The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on October 11, 1992 · Page 264
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 264

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Sunday, October 11, 1992
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opmusic Prince's Latest Fleshed-Out Fantasy PRINCE & THE N.P.G. "? poiki Paisley ParkWarner Bros. On Prince's latest, the funk is outweighed only by the bunk. So where to begin making sense of this incomprehensible mess? How about with the "caution-genders merging" symbol that is the album's title? Or should our quest begin with the baffling story line of his "fantasy rock soap opera," in which Prince seduces a virginal yet hot-to-trot RECORD RACK TAMMY LECHNER Lo Angelei Times Michael Bolton: He does justice to himself and to his material. Middle Eastern princess, i.e., his latest "protegee" (nudge nudge), teen-age belly dancer Mayte? Should we try to decipher the cryptic dialogues between Prince and Kirstie Alley, who plays a reporter hot on his cute tail? How about the sudden burst of apocalyptic religion in "7," following so much veritable soft porn? Since Prince refers so often and obliquely to "another world," should we ask whether they have nonstop oral sex there too? And what is it with the recurring homages to Roger Vadim? Although there's some sort of underlying narrative here soon to be further explored in a DC comic book ( no joke! ) it seems a random mishmash of silly ideas set to irresistable beats, roughly corresponding to Prince's usual ratio of 90 flesh, 10 spirit. (There's a little more flesh in the "unedited" edition; those who purchase the "edited" album are denied the privilege of Prince de-abbreviating "Sexy MF." ) For the second album in a row, Prince has largely left behind his studio innovation for the derivative pleasures of his hip-hop-informed band, the N.P.G. The "live" horn section hearkening back to James Brown is a terrific touch. The accessible combination of rap interludes on heavier numbers and sweet saxes on bal- Prince: More derivative, less innovative a pedestrian indulgence. V4 VARIOUS ARTISTS "Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus" Columbia Hal Willner, the master of concept albums, has taken on a big-time task with this curious melange of works by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus. With a cast that includes such marquee names as Elvis Costello, Keith Richards, Dr. John, Leonard Cohen, Chuck D., Henry Rollins and Hubert Selby Jr., the project stands up and demands attention. The question is whether the attention is directed toward Mingus' often-eccentric compositions and prose (spoken excerpts from his autobiography, "Beneath the Underdog") or toward the kaleidoscope of crashing individual styles and attitudes that dominate the production. Please see Page 64 classics made famous by singers the likes of Sam Cooke, Sam & Dave and the Four Tops. The Tops themselves join him on his version of one of their biggest signature hits, "Reach Out, I'll Be There," and there's nothing to knock here. This song is so robust and tamper -proof that Bolton's typically lung-busting treatment suits it just fine. Likewise, on Sam & Dave's "Hold On, I'm Coming," easily this album's best track, Bolton goes at it full-throttle anything more restrained wouldn't have been worth the trip. Bolton's past versions of songs made famous by others have rarely been definitive gems that set the standards. One can only wonder what Bing Crosby would think of his "White Christmas" but Bolton disgraces neither himself nor the material he chooses on this album. Definitive, de-schminitive, it mostly sounds pretty good. -CONNIE JOHNSON Bible in the hotel drawer. As the brothers Doobie once said, what were once vices are now habits. CHRIS WILLMAN MICHAEL BOLTON "Timeless (The Classics)" Columbia Given the knocks and pans he gets from critics old enough to know what these songs are supposed to sound like, it's brave of Bolton to barrel ahead, not caring whether he's culturally correct in recording, among others, soul lads guarantees he'll continue to woo back the mass audience he alienated around "Lovesexy." But the ham keeps getting in the way of the jams. And look out when the concept starts rearing its pretentious head: The multipart "3 Chains 0' Gold" is redolent of nothing so much as a witless "Bohemian Rhapsody." Prince has always been indulgent, but this is a pedestrian indulgence. Formerly a horny gnostic of fascinatingly obsessive proportions, he now seems like just another confused Peter Pan with Playboy on the brain and a 3 TOP 10 HARD ROCK ALBUMS Last Week Tltie, Artist (National Rank) TOP 10 SINGLES Tine, Artist (National Rank) Last Week 1 End of the Road, Boyz II Men (1) 1 2 Jump Around, House of Pain (2) 2 3 BecktotheHotel,N2Deep(6) 3 4 People Everyday, Arrested Development (6) 5 5 Rhythm b I Dancer, Snap (10) 4 0 Sometime Love. .. , Patty Smyth (3) 6 7 Phase Don't So, K.W.S (16) 7 8 What About Yew Friendt, TLC (IS) 20 9 I'd Die Without Vou, PM Dawn (22) 11 10 Cnaaover,EPMD(33) 8 TOP 10 ALBUMS Title, Artist (National Rank) Last Week 1 The Chaw, Garth Brooks (1) 1 2 Ut, Peter Gabriel (2) 3 Unshod, Eric Clapton (4) 3 4 DW, Alice in Chains (6) 5 mmltu, Michael Bolton (S) - 6 Swntftm AD, Billy Ray Cyrus (3) 6 7 Tm, Pearl Jam (7) 2 8 Singles, soundtrack (10) 4 9 Guerilla h Tha Mitt, Da Lench Mob (24) 5 10 What't the 41 17, Mary J. Blige (9) 16 Garth Rules For Now Once again Garth Brooks' "The Chase" outsold the competition by a country mile, with Peter Gabriel's "Us" a distant but surprising second on the Southern California charts in its first week of release. Michael Bolton's "Timeless," which entered at No. 5, should get stronger in coming weeks and challenge "The Chase." The top hard rock album is Alice in Chains' new "Dirt," which has also made a splash at No. 4 on the pop chart. 1 Dirt, Alice In Chains (1) 2 Ten, Peart Jam (2) 1 3 Single, soundtrack (3) 2 4 Blood Sugar. . . , Red Hot Chill Peppers (10) 3 5 Teiirph of the Dog, Temple of the Dog (9) 5 8 Whet HttaT, Red Hot Chill Peppers (8) - 7 BnatettHKt, Queen (S) 7 8 ltaliw,Metaca(e) 8 1 Broken, Nine Inch Nails (4) 6 10 Use Yoer Oaten I, Guns N' Roses (12) 10 Source: SoundScan Inc., for week ending Oct. 4 The Times' exclusive Southern California chart are prepared jrom information supplied by SoundScan Inc., the music industry's leading sales-reporting service. 'WjIWI.h- a.W!t iUim U LOS ANGELES TIMESCALENDAR

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