Cameo (Reprise 26734)
Despite a propensity for deep grooves, Cameo's output has always been a bit on the shallow side, offering little more than sex talk and catch phrases. That isn't the case with "Emotional Violence," however. Although the album's rhythmic content is as rich as ever, from the throbbing, guitar-fueled funk of "Raw But Tasty" to the pumping, rap-spiked pulse of "Kid Don't Believe It," there's more to these songs than a good beat -- there's also usually a message. That's not to say Cameo frontman Larry Blackmon has turned preachy on us; to the contrary, his lyrics are generally as witty as they are wise, from the practical economics of "Money" to the sassy insistence of "Don't Crash."
BREAK LIKE THE WIND
Spinal Tap (MCA 10514)
When you get right down to it, the funniest thing about Spinal Tap -- the pseudo-metal band impersonated by comedians Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer -- is how plausible its silly songs seem. Cue up any selection from the group's sophomore (or is it sophomoric?) effort, "Break Like the Wind," and what you'll hear is only a slight exaggeration of the sort of tripe real hard rock groups dispense. "Just Begin Again," for instance, is the epitome of every overwrought power ballad ever recorded, from its laughable lyric to Cher's herniated harmonies, while the title tune offers the sort of philosophical insight that makes "Dust in the Wind" seem like "Being and Nothingness." And that may be the album's big mistake -- by being so believable, these songs are more often scary than funny.