- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2006

Stickers bearing critical hosannas and other information have become a fixture on the modern compact disc. As fewer and fewer people buy hard copies of music, it seems, the greater the incentive to paste little provisos on them.

I’m guessing, if they’re read by anyone at all, they quickly become another layer of annoyance on the plastic shrinkwrap that takes a PhD in civil engineering to tear off.

In any case, Carbon Leaf, the long-running Celtic-rock band out of Richmond, gave me a little, well, sticker-shock when I was browsing their latest album today: Instead of blurbs, they’ve got burbles — that is, little snippets of praise culled from fan comments on the band’s MySpace Web site.

Why this is preferable — or perhaps more authentic — than the approval of paid critics isn’t clear to me. But inasmuch as it got my attention, I guess it worked.

Also today, I got Lindsey Buckingham’s new CD, “Under the Skin.” Loving it. And I’m loving the fact that the writer of one of the biggest-selling albums of all time can put out such an eccentric, sullen set of minimalist pop that has no prayer of mainstream success. Can you think of another singer-songwriter with such disparate commercial appeal?

It doesn’t hurt, in my case, that Buckingham includes an offbeat cover of “I Am Waiting,” from the Stones’ brief, underrated Britpop period.

If you know the song, then you’ll know what I mean when I say, “Oh, yeah/oh, yeah.”

With that I leave you my weekly “Happy Friday!” valediction.

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