Notable music for the week of June 1, 1990 -- Short reviews on recently released titles

By EW Staff
Updated June 01, 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Notable music for the week of June 1, 1990

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

*A House On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round (Sire/Reprise/ Blanco Y Negro; all formats) Another wry alternative band. But it’s more literate than most and — sometimes the singer’s voice sails off on winds of crazy, tattered emotion. B+ (GS)

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

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

*John Doe Meet John Doe (DGC; all formats) Mannered, whiny solo debut from a member of X, the legendary punk band. Biggest surprise: Take away Doe’s singing and most of the songs would sound like mainstream rock. C (GS)

*Lita Ford Stiletto (RCA; all formats) The No. 1 woman in heavy metal makes the strong, sexy album fans always knew she had in her. B+ (GS)

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

*Roy Hargrove Diamond in the Rough (Novus; all formats) Blues, bop, ballads, and more by an uncommonly gifted 20-year-old trumpeter. B+ (Gary Giddins)

*Jools Holland A World of His Own (I.R.S.; CD, T) Keyboard player from Squeeze with a beguiling solo album. The songs are complex gems, as artistic as intricate paintings — and Holland can sing. A- (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)

*Ice Cube AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (Priority; all formats) Raps about violent ghetto life, thrown harshly in your face. B- (GS) *Billy Idol Charmed Life (Chrysalis; all formats) Unexpectedly touching album from a rock & roll bad boy. A- (GS)

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

*Madonna I’m Breathless: Music From and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy (Sire/Warner; all formats) Brilliant re-creation of ’30s and ’40s musical styles, spiced with coy sexiness. A (GS)

*Mazzy Star She Hangs Brightly (Rough Trade; all formats) Spooky mix of art-rock and country. A (GS)

*Michael McDonald Take It to Heart (Reprise; all formats) Fine, serious funk and rock, but needs variety. B- (GS)

*Charles Mingus Epitaph (Columbia; 2CD, 2T) The two-hour posthumous opus of a great composer. A (GG)

*Meli’sa Morgan The Lady in Me (Capitol; all formats) Bright-voiced singer records her first album in two years. It’s standard R&B, unnecessarily gilded with short but portentous interludes between songs. B (GS)

*Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam/Columbia; all formats) Provocative, powerful album by rap group, which hints at troubling racial theories but overall raises issues that can’t be ignored. A- (GS)

*The Pursuit of Happiness One Sided Story (Chrysalis; all formats) Biting, brainy rock songs, with lyrics that at their best sound right off the shelves of an offbeat bookstore. B+ (GS)

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

*Snap World Power (Arista; all formats) Smart dance/rap, full of surprises; includes the group’s current killer dance hit, ”The Power.” A- (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)

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

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