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Barry White, All-Time Greatest Hits Full |TOP| Album Zip

I'm way behind, and soon enough I'll tell you about lots more goodones. But I wouldn't want to give the impression that the riverof shit had somehow stopped flowing. And having made wild statementsabout the future of rap some months back, I wouldn't want to pretendthe future is upon us, either.BABES IN TOYLAND:Spanking Machine(Twin/Tone)Three daring womenwho decided that if Mudhoney could do it, they could too. And maderock feminists all over 'zineland darn proud.C PLUSBELL BIV DEVOE:Poison(MCA)Because the new jack thing is supposedto be a "pop" move, softening rap's male-bonded "rock" ethos withsweet beats and romantic lies, their misogyny is more alarming thanusual. Scared shitless of how much they need the one thing on theirminds, they dis the girls who give it to them. "I had to prove mymanhood/Show her that the B-I-V was damn good," but he's sure it isn'tjust him who makes her hot: "She's like that every day." You mightsay they'd have a shot at a decent sex life if they'd stop obsessingon every "sexy X-rated video queen." But that's the symptom, notthe cure--a cure the slick, juicy polyrhythms of Dr. Freeze and theShocklee-Sadler crew make me wish they'd find. Sure it's possiblethey're just shaking off their New Edition image. It's also possiblethey're mean bastards.B PLUSDIGITAL UNDERGROUND:Sex Packets(Tommy Boy)I'm not gonna call'em a singles band, but I defy anybody who loved "Doowutchyalike"and liked "The Humpty Dance" to isolate either's equal among themany cuts that remain. Debonair frat boys, they never leave youtotally uninterested, but only twice more are they anything likecompelling--on the title track, a properly multileveled age-of-AIDSfantasia, and on "Gutfest '89," which reminds us that frat-boy sexismis no less lethal than the street variety.B[Later: ]THE D.O.C.:No One Can Do It Better(Ruthless)For three cuts itdoesn't matter that he says nothing fast--not only is the music funky(his favorite word), it's clever, multileveled, gut-wrenching, ear-opening.Add the raucous Michel'le cameo "Comm. Blues" and you begin to thinkhe deserves his best-seller, message or no message. And then, zip.Except on the tongue-twisting "Portrait of a Master Piece," the funkstraightens out so abruptly you soon wonder what he's got to say.The less the better, as it turns out--guess who's "Beautiful butDeadly."BICE CUBE:Amerikkka's Most Wanted(Priority)Musically it's as originalas A Tribe Called Quest, and probably doper: with Eric Sadler thickeningthe mix and the vocalist bluntly banging the tracks home, it deliversthe hard beats N.W.A's claque clamors about, not just for a fewsucker punches but from beginning to end. Lyrically it's as piggyas it wants to be: despite his gift for rhyme and narrative, IceCube's politics revert to victim-of-a-racist-society belligerence exceptmaybe on the willfully perverse (and hateful) "The Nigga You LoveTo Hate." It was inevitable that some womanhater would elevate hisproblem into an emblem of outlaw status. But I say fuck the muthafucka,stay on his dick, etc.--anybody who's thinks it's cute to dub himself"the bitch killer" is armed, extremely dangerous, and fair gamefor the pickle jar.B MINUSBILLY IDOL:Charmed Life(Chrysalis) Never much of an idol as thepretty Johnny Rotten or the ugly Brian Setzer and now a has-beenas the tough Simon Le Bon, he makes a pathetic reentry as the not-deadJim Morrison. Since the only Jimbo he knows is Jimbo the AOR figurehead,the music tends toward dance-metal, which with his DOR backgroundhe occasionally renders pop-seductive. Good--better consensual s&mthan unprosecuted rape. But his rebel yells couldn't sell a tattooto a leather boy. Recommended heckle: "Show us your dick."C MINUS[Later: ]GREGORY ISAACS:I.O.U.(RAS)Isaacs evolves so slowly that he'llstill be catching up with pop history when he's 70, which makeskeeping up with him less fun than quality music ought to be. LikeSmokey, he's given up on songwriting and production, yet musicallyhe's deeper now than five years ago: when Gussie Clarke tells himto lead with an unskanking soul-ballad groove, he gets into it noquestions asked--like he owns it. Politically, however, he's disappeared,and since one of his charms was how naturally he yoked resistanceand romance, he falls on just the wrong side of the almost imperceptiblemargin between the crafty and the generic. Though if Clarke hadcome up with more sound effects like the warbling electronic crickethiding in the underbrush of "Report to Me," I'd never think to mentionit.BGREGORY ISAACS:My Number One(Heartbeat)Isaacs has got to be thesameyest great artist in pop history--though I own only four of these13 tracks from his big youth on Alvin Ranglin's GG label, two ofthem on a tape I haven't played since I got it, just about everytune sounded like an old friend after a brief, casual interchange,because just about every one has been sending its cousins by foryears. Coolly crooning lyrics that declare for self-determinationup against romance or oppression, caressing and suffering with equalimperturbability, Isaacs is the aural image of an unconquerable,ganja-guzzling serenity. With ace toasters pitching in on four defacto disco discs, this is the U.S. release that will convince doubtersuntil he gets the boxed set he deserves.A MINUSKID CREOLE AND THE COCONUTS:Private Waters in the Great Divide(Columbia)Word is August Darnell hired out to Sony under heavypressure from label prexy (and former Dr. Buzzard manager) TommyMottola to provide a hit. There's even a shocked report that hewas sent back into the studio for a quick "Lambada" stick-on, butI say the voracious universalism of that great hit is an improvement.Most of these songs maintain a level of imagination that has alwaysmatched that of Loudon Wainwright, say, or John Prine, but they'relimited by a previously undetectable reliance on shtick. "I LoveGirls," for instance, is a sinuous sample of the album'shomogeneous-to-homogenizeddisco-funk and a proper first panel for the roue-in-the-age-of-AIDS triptych.But it's not liberating, it's not daring, it's not even surprising,and for wit all Darnell does is show off his vocabulary. The samegoes for the true-crime "Taking the Rap," the sexy "When Lucy Doesthe Boomerang," and so forth. Not even Cory Daye or the new Princesong lift off from the pleasure zone, except of course the dunningrefrain of "Laughing With Our Backs Against the Wall": "What yougonna do when the money runs out?" Sign with Sony, of course.B PLUS[Later]KING MISSILE:Mystical Shit(Shimmy-Disc)People born in the '60sfind this postmod counterculture parody/tribute right on, but assomeone who turned 21 in '62 I buy mainly the comedy, and not alwaysthen--"Jesus Is Way Cool" is ace Dead Milkmen (very '80s, kids) andthe free-love fable says all by not drawing a moral, but a convolutedcontext doesn't render the one about the sandbox any less a doodyjoke. As for the guitar work, they gotta believe--and they don't,not really.B[Later: ]MADONNA:I'm Breathless(Sire/Warner Bros.) Show tunes aren't mycup of tea either, and there are no doubt hundreds of frustratedchorines who could sing the three Sondheim originals "better" thanthe most famous person in the world. But with its pedigree of witand musicality, show-tune pop-schlock sure beats the direct-to-Vegaspower ballads with which she's heretofore betrayed her dance-rockroots. Especially when she writes it herself--except for the "MaterialGirl"-inspired "More," the Sondheim tunes are fussy and genteel (withMandy Patinkin's "well-sung" cameo the nadir), but such fake periodpieces as "Cry Baby," "He's a Man," and the risque s&m-lite "HankyPanky" are all her. This is a woman whose great gift is for themask. Camp isn't everything she can do, but she sure knows how todo it right.A MINUS[Later: A]MATERIAL:Seven Souls(Virgin)The male version of Laurie Anderson'sStrange Angels is a marriage made in purgatory between two coldmotherfuckers: Bill Laswell and Bill Burroughs. Seamlessly synthesizingnew-age atmospherics, authentic African passion, and arena-rock melodrama,Laswell devises settings for the sci-fi ecopessimism of the greatestreader of our time. Not that it's all dead souls and dire consequences--forbalance and to prove he can do it, Laswell also constructs an inspiritingthird-world anthem from the remains of John Lydon's "Pop Tones."B PLUS[Later]PROFESSOR GRIFF AND THE LAST ASIATIC DISCIPLES:Pawns in the Game(Skyywalker)Of course he's serious; who could doubt it? Griff'sproblem (one of them, I mean) is that he's too serious--Chuck too serious, and Chuck is Kid if not Play by comparison. Whatlittle pleasure contaminates this music is like a Stryper solo,or a folksinger who's decided a drummer might bring his or her messageto the masses--aping Chuck or biting the Last Poets, Griff's a lame,and the Lads are followers. Even the list of U.S. war crimes, thestrongest dumbass leftist moment in a scattershot analysis, is compromisedby his praise for Khomeini and Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings. And thoughhe adjudges the universal price code a tool of the Great Satan,he didn't have the clout or the principle to keep it off his package.CPUBLIC ENEMY:Fear of a Black Planet(Def Jam)All preemptive strikesto the contrary, this is a much better record than there was anyreason to expect under the circumstances. It's not unusually inflatedor self-involved. It's far from lazy or thoughtless musically, thoughits brutal pace does wear down eventually. It's got a sense of humor,not just from a Flav who gets smarter all the time but from Chuck,whose "Pollywanacraka" message and voice--people keep bringing inBarry White or Isaac Hayes, but he's playing the pedagogue, notthe love man, maybe some Reverend Ike figure--is the album's mostsurprising moment. And it's no more suspect ideologically than they'veever been, with the anti-Semitic provocation of "Terrordome" andthe homophobic etiology of "Meet the G That Killed Me," both objectionableand neither one as heinous or as explicit as it's made out to be,countered somewhat by a clumsy attempt at a prowoman slant. Shticktheir rebel music may be, but this is show business, and they'restill smarter and more daring than anybody else working their beat.A MINUS[Later: A]SHOES:Stolen Wishes(Black Vinyl)Still hooky after all these years,the three principals divide up 15 more love songs: John Murphy makesup to break up, Jeff Murphy starts happy-happy and gets blown away,Gary Klebe obsesses and suffers and obsesses some more. All overZion, Illinois, bedrooms quake at the mere mention of these thirtysomethinglotharios' names.BALI FARKA TOURE:The River(World Circuit import)As a self-taughtguitarist who's rarely reviewed without reference to John Lee Hooker,Toure is conflicted about Afro-American music--does he owe it or doesit owe him? And although he always displays the guitar style thatoccasions the comparison (which I'm betting is part influence, parttradition, and part invention), his recordings drift into the folkloric.So it's a relief that unlike Mango's Ali Farka Toure or Shanachie'sAfrican Blues, this one means to cross over a bit. Not only doesit make room for a second human being (Amadou Cisse on calabash,the percussion device that Toure overdubs on his Mango release),but tracks colored with harmonica, saxophone, fiddle and bodhran,and the single-stringed njarka that Toure picks up for the finale--notto mention an extra edge of vocal command. I don't know what Malianswill think. But I say the result is variety, not compromise. AndI say it's what he's always needed.A MINUSSUZANNE VEGA:Days of Open Hand(A&M)Right off she declares forthe new realism: "Oh mom/The dreams are not so bad/It's just thatthere's so much to do/And I'm tired of sleeping." About time, too--onlyshe can't take it. She's politically alienated and not too thrilledabout that abortion. She throws up her hands at the future. She'sdecorous, tuneful, art-directed. And she gets her title, whateverit means, from the one called "Book of Dreams."B MINUSVillage Voice, July 3, 1990

Barry White, All-Time Greatest Hits full album zip


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