Dave DiMartino
May 17, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Laughter & Lust

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Joe Jackson
Producers
Virgin
genre
Rock

We gave it a B

Joe Jackson can write great pop songs when he wants to, but he rarely wants to. Like Todd Rundgren, he has often been his own worst enemy, sabotaging his career via self-conscious recording gimmicks and side trips down artistic blind alleys. Does he still have an audience? Maybe. And Laughter & Lust — his best and most consistent since 1982’s Night and Day — won’t hurt at all. Pop prevails throughout, thankfully, and such hook-filled tracks as ”The Other Me” and ”When You’re Not Around” show that Jackson’s ear continues to serve him well. But his increasing tendency to write about the failings of his career — on such songs as ”Hit Single” and ”The Old Songs” — only focuses the listener’s attention on those failings. Not a good move, but overall Laughter & Lust is a return to form. B

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