Various Artists

Players: Powered By Fender

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This Rhino/Fender collaboration is merely a collection of big-time artists of all stripes who play Fender guitars. There's very little to this other than some big hits from the last couple of years. There are a lot of liner notes that say almost nothing except to celebrate -- as in advertise -- the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster. Cool. Not. The hits include Sheryl Crow's "Steve McQueen" (for what it's worth, this is among the best tracks here), Eric "Slowyawn" Clapton's tepid "Superman Inside," Aerosmith's embarrassing "Just Push Play," Alanis Morissette's stunning "Surrendering," the Goo Goo Dolls' sentimental "Black Balloon," Green Day's rocker "Nice Guys Finish Last", "3 Doors Down" by one-hit wonders Kryptonite, Smash Mouth's tacky little "Walkin' on the Sun," Remy Zero's cool riffing "Save Me," and Sugar Ray's delightfully inventive "Every Morning," to name a few. Oh yes, there's the obligatory faux blues jam on Kenny Wayne Shepherd's "Blue on Black." What feels so insidious about this collection is the way the liner notes are written. It seems to say that without Fender guitars these songs would never have been and there might never have been rock & roll or virtually any other kind of current popular music in the first place. Right. Fender shouldn't necessarily puff themselves up in this way; given some of the crap here, it certainly proves to be a double-edged sword.