For hotsy-totsy dance diva Mya's third record, Missy Elliott lent her deeply crunky production to some of the best tracks, including the single "My Love is Like... Wo"--an example that if the tone's right, even the most idiotic lyrics can elevate to clothes-removing temperatures. Mya proves this theory all over the place, with lyrics like, "I've fallen in love with you/and I can't get up." You're like "Jigga?!" But Mya's smooth, believably nasty delivery and solid, diverse production negates the cheese. Taking another cue from Missy: the heated masochism number, "Why You Gotta Look So Good," in which Mya laments she can't bear to rid herself of her man cause he's "so big" and has "sexy lips," even though he's a cheating asshole. (They should heed advice from Missy's professed idol, Björk: "Do him in before he gets to you.") While most contemporary R&B records are mediocre, Mya's made a 95%-great record from lyrical clichés; respect that. JULIANNE SHEPHERD


We Came from Beyond Vol. 2

(Razor & Tie)


KXLU DJ Mike Nardone has been hosting the popular undie hiphop show We Came From Beyond since the first Bush was fucking up things in the White House. A primary nurturer of Los Angeles' fertile hiphop scene, Nardone airs artists too unconventional to get commercial attention. We Came from Beyond Volume 2 offers a snapshot of America's slightly below-the-radar MCs and producers. It's not all good and innovative, but there are enough bangers to keep this comp in your Discman for weeks. Standouts include J-Zone's defense of his cheapass ways; the Visionaries' dead-on Wu-Tang homage; Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox's futuristic dystopian saga (with Cryptic at the controls); and Medaphoar of Da Lootpack's hectic and brutally funky approximation of Eric B. & Rakim's "Lyrics of Fury." A trunk-full of funny, smart lyrics adds luster to Nardone's on-point curating. DAVE SEGAL


Good Night: Music to Sleep By



Newsflash: Kid606's spazzcore/breakbeat IDM label has dipped a baby toe into the perilous pool of new age. Okay, not quite, but Good Night: Music to Sleep By comes as close as Tigerbeat6 honcho Miguel Depedro & Co. will get to making placid ambience for aligning your chakras. For this double-CD comp, the Kid gathers tracks from himself and his more serious-minded colleagues that should delight long-attention-spanned humans who think microsound and levitational drones rule. Good Night embraces the guitar as a crucial weapon in the minimalist composer's arsenal, though you won't hear anything close to Eddie Van Halen's curlicued squealin' here. In the graceful hands of Main, Oren Ambarchi, Tim Hecker, and Depedro, the six-string becomes an alien-tone generator of great subtlety. DAVE SEGAL

**** Hungry Hungry Hippo

*** Killer Whale

** Man Eating Piranha

* Flying Squirrel