NO MORE TEARS
Ozzy Osbourne (Epic 46795)
After all the years Ozzy Osbourne spent as a bat-biting bozo, it may seem impossible to take this heavy metal icon seriously, but "No More Tears" ought to change a few minds. Ozzy hasn't changed his sound all that much, as most songs still revolve around his inimitable squeal and Zakk Wylde's screaming guitar, but his songs are sharper and more incisive this time around. Sure, he addresses the dark side on tunes like "Mr. Tinkertrain," but he also has fun with his devilish image, goofing on his reputation in "Zombie Stomp" and "Hellraiser." Best of all, he invests most of his energy in melody, not theatrics, and that is what ultimately keeps this album paying dividends.
BLUE LIGHT, RED LIGHT
Harry Connick Jr. (Columbia 48685)
Anyone wondering why the big band sound never came back will find an answer of sorts on "Blue Light, Red Light," Harry Connick Jr.'s new big band album. It ought to be a natural for the pop charts, given Connick's good looks and Sinatra-smooth croon, but it's not, because Connick has forgotten what made the old bands so great -- the songs. Whereas the old bands, from Ellington to Eckstine, were blessed with memorably melodic material, all Connick's songbook has going for it is flash and gimmickry, factors which leave plenty of room for his sidemen to show off but offer precious little listening pleasure.