Bill Wyman
May 17, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Hard at Play

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
genre
Rock

We gave it a C-

Huey Lewis & the News sold a heck of a lot of albums in the mid-’80s, but the groups’s multi-platinum muscles progressively weakened, so that 1988’s Small World sold a relatively modest one million copies. Lewis then dropped out of sight, which actually may have been a smart move: Despite a couple of undeniably catchy songs, the band’s attempts at white soul and funk made Debbie Gibson sound like Aretha Franklin, and Huey — well, Huey was the bland leading the band. The group’s new record, Hard at Play, continues Lewis’ downward slide. Only one great hook, on the almost soulful ”He Don’t Know,” inhabits this 11-song undertaking. The first single, ”Couple Days Off,” is a tepid Weekend Warrior anthem — one of two on the album. The sound is very 1980s, all blaring keyboards and Pleistocene-era vocal arrangements. News? This band is history. C-

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