Robert Downey Jr. 

The Futurist (Sony Classical)

Insert drug reference here, 'cause somebody's snortin' (shootin', smokin') some serious shit: the guy who made it, the company that released it, or the customer who buys it, take your pick -- though we'd vote for all three and hide our stash.

The vocals strenuously aim for Peter Gabriel's rasp, but wearily hit Dave Matthews' yelp, while detouring into Bruce Springsteen's bark. The lyrics take 12 steps in a single leap ("This is a habit I'm breaking now forever/I'm weary from trying to shake it/So when I ask, if you don't give me your hand/I'll take it") and fall flat on their ass. And that doesn't even take into account the Yes cover "Your Move" (the one that begins, "Seen all good people . . .") on which Jon Anderson's a guest vocalist -- isn't that a bit like being invited to your kid's assassination? C'mon -- this phony jazz-art-rock nonsense can't really be a pet project at the label that's home to Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Kathleen Battle, and the ghost of Leonard Bernstein. We're starting to think we seriously underrated that Minnie Driver record (Don Johnson and Bruce Willis, too). Compared with Downey, she's motherfucking Billie Holiday.


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