Now In a Minute (Atlantic 82762)
What listeners look for in love songs isn't a reflection of their own romantic experience so much as a sense of what love should be like. Maybe that's why the Donna Lewis single "I Love You Always Forever" has struck such a chord with pop fans, because seldom has eternal devotion been made to seem so effortless and effervescent. Lewis can't take credit for the chorus' clever wordplay -- those specific lyrics come from the H.E. Bates novel "Love for Lydia" -- but she does deserve applause for the way she has set them to music, using the words' natural cadence to concoct the kind of catchy melody you hear once and hum all day. That's not the kind of magic songwriters conjure on a regular basis, so it's hardly surprising that the rest of Lewis' album, "Now In a Minute," doesn't quite live up to that standard. But it doesn't fall all that short of it, either, as Lewis' breathy, girlish voice and supple, sinuous melodies make each of these 10 tunes worth hearing, from the delicately textured "Lights of Life" to the percolatingly percussive "Nothing Ever Changes."
White Zombie Presents Supersexy Swingin' Sounds (Geffen 24976)
From the early-'60s cheesecake cover art to the hep-cat lingo of its title, it's clear that White Zombie intended "White Zombie Presents Supersexy Swingin' Sounds" as a tribute to cocktail chic -- Molotov cocktail chic, that is. Offering 11 remixes of Zombie tunes ranging from "Electric Head" to "Grease Paint and Monkey Brains," the "Swingin' Sounds" collection is best thought of as a dance album for people who don't like to dance. Sure, these remade and remodeled arrangements rely on the same tricks found on most club remixes -- scratching, sampling, looped rhythms and dub-style drop-outs -- but they never quite apply them to pumping up the beat. Instead, what the mixmasters do is make the tracks more in-your-face aggressive, using jungle-style breakbeats to bring a breathless intensity to "Super-Charger Heaven" and using extra synths and vocal treatments to turn "More Human Than Human" into a virtual sonic steamroller. And though the album does have its funky moments -- the P.M. Dawn remix of "Blood, Milk and Sky" floats along on a nasty neo-psychedelic groove, while the Dust Brothers treatment of "I'm Your Boogie Man" makes White Zombie sound like the Sunshine Band on speed -- they're almost incidental to the music's main thrust.
Unreleased and Revamped (Ruff House/Columbia 67780)
It would be hard to imagine a title more devoted to the notion of truth-in-packaging than Cypress Hill's "Unreleased and Revamped" -- and almost as difficult to ascertain what, other than honesty, this eight-song album has going for it. True, there are plenty of cameos to be had, from a Fugees-fueled remix of "Boom Biddy Bye Bye" to guest shots by Erick Sermon and MC Eiht on "Throw Your Hands in the Air," but that star power doesn't add all that much; not even the Fugees' Lauren Hill can sufficiently sweeten "Boom Biddy Bye Bye." And while it's interesting to hear the unreleased "Whatta Ya Know," there's not enough fire burning beneath the blood-soaked hyperbole of its paranoid lyrics to make it anything close to essential listening. So that leaves only the remixes to recommend this disc, and while it's interesting to hear, for instance, how A Tribe Called Quest's dub-schooled rethink of "Illusions" changes the music's mood, only the most dedicated completists will find that lesson worth the price of a CD.
Heaven (Island 182 531 064)
Just as Nearly God is not quite meant as a Tricky project -- even though it features both Tricky himself as well as his singer/sidekick Martina Topley Bird -- neither is "Heaven" a dance album. Instead, what it offers is the inverse of dance music, taking its sample-and-loop aesthetic and turning it upside down. That is, on tracks like "Keep Your Mouth Shut" or "Bubbles," the pulse doesn't define the music so much as flavor it, acting more like texture rhythmic glue. So even though the 10 tracks here play off the aural vocabulary of hip-hop, ambient and dub, they forego the kind of rhythmic urgency (or even focus) normally associated with dance music. There are times, in fact, when it's hard even to figure out where the beat is, as on the dense, scattered "I Be the Prophet" or the dreamy "Yoga." Yet as abstract and arty as the music often gets, there's something hypnotic and attractive about these tracks, as if their unorthodox soundscapes offered a glimpse into another, alluringly magical world. Could be there's a reason he's called Tricky, you know.
Pub Date: 8/22/96