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Album Cover Tom Jones - ...Sings the Ballads (MCI)

When I was 18 and worked at Sam Goody, me and my best friend Leigha would pass boring afternoons by putting on puppet shows for the few customers in the store, using CD jewel cases as "puppets." The two best "puppets" by far were Julio Iglesias and Tom Jones, both had great big smiles and this weird, kindly lecherous look in their eyes, and both artists were absolutely adored by Leigha's grandmother. Often, we'd incorporate the customers into the shows: "Hello there, ladies," I'd say in my best Tom Jones, squatting behind the counter. "Jones, you have no finesse," Leigha would chime in with a heavy Latin accent. "Let me show you how to handle these women." So saying, it's a given that Tom Jones and Julio both hold special places in my heart, even if most of their music bites ass.

This new collection of Tom Jones' music has its ups and downs. The up part is that the corny factor is way up on the corny factor scale - Jones' steamy renditions of "My Way," "You've Got a Friend," and "If" are sure to inspire dewy-eyed mustachioed drunks in karoake bars everywhere to revamp these classics. The downside is that if you're not a fan of corn, this'll probably just piss you off. Any way you look at it, though, there's no doubt that Tom Jones is one of the few men who can put a love song to porno music and make both sentiments come across perfectly.

by Holly Day.