Simon Reynolds
November 15, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Rush Street

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Richard Marx
Producers
Capitol
genre
Rock

We gave it a D

Richard Marx would have us believe that his third album is a risk-taking proposition. Certainly, Rush Street is more R&B- influenced and ”from the hip” than the glutinously imploring lite rock that made his first seven singles go top five. Throughout Rush Street, Marx strives to let down his hair. He piles on palpitating slap bass along with frothy solos from his squad of session guitarists, while his histrionic vocals aspire to Michael Jackson’s falsetto. Marx claims he grew up on R&B, but more likely his consultants tipped him off that ”rawer” music is what’s selling today. ”Keep Coming Back” is a fainthearted stab at blues, complete with misogynist lyrics about the girl being a ”devil in disguise”; on ”Playing With Fire” and ”Hands in Your Pocket,” Marx mixes funk swagger and rock attack, but the results are clinical rather than raunchy. ”Love Unemotional” is deodorized funk-metal, Red Hot Chili Peppers with a perm. Marx’s songs are insidiously catchy (a genetic trait inherited from his father, who wrote jingles for commercials), but they’re emotionally inert. This record is an unconvincing attempt to ”get real” or go ”street.” D

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