BRUCE SPRINGSTEENGreatest Hits
THEY SHOULD STOCK this on supermarket shelves next to corn flakes and peanut butter--other best-selling staples of the working class. And just like those other basics, you should be able to read an inventory of preservatives on the package--corporate care listed first.
There's no denying Bruce has written some good songs, but they're hidden away on Nebraska and other albums with less hype and orchestration than the ones that garnered The McBoss his billion fans. Springsteen is no working-class hero--a hoagie stuffed with ham, yes. That's a description I'd buy.
JEANIE BRYSONTonight I Need You So
WITH AN INTIMACY and presence in her voice that recalls Patti Austin and Roberta Flack, Bryson also has their subtleness and clarity of tone and tuning. Perhaps more naturally breathy than these two pop/sometime-jazz divas, Bryson gentleness in phrasing and rendering is still not from a weakness or affectation. More pop than jazz, this CD of originals and a few standards is romantic, with the ambiance of a sweet, personal statement. Dynamics may not be broad but the quality is consistent and pleasing.
WHAT FUN HEARING lead singer from the '70s fusion/pop band Seawind, Pauline Wilson, back again. Mainly in the tradition of Chaka Khan-like bright, edgy, soulful dance cuts, Wilson comes out strong in this, her first solo CD. With Seawind alumni and other L.A. powerhouses, this debut may be slick, but it's one of the best "adult contemporary" efforts around. The one bow to Seawind, "Follow Your Road," is still hearty; like Randy Crawford's honey-like huskiness, Wilson's powerful voice clearly articulates every word, rhythm and feeling, without being overly dramatic and without overdone soul licks.
SAD WORLDI + II
BRITAIN'S WIRE SUGGESTED ambient music "is concerned with psychogeography, in uncovering previously invisible lines of mutual confluence and collision." This particularly enigmatic, engaging, and sprawling (150 minutes) set, the work of sonic artists Dr. Atmo and Ramin, treks across time and cultures, through movements and textures. The 40:29 "Samarra," for example, gently develops soma-like melodies but by paying close attention, one discerns some sort of "found" radio speech/rant just beneath the languid surface. Or in "Cordoba," what initially appears to be a sitar-driven electrodrone mutates into percussive chatters and ethnic chants (shades of Muslingauze). And "Kirkuk" positions a recurring string quartet sample and a distant gospel choir atop rumbling dub basslines.
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