Various Artists

New Woman 2003

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If the tracklisting for the British double-disc collection of New Woman 2003 is anything to go by, today's woman -- or her taste in music, at any rate -- is going through something of an identity crisis. Sometimes she sees herself as an empowered, you-go-girl type, á la Destiny's Child on "Survivor," or Pink on "Don't Let Me, Get Me"; at other times, she's an earth mother like Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman," or Jackie DeShannon on "What the World Needs Now Is Love"; but she also finds room to be a pop diva/sex kitten, too, like Blondie on "The Rapture," Kylie Minogue on "Come Into My World," or Marilyn Monroe on "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Her taste in men is equally schizophrenic; one moment she's got the hots for someone in a boy band like *N Sync, whose "Girlfriend" appears here; the next, she has a crush on sensitive indie types like Coldplay's "Scientist" or Turin Brakes' "Pain Killer." Then again, a bit of rough, á la Robbie Williams' "Feel," or Beenie Man's "Street Life," can be appealing too. Ultimately, the album, which also features tracks by Liberty X, Atomic Kitten, Tom Jones, Joe Cocker, Don McLean, the Mock Turtles, the Bangles, and Nat King Cole, jumps from style to style like Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw at the shoe store with a new credit card. Most of the songs here sound good enough individually, but piling them together in no particular order, the way that New Woman 2003 does, results in the musical equivalent of having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.

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