Various Artists

Alice @ 97.3: This Is Alice Music, Vol. 7

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The seventh volume of This Is Alice Music collects acoustic and live performances from artists friendly to the Bay Area FM outlet's adult alternative format. Many of the tracks were recorded specially for the station's Alice Lounge acoustic series; young Jason Mraz even customizes his hit "Remedy" with an impromptu Alice @ 97.3 jingle. It's a star-studded lineup for the charity CD, with Coldplay, Tori Amos, Jack Johnson, and Matchbox Twenty all contributing stripped-down/otherwise tweaked songs. Amos' "A Sorta Fairytale" is a highlight, as is a spare, beautiful version of Frou Frou's "It's Good to Be in Love." Avril Lavigne's "Complicated" becomes a standout, since the stripped-bare performance seems rare for an artist who exists in an airtight image protection vacuum. It's actually quite endearing to hear Lavigne sing unaccompanied by studio sheen; she proves to be have strong, if a little amateurish, voice. Elsewhere, Maroon 5's "Harder to Breath" is just as street smart and sassy without electrification, but a "limited release" downtempo Paul Oakenfold mix of Madonna's "American Life" is just as confused as the original. After an album's worth of tasteful acoustic performances, Madonna's clunky rhyming skills are more out of place than ever. All of the artists do deserve credit for aiding in Alice @ 97.3's fight against breast cancer, the cause to which the album's proceeds are dedicated.

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