Music Article

Recordings at a Glance

Notable music for the week of May 25, 1990 -- Short reviews on recently released titles

Notable music for the week of May 25, 1990

*Paula Abdul Shut Up and Dance (Virgin; all formats) Remixes make her hits much more trashy — and much more fun. B- (Greg Sandow)

*Ray Anderson What Because (Gramavision; all formats) Raucous trombonist funks it up, then plays pretty. A- (Gary Giddins)

*David Baerwald Bed Time Stories (A&M; all formats) Thoughtful, sardonic rock with strong melodies and a solid beat, from one-half of the now-defunct group David+David. B+ (GS)

*Adrian Belew Young Lions (Atlantic; all formats) Sometimes weird guitarist finds his own touching-though widely varied-voice. B+ (GS)

*Brent Bourgeois Brent Bourgeois (Charisma; CD, T) Serious but all-too-bland alternative pop from the former leader of Bourgeois Tagg. C+ (GS)

*Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds The Good Son (Enigma/Mute; CD, T) Unclassifiable songs, at best both searing and mocking. B (GS)

*The Chimes The Chimes (Co-lumbia; all formats) This new British ''northern soul'' band is seductive and tough — irresistible, in fact, as it offers world-class R&B vocals and a gorgeously relaxed cover of U2's ''I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.'' A- (GS)

*Concrete Blonde Bloodletting (I.R.S.; CD, T) Strange, strong, lovely, unguarded songs from a group that deserves mainstream success. A- (GS)

*The Family Stand Chain (Atlantic; all formats) Unheralded R&B band connects with voices, beats, and good sense. A- (GS)

*Foster & Lloyd Version of the Truth (RCA; CD, T) Mimicry passing for innovation, and amalgamation for originality. B- (Alanna Nash)

*Jerry Harrison: Casual Gods Walk on Water (Warner Bros.; all formats, bonus tracks on CD, T) Ambitious but disappointing album, full of word games and funk rhythms, from Talking Heads' guitarist-keyboard player. He sounds like a sideman, not a leader, and his work doesn't have much personality. C+ (GS)

*Heart Brigade (Capitol; all formats) I'll grant Heart its arena-size sincerity. But why do even the good tunes on this album have to sound so much alike? C+ (GS)

*Holy Soldier Holy Soldier (A&M/Word; all formats) Christian metal band reconstitutes Jesus as a rock & roll rebel. And it works! B (GS)

*HR Charge (SST; all formats) Reggae with unexpected, sharp punk-funk twists, from a band fronted by the lead singer of the legendary Bad Brains. B+ (GS)

*Human Radio Human Radio (Columbia; all formats) Alternative rock with half-classical violin garnish. Smart, but the lyrics are over-flavored with irony. B- (GS)

*Billy Idol Charmed Life (Chrysalis; all formats) Unexpectedly touching album from one of rock & roll's bad boys. A- (GS)

*Marti Jones Any Kind of Lie (RCA; all formats) Appealing roots-country songs, but lyrics and arrangements are too tricky. B- (GS)

*Little Caesar Little Caesar (DGC; all formats) Burly rock & roll feast, from an assured new band that can sing even black music. A- (GS)

*Yngvie Malmsteen Eclipse (PolyGram; CD, T) Cult metal guitarist with inimitable touch and trademark quasi-classical style emerges closer to the mainstream, in an ear-popping amalgam of metal, pop and even Bach. B- (GS)

*Kirsty MacColl Kite (Charisma; CD, T, bonus tracks on CD) Singer-songwriter with a bright sound, tart edge. B+ (GS)

*Kris McKay What Love Endures (Arista; all formats) New artist who can sing almost anything, from pop to blues. B+ (GS)

*Dave McKenna Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 2 (Concord Jazz; CD, T) An impeccable recital of sentimental songs geared by a rock-steady beat. B+ (GG)

*Milira Milira (Apollo Theatre/Motown; all formats) Striking debut from singer who has more than a hint of Sarah Vaughan in both her voice and her style. Features a timely remake of Marvin Gaye's environmental warning, ''Mercy Mercy Me,'' with a jazz violin solo by Noel Pointer that you wouldn't expect to find on an R&B album. B+ (GS)

*Perfect Gentlemen Rated PG (Columbia; CD, T) Maurice Starr, the mastermind who invented New Edition and New Kids on the Block, hits bottom, let's hope, with his latest production, a prepubescent trio that includes his own son and also a neighbor apparently chosen only because he was cute. D+ (GS)

*Zachary Richard Women in the Room (A&M; all formats) Cajun high spirits; hard to resist. B+ (GS)

*The Sidewinders Auntie Ramos' Pool Hall (RCA; all formats) Part roots, part punk; smart and strong. B+ (GS)

*Something Happens Stuck Together With God's Glue (Charisma; CD, T) Lighthearted rock melodies so disarming you'd forgive this Irish band almost anything, even its elliptical lyrics. B+ (GS)

*Squeeze A Round and A Bout (Deptford Fun City/I.R.S.; CD, T) No surprises in first-ever live album from popular group. B- (GS)

*Lisa Stansfield Affection (Arista; all formats, bonus tracks on CD, T) Smoldering dance debut with a varied and subtle beat. A- (GS)

*Mark Stewart Metatron (Mute/Restless; all formats, bonus track on CD) Synthesizer wizard from England fashions intentionally out-of-focus dance and heavy-metal songs, with distant, strangled singing. Strangely fascinating, sometimes arch. B- (GS)

*Koko Taylor Jump for Joy (Alligator; all formats) Raucous Chicago blues; much of the album might have been unearthed from a time capsule. B (GS)

*Tony! Toni! Toné! The Revival (Polydor/PolyGram; all formats) Brainy funk. A- (GS)

*Steve Vai Passion and Warfare (Relativity; all formats) Extravagant instrumental trash by virtuoso heavy-metal guitarist. C- (GS)

*The Wedding Present Bizarro (RCA; all formats, bonus track on CD, T) This British band's lyrics sound like lovers arguing on the phone-in a strange, dark movie where you can hear only one of them. The music is a drone of distorted guitars, as if played by a calmer version of guitar-noise champions Sonic Youth. B+ (GS)

*Kevin Welch Kevin Welch (Reprise; CD, T) Country with a bluegrass drive; short on first-class material. C+ (AN)

*World Party Goodbye Jumbo (Ensign/Chrysalis; all formats) Beguiling songs, nothing more, nothing less. B+ (GS)

Originally posted May 25, 1990 Published in issue #15 May 25, 1990 Order article reprints
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