MUSIC: ACROSS THE GENDERS, THERE'S SENSITIVE-GUY POP TOO

After the premature deaths of Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, pop music seemed to take a step back. Hey, it's only rock 'n' roll--Does everyone have to be so uptight, so self-destructive?

Enter the sensitive-guy rocker. Sure, Cobain, Shakur and Smalls were sensitive in their own way--Shakur even recorded a tribute to his mom--but their vulnerability was often drowned in guitar feedback or thumping beats. Many of today's top male performers, like neo-soul crooner Maxwell, Christian-pop singer Bob Carlisle, soft-focus R.-and-B. singer Babyface and PG-13 rated rapper-actor Will Smith, go further; the aggression, the sharp edges, the dangerous sexuality...

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