one of Bjork's trademarks. "Homogenic" is even more daring. In "Vespertine," Bjork employs a wide range of emotions, buoyed by sensitivity and enthusiasm. This album will remind you once again just how special this woman really is. -- Berkeley Internet Bookstore.

Chang Yu-wei/How to Get Through Tomorrow / Wind records

       Chang Yu-wei wrote every song on this album. He uses Taiwanese to express his observations of society with stirring emotion. The title track describes a group of students who have dropped out of school and are forced to wander the streets, unable to find jobs. "The Fool" is a critique of politicians and their endless squabbles. "Car Racing" describes true-life experiences. "People" is about the different destinies of the people of the world, and is the most profound of Zhang's songs. -- Provided by Wind Records

Foo Fighters/ One By One/ BMG

       Those of you not familiar with Foo Fighters might recognize lead singer Dave Grohl, who was originally Nirvana's drummer. Since the success of their debut album in 1995, Foo Fighters have earned a Grammy and an MTV Music Award. The song "All My Life" has a melody that is easy to sing along with, contrasting nicely with the mysterious and plaintive "Tired of You". "Burn Away," the last track, is one of the best songs, while "Come Back" catches the listener by surprise. -- by Selena Huang

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