Just Drop It

Brain One. The Domed One. Call him what you will. With a zillion

credits (he was a

founding member of Roxy Music, co-produced several U2 albums

and practically invented

ambient music, etc.) to his name, Brian Eno continues to push the

edge of music: what it

should be, look like and mean. Unfortunately, The Drop, his

newest piece of

discovery, probably should have been left undiscovered.

Why would a man who's had such a profound influence on

contemporary

popular music release such a disappointing collection? Only Eno

himself knows the

answer. Certainly he is the closest thing we've got to a modern

musical avatar, and Lord

knows it's not easy or fun criticizing him, let alone figuring out why

his latest creation

sucks.

At 17 tracks, the first third of The Drop is entirely forgettable.

The pieces are more

like raw sketches than finished songs. Things don't start to

resemble the fuzzy shadow of a

hint of something interesting until track 8. "Coasters," with a

subdued, creepy-crawly

rhythm, boasts a tangible sense of anxiety and dark apprehension.

Topping that is "Hazard," farther on down the album at track 12. A

thin yet penetrating

vignette, it holds within it the sensation that, just beyond your view,

a very real, very

mortal danger exists, reflected in the near terrifying detonation

sound that erupts every few

seconds. Enhanced by the roll of a snare drum, it's easy to

imagine the perils of life -- or,

more precisely, the moments of a life -- on a battlefield where,

either not too long ago or

not too long from now, something definitively bad occurred or will

occur.

After that, there's just not much to talk about. Eno can be

applauded for trying something

new; unfortunately, the result is, for the most part, not something

that many will want to

listen to more than once. Eno fanatics will want The Drop

just because it's the

fingerprint of the man himself, but the general listener familiar with

his work will no doubt

wonder why Eno didn't just drop it himself.