Notable music for the week of June 8, 1990 -- Short reviews on recently released titles

By EW Staff
Updated June 08, 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT

Notable music for the week of June 8, 1990

* 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+ (Greg Sandow)

* 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)

* Bootsy’s Rubber Band Jungle Bass (4th & Broadway/Island; EP; all formats) Enjoyable bass-heavy stew from Bootsy Collins, one of funk’s founding fathers. B (GS)

* The Breeders Pod (4 AD (U.S.)/Rough Trade; all formats) Modern rock supergroup, featuring members of Throwing Muses and the Pixies. Intriguing, dessicated sound, but both music and lyrics sometimes seem contrived. B- (GS)

* Mariah Carey Mariah Carey (Columbia; all formats) Debut of R&B singer with astonishing vocal range and high ideals. At her best, her singing burns with an innocent flame. But the content of her songs is often thin. 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)

* M.C. Hammer Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (Capitol; all formats) Award- winning rapper hits hard at community problems. A- (GS)

* 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)

* Inspiral Carpets Cool as **** (Cow; EP; all formats) Leading band from trendy neo-’60s rock scene in Manchester, England. Good, sharp fun, with driving guitars and delightful, cheesy organ. B+ (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)

* Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens Rhythm and Art (Shanachie; all formats) Rock-solid rhythm — with gospel vocal touches — from giants of South African music. 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)

* Milli Vanilli The Remix Album (Arista; all formats) Mostly perfunctory versions of familiar pop megahits. C- (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)

* Sinéad O’Connor I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (Chrysalis; all formats) She transforms pop-music styles as she sings about her quest for serenity. A (GS)

* The Pointer Sisters Right Rhythm (Motown; all formats, bonus track on CD, T) Long-established group gets back on spiffy (though familiar) track. B (GS)

* The Pretenders packed! (Sire/Warner; all formats) Chrissie Hynde has new musicians again and sounds depressed; some forceful moments, but a quieter, more glum album than 1986’s Get Close. 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)

* Andrew Ridgeley Son of Albert (Columbia; CD, T) Former Wham! star reinvents himself as derivative rock & roll tough guy. C+ (GS)

* Dan Seals On Arrival (Capitol; CD, T) Bantamweight country-pop from half of the ’70s pop duo England Dan and John Ford Coley. C- (AN)

* 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)

* Soul II Soul Vol. II 1990 A New Decade (Virgin; all formats) Deeply satisfying second album by last year’s British dance sensation. A (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)

* Cassandra Wilson Jumpworld (JMT; CD, T) Talented singer tries a science- fiction concept. Earth to Cassandra: Come home. C+ (GG)

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

* Buckwheat Zydeco Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire (Island; all formats) Lively Cajun beat, with lots of accordion; includes a fetching cover of ”Route 66.” B+ (GS)