Chris Willman
February 15, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

Bridging the gap between rootsy pop and noisy indie rock, Pete Yorn had one of 2001’s best-received debuts with musicforthemorningafter. Just to make sure he was in a ”Strange Condition” (per his new single), EW put a figurative blindfold on Yorn and played him some recent tracks.

The StrokesThe Modern Age” ”I know this record very well….These are my favorite kind of drums—very straight. The ride cymbal comes in here…. The chorus reminds me of Morrissey, the romantic way he delivers it…. And this guitar part here—classic rock & roll.”

Britney SpearsI’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” ”I swear to God, I knew you were gonna play this!…I don’t think it’s going for my demographic. [Suddenly wistful] Sometimes a woman retains a lot of her girlish qualities, so she’s still a girl to me. Even my mom! She has all these qualities of a teenage girl, still.”

Ryan AdamsNew York, New York” ”My favorite part is the sax outro; it reminds me of something from the ’70s I can’t place. People compare me to Ryan, but I don’t really get that.”

Jay FarrarBarstow” ”There’s Jay! When Uncle Tupelo broke up, I was in the Farrar camp and not into Wilco at all, though now I love both bands equally. [Lyrics: ”By the time we get to Barstow/We’ll be more than halfway to hell…”] That’s true. My buddy who just died, Ted Demme, would take about 10 of us on a minibus from L.A. to Vegas every year. Once we hit Barstow, I’d be [excitedly] ‘Oh, we’re getting close!’ I’m usually a few beers in, pretty drunk at that point, knowing I’m gonna get in much more trouble when I get to town.”

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