Various Artists

The Best of Rockline

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Hollywood's interactive radio showcase Rockline unleashes its first anthology album, featuring live in-studio versions of alt-rock hits. It's a curious morph of venue, since radio promotion, live performance, and album distribution have traditionally functioned distinctively, not collaboratively, in the record biz. As a cultural artifact, Rockline reminds us that its still a boys' world out there, since you have to strain to hear much of a woman's touch on Tonic's high-hat-happy "Open Up Your Eyes," Dishwalla's extractive "Counting Blue Cars," radio-drenched hits by Lenny Kravitz, the Verve Pipe, Better Than Ezra, and more. Rockline's reasonably savvy host Bob Coburn unwittingly (or maybe pointedly) paints kids these days as energetic sons of wacked-out Boomers -- although songs by the Wallflowers and Matthew Sweet stand out as lyrically meaningful, complete with sturdy performances. Some songs seem mystifyingly cynical, but the album is a good barometric reading that sounds like a sharp bootleg compilation.

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