EW Staff
June 29, 1990 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Notable music for the week of June 29, 1990

* Joan Armatrading Hearts and Flowers (A&M; all for-mats) Routine insights into love, delivered with unconvincing fervor. C (Greg Sandow) * Bad Company Holy Water (Atco; all formats) Veteran hard-rock band delivers just what its fans want. B (GS)

* The Beach Boys Surfin’ Safari & Surfin’ USA; Surfer Girl & Shut Down Volume 2; Pet Sounds (Capitol; CD) Reissues of four early albums, combined two to a disc. Plus the long-awaited CD debut of the Boys’ masterpiece. B; B+; A+ (GS)

* David Bowie Changesbowie; The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (Rykodisc; all formats) Reissues — with new bonus tracks — of Bowie’s classic greatest hits collection, Changesonebowie, and a key early album. A; B (GS)

* Billy Bragg The Internationale (Elektra; EP; CD, T) While fans wait for a new full-length album, this highly political British folk-rocker has released an EP on which he gives classic and modern socialist anthems an intriguing, idiosyncratic spin. A- (GS)

* Miles Davis Birth of the Cool (Capitol; CD) The album that put cool jazz on the map. A+ (Gary Giddins)

* Deicide Deicide (RC; all formats) Speed metal is supposed to be scary; this band is one of the few in the genre that really is. The singer’s voice starts at a roar and ends at a scream. A (GS)

* Barbara Dennerlein Straight Ahead! (Enja; CD, T, bonus tracks on CD) Most promising record yet by a young German organist with a penchant for the blues. B (GG)

* Eric B. & Rakim Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em (MCA; all formats) Darkly poetic rappers spin their wheels in disappointing third album. B- (GS)

* Marianne Faithfull Blazing Away (Island; all formats) One new studio track plus live recordings of songs from her repertoire performed at St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. Searing, but so brutally monochromatic that their impact weakens as the album proceeds. B- (GS)

* The Gear Daddies Let’s Go Scare Al (PolyGram; CD, T) Small-city life, compassionately observed in homespun countrified rock. A- (GS)

* Green on Red This Time Around (China/Polydor; CD, T) ! Wiry roots rock about the underside of American life. B+ (GS)

* M.C. Hammer Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (Capitol; all formats) Award-winning rapper hits hard at community problems. A- (GS)

* John Hiatt Stolen Moments (A&M; all formats) Battered cult figure sings too many songs about failure and redemption. B- (GS)

* His Name Is Alive Livonia (4 AD; all formats) The murmuring of gentle voices in this alternative band’s music often sounds more classical than pop. B (GS)

* Bruce Hornsby & the Range A Night on the Town (RCA; all formats) Smooth rocker returns with harder sound, same lack of variety. B- (GS)

* Hothouse Flowers Home (PolyGram/London; CD, T, bonus tracks on CD) An Irish band that plays earthier roots rock than many Americans. Its slow bluesy songs are especially touching. B (GS)

* Colin James Sudden Stop (Virgin; CD, T) Second album from a guy with a hoarse voice who sings determined blues-based rock. B+ (GS)

* Etta James Stickin’ to My Guns (Island; all formats) Old-time R&B from a dependable veteran. B+ (GS)

* Jesus Jones Liquidizer (SBK; all formats) Sharp young British band assaults the ear with a wall of pulsing rhythm, mixing styles ranging from metal to hip-hop. B+ (GS)

* John Kay & Steppenwolf Rise & Shine (I.R.S.; CD, T) The classic late-’60s band Steppenwolf broke up long ago, but its leader, John Kay — the man who sang ”Born to Be Wild” — rocks firmly on. He’s backed by his longtime touring band, which now bears the old name. B- (GS)

* Loketo Soukous Trouble (Shanachie; CD, T) Afro-pop band from Zaïre with a name that means ”move your hips” — and you will. B (GS)

* Jeff Lynne Armchair Theatre (Reprise; all formats) Solo debut from star producer and least-famous member of the Traveling Wilburys. Instruments sparkle, singing is routine. B- (GS)

* Madonna I’m Breathless: Music From and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy (Sire/ Warner; all formats) Brilliant re-creation of ’30s and ’40s musical styles, spiced with coy sexiness. A (GS)

* Masters of Reality Masters of Reality (Delicious Vinyl; all formats) An offbeat blend of hard and classic rock that was first released a year and a half ago — and earned a strong enough cult reputation to support its reissue. B+ (GS)

* Milli Vanilli The Remix Album (Arista; all formats) Mostly perfunctory versions of familiar pop mega-hits. C- (GS)

* Modern English Pillow Lips (TVT; all formats) Adorable postmodern pop; includes a remake of the group’s 1983 song ”I Melt With You.” B+ (GS)

* New Kids on the Block Step by Step (Columbia; all formats) Teen mega-stars reach for new musical styles, all as synthetic as their usual pop. C+ (GS)

* John Andrew Parks John Andrew Parks (Capitol; all formats, bonus track on CD, T) New artist who sounds like a thoughtful, high-tech cowboy. Pleasant listening. B (GS)

* The Pointer Sisters Right Rhythm (Motown; all formats, bonus track on CD, T) Established group gets back on spiffy (though familiar) track. B (GS)

* The Pretenders packed! (Sire/Warner; all formats) Chrissie Hynde has new musicians again and sounds depressed; a quieter, more glum album than Get Close. B- (GS)

* Andy Prieboy Upon My Wicked Son (Dr. Dream; all formats, bonus tracks on CD) First solo album by lead singer of Wall of Voodoo. He sings probing (though at times annoyingly sarcastic) alternative rock. B- (GS)

* Revenge One True Passion (Capitol; all formats, bonus track on CD) Troubling, dark electronic pop from new band headed by New Order bassist Peter Hook. B+ (GS)

* The Sex Pistols Live at Chelmsford Top Security Prison (Restless; all formats) Dim-sounding music; priceless anarchic chatter. B- (GS)

* Shenandoah Extra Mile (Columbia; CD, T) Intelligent ballads and jaunty rhythm numbers; nicely crafted but unflinchingly commercial. B (Alanna Nash)

* Soul II Soul Vol. II-1990-A New Decade (Virgin; all formats) Deeply satisfying second album by last year’s British dance sensation. A (GS)

* The Strawberry Zots Cars, Flowers, Telephones (RCA; CD, T) A new band with zany lyrics and music that’s an irrepressible combination of punk and the ’60s. A- (GS)

* Keith Sweat I’ll Give All My Love to You (Elektra; all formats) Second album by R&B star who sings scorching but shallow love songs. B- (GS)

* Tanya Tucker Tennessee Woman (Capitol; CD, T) Bland ballads and pallid country-pop from one of country’s most distinctive voices. C+ (AN)

* 24-7 Spyz Gumbo Millennium (In-Effect; all formats) Second album by an exciting band that blends speed metal and funk. Now the range of styles is even wider, extending to opera and the can-can. B+ (GS)

* Wire Manscape (Enigma; CD, T) Electronic art-pop, teetering between irony and genuine despair. B+ (GS)

* Jane Wiedlin Tangled (EMI, CD, T) Pop tunes sung by the former guitarist of the Go-Go’s, in a little piping voice. C+ (GS)

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