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A Perfect Circle

Sitting here at the chilling dawn of George W. Bush's reelection, the politicized whining of a tortured rock star rings pretty impotent and depressing. And yet, on the fateful date of November 2, A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan saw fit to shit out Emotive, a self-described "collection of songs about WAR, PEACE, LOVE and GREED." Really, though, it's an indulgent mess of appropriated cool that heaps Keenan's grumpy, industrial-strength atmospherics over classic peacenik anthems by the likes of John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, and Elvis Costello. The goal? To clue us all in to the fact that the war is corrupt and conformity sucks. Gotcha. "Too little too late" doesn't even begin to cover just how lame this record is. Besides mangling the aforementioned legends, Keenan and crew reduce the thunderous hardcore of Black Flag, Crucifix, and Fear into pitiful blobs of preciousness and theatricality. Like John Kerry, Keenan is a former soldier who grew to question the efficacy and ethics of violence. But at least Kerry never forgot how to fight. With Emotive, Keenan just rolls over and takes it like a chump. -- Jason Heller