WBBD -- BOOTCITY!
Bell Biv DeVoe (MCA 10345)
All anyone ever asks of a remix album is that it put a new spin on an old favorite. Bell Biv DeVoe's "WBBD -- Bootcity!" goes a step further, though -- not only does it freshen the most familiar tracks from "Poison," in some cases it actually surpasses the original. Although the radio station gimmick (the WBBD of the title) wears thin in a hurry, the music itself has plenty of staying power, thanks to remixes that do everything from simply hyping the beat to radically restructuring the songs. Better still, there's also "Word to the Mutha!," which by augmenting the BBD lineup with Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant goes beyond remixing to remake the New Edition sound. Worth hearing.
STRANGER IN THIS TOWN
Richie Sambora (Mercury 848 895)
Strip the Springsteenian excess from the last couple Bon Jovi albums, and what you'd be left with would probably sound a lot like "Stranger in This Town," the solo debut of Bon Jovi guitarist (and Cher plaything) Richie Sambora. That's not to say Sambora's own sound is lacking in bombast; indeed, the closer he gets to a ballad, the more likely he is to over-emote, something which makes the likes of "Rest in Peace" almost unbearable. But because the album's brightest moments -- "Ballad of Youth," say, or "Church of Desire" -- possess the same pop-rock appeal of Bon Jovi's best, Sambora's "Stranger" is likely to be in town for a while.