A review of Denise Rich's solo album

By Scott Brown
March 02, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

It’s the question on every pundit’s lips: Will embattled Clinton crony Denise Rich sing? Fans of the ex-wife of controversially pardoned financier Marc Rich know the truth: She already has. She’s a prolific, thrice-Grammy-nominated songwriter (including last year’s nod for the Aretha FranklinMary J. Blige duet, ”Don’t Waste Your Time”), but her own vocal stylings are another matter. She warbles ”Sweet Pain of Love” (a track from a 1987 solo album of the same name, released only in Europe) over the closing credits of 1987’s Plutonium Baby, a no-budget horror romp recently reissued on video by Troma. Attention, prosecutors: EW humbly submits this review as exhibit C-.

”Sweet Pain” kicks off with a smooth-jazz hook reminiscent of Expose or an Atari game soundtrack. Then, silkily, like the sound of soft money slipping into a presidential library fund, Rich’s subtext-laden lyrics emerge: ”This is the story/About a boy and girl/They lived together/In a fantasy world.” See how the simple lyrics overturn a cliche? Neither do we. Moving on: ”Time can change/Two loving hearts/Turn passion into hate/Tear us apart.” Given recent events, many might call this line prophetic, others lame. But the whole affair is pardoned by a synth sax solo so sensual, you’ll swear Bill himself laid down a track as a quid pro quo.