Pop/RockKate Bush The Red Shoes (Columbia) In this country, Bush's floridvocal eccentricity-ululating gulps and shrieks of meanderingmelody-have consigned her to the rank of oddball, English…
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Pop/RockKate Bush The Red Shoes (Columbia) In this country, Bush's floridvocal eccentricity-ululating gulps and shrieks of meanderingmelody-have consigned her to the rank of oddball, English Division.The Red Shoes, with its tightened tunes and catchy choruses, isdesigned to break Bush stateside, but it's no sellout. Filled withlovely, if loopy, pop songs, Shoes makes sense of Bush's excesseswithout squelching her beguiling silliness. B+ -Ken TuckerThe Pogues Waiting for Herb (Chameleon/Elektra) The departure ofsinger Shane MacGowan after 1990's Hell's Ditch finds the Pogues moreconsistent and less reckless than usual, but they're still spittingout their punk-folk tales of Gaelic debauchery. Thankfully, theirhumor also remains, as they tease, ''The secret of the universe ishidden in this song,'' followed by a chorus of la- la's. Though groupslike Black 47 are getting more ink for this sort of thing nowadays,they all owe the Pogues a tip of the cap and a pint of Guinness. B-Bob Cannon

William S. Burroughs Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales (Island RedLabel) Good news for goateed Greenwich Village subversives:Burroughs' psycho-hipster writings have finally been given adanceable beat. The Naked Lunch author supplies the surrealsoundbites (sample lyric: ''Some f -- -ing drug addict just cut mycocaine with Sani-Flush'') while hip-hop duo the Disposable Heroes ofHiphoprisy provide the snappy sonic backdrop. The result is a highlylistenable collaboration that almost makes Burroughs' Beat-babbleseem borderline accessible. B+ -Ben Svetkey

Teddy Pendergrass A Little More Magic (Elektra) Ah, the many moodsof Teddy. His 14th album is serious mashing music for theLuther-lovin', over-30, condominium-owning crowd: upbeat andpositive, romantic and sexy, drippy and sentimental. His voice isstill soulful and nicely shaded by age and experience. But a new jackswing beat on four songs doesn't begin to mitigate the schmaltzoverkill. Still, if you like that stuff, this album is worth a B.-Tracey Pepper

The Wonder Stuff Construction for the Modern Idiot (Polydor/PLG)On their fourth album, these cheerfully misanthropic guitar popstersspit invective at such disparate targets as bullies and pedophilesand land a few gems (most notably the buoyant anthem ''On the Ropes'').But if duplicating their British megastardom in the U.S. meanssounding like the second coming of Oingo Boingo (''Swell''), mayberemaining a best-kept secret is not such a bad idea. B -Doug Brod

Earth, Wind & Fire Millennium (Reprise) With Maurice White andPhilip Bailey's voices leaping into falsetto-harmony heaven and aclutch of relentless feel- good grooves, these R&B hippies come backwith their most vibrant album in a decade. Bonus points forcollaborating with the underrated Burt Bacharach on a supple slab ofpillow talk, ''Two Hearts.'' Not quite a return to the ''Shining Star''era, but close enough. B+ -David Browne

Mr. Big Bump Ahead (Atlantic) This pretty-haired pop-metal bandscored big with teenage girls in 1991 on the strength of their groupharmony ballad, ''To Be With You,'' and the catchiest parts of BumpAhead are equally swoony. The $ liveliest track by far is a nervouslyswaying steel-guitar rendition of Cat Stevens' '70s wimp-rock hit''Wild World.'' When they're not strumming like closet folkies, theband members growl like muscle-bound blues-rock dudes, but they'remore successful at being beautiful than gritty. B -Chuck Eddy

Various Artists Short Cuts (Soundtrack) (Imago) It's appropriatethat outsiders and insiders, hipsters and veterans, join forces onthe soundtrack to Robert Altman's latest cinematic patchwork quilt.Smoky-voiced jazz singer Annie Ross is backed by a loungelike banddoing tunes by Elvis Costello, Bono and the Edge, and Doc Pomus andDr. John, with classical interludes from actress-cellist Lori Singer.It adds up to a campy mental movie, with or without images attached.B+ -Josef Woodard

Bee Gees Size Isn't Everything (Polydor/PLG) They're right. Whatreally counts is how long you last. Casting themselves as '60sBeatles knockoffs, '70s disco infernos, and '80s schlock popmeisters,the Brothers Gibb have managed to stay alive by continually retoolingtheir sound with a cunning commercial savvy. Can this album ofingratiating, white-bread power-pop keep them out of the has-beenbin? Did disco suck? B -David Thigpen

Bad Company The Best of Bad Company Live...What You Hear Is WhatYou Get (EastWest) The original guitarist and drummer from BadCompany corralled some talented help, hit the road, and recorded thislive album of oldies. The playing is rock solid, all the hits (''Can'tGet Enough,'' ''Feel Like Makin' Love'') are here, and singer Brian Howedoes a fine imitation of the departed Paul Rodgers. But do we reallyneed to hear these songs again? C -Tom Sinclair

The Band Jericho (Pyramid) There's no mistaking that signaturesound-churchy, swinging, mysterious, bluesy. It's The Band, orthree-fifths of it anyway, back after a 16-year recording hiatus.With guiding light Robbie Robertson out of the picture, and songs byBruce Springsteen (''Atlantic City'') and Bob Dylan (''Blind WillieMcTell'') squeezed alongside a batch of okay ready-mades, Jericho isat once familiar and unsettling, like a phone call from an old lover.If you ever cared, you'll listen, and possibly even fall in loveagain. A- -TS

Unrest Perfect Teeth (4AD) Ever since they started recordinghomemade EPs for friends eight years ago, this Washington, D.C., bandhas been hyped as the future of modern rock. But nothing on theirmajor-label debut gives any indication why. The ceaseless guitardrones have some vaguely pretty moments, especially when they imitate'70s Brian Eno hooks in ''Make Out Club,'' but the singing is solethargic it's almost not there. If this is the future of modernrock, I'll stick with the past. C- -CE

CountryJunior Brown Guit With It (Curb) Hey, Slick, now that you've got ataste for Sawyer Brown and that plastic urban-cowboy bar, check outJunior Brown. He boasts a baritone that's a hybrid of Ernest Tubb'sand Johnny Cash's and plays a newfangled guit-steel, an invention(two guitars in one) that came to him in a dream. Brown's stylehovers around a 1960s time warp (think Hank Thompson), which mayexplain his nerve at penning the line, ''My Wife Thinks You're Dead.''Country? Only the aural equivalent of chicken-fried steak. A- -AN

The Statler Brothers Today's Gospel Favorites (Mercury) TheStatler Brothers, the most shameless traders in nostalgia in thehistory of country music (and that's going some distance), startedout as an old-fashioned, dinner-on-the- ground gospel quartet,eventually blending in country and pop. As such, this is the hoariestkind of white-gospel album, a mix of lightweight standards andmindless hand-clappers, delivered with missionary zeal and tinny,out-of-tune harmonies. Unless you feel the deepest need to be saved,save your money. F -AN

JazzVarious artists The Complete Cole Porter Songbooks (Verve) ColePorter so adored a party that this seems the most fitting of tributesto him: a gathering of 48 performances of Porter's stylish songs by34 jazz instrumentalists and singers (culled from the vast Vervearchives) on three CDs. The diversity of performers (fromhard-boppers Charlie Parker and Bud Powell to cabaret warblersBlossom Dearie and Helen Merrill) nicely obscures the similarities insome of Porter's compositions. But there's too much songrepetition-three versions of ''I've Got You Under My Skin.'' How gaucheto pad such an elegant bash. B+ -David Hajdu

Originally posted Oct 29, 1993
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