PUT YOURSELF IN MY SHOES/Clint Black (RCA 2372)
Poor Clint Black. His girlfriend left him, his car keeps breaking down, and he's so worn out by all his honky-tonkin' he can barely see straight. Yet as he describes these troubles on "Put Yourself In My Shoes," he seems to be having a grand time, whoopin' his way through "This Nightlife" and happily harmonizing on "One More Payment." Has he gone nuts? Not hardly. Black isn't singing about his own life, he's just trying to live up to the country music truism that the worst times make the best lyrics. Trouble is, Black puts so much effort into writing 'em like they used to that he forgets the most important tradition of all: Sing 'em like you mean it.
WIGGLE IT 2 In a Room/(Cutting/Charisma 91594)
When you get right down to it, it rarely matters whether a dance record is original; what counts is whether it's functional. Which perhaps explains why the songs on 2 In a Room's "Wiggle It" manage to defy expectations so completely. Obviously, there's nothing new here, as the album's every groove -- from the bass-driven thump of "She's Got Me Going Crazy" to the hip-house wallop of the title tune -- seems to have been borrowed from somewhere else. But that's never a problem, because the 2 in a Room team knows how to turn a secondhand beat into a first-class dance track.