By Jim Farber
October 27, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Ain't Nothin' but a She Thing

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type
  • Music

Conceived as a money raiser for women’s medical funds, Ain’t Nothin’ but a She Thing (London) sets 10 female performers free on both their own material and works by women who inspired them. The strategy makes for some wild leaps — Patti Smith on Nina Simone, Queen Latifah on Dr. Buzzard.

But other leaps end in horrible plunges. Melissa Etheridge’s take on Joan Armatrading’s ”The Weakness in Me” presents the young singer’s first-ever stab at understatement. Too bad she proves incapable of such a thing. Annie Lennox’s ”Mama,” a Sugarcubes tune, misses the loopiness of Bjork’s vocal, and her synth-pop lacks the Cubes’ surreal color.

Others just drift through the motions. Andi Oliver regurgitates the blaxploitation bass of Marlena Shaw’s ”Woman of the Ghetto,” while Vanessa Williams’ version of Flora Purim’s ”Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly” is vacant enough to clinch her another Miss America crown.

She Thing still has its moments. Patti Smith captures the wit and regret of ”Don’t Smoke in Bed,” while Sinead O’Connor sounds like a reincarnated Sandy Denny in ”Women of Ireland.” Such performances can’t make this sisterhood more powerful, but at least they make it bearable. C

Ain't Nothin' but a She Thing

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  • Music
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