One Judd is just enough

April 03, 1992|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,Pop Music Critic


Wynonna Judd (MCA 10529) Now that Naomi has retired from performing and recording, the Judds no longer exist in the plural. But after experiencing the singular charms of Wynonna Judd's first solo album, "Wynonna," it's doubtful that listeners will much mind the change of case; some may even like it better this way. True, Wynonna's singing is a mite more rambunctious than the duo's output was, but that works to her advantage on songs like "What It Takes" or "A Little Bit of Love," lending her music the sort of energetic edge Garth Brooks is famous for. And though the slow songs aren't always as convincing ("My Strongest Weakness" seems particularly soggy), she does well enough with "She Is His Only Need" and the luminous "Live with Jesus" to suggest that her ballad skills will doubtless improve with time.


EnVogue (East/West 92121)

New jack swing may have brought new life to the sound of R&B, but it is at root a basically regressive style, softening the toughest elements of hip-hop and funk in order to make them more acceptable to the mainstream. That's part of the reason why "Funky Divas," the sophomore effort from EnVogue, is often as frustrating as it is fun. On the one hand, the quartet's harmonizing is truly exhilarating, fleshing out the chorus to "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" and adding a new dimension to the Beatles' "Yesterday." But the rhythm arrangements are predictable in the extreme, and anyone familiar with Funkadelic will find the way EnVogue completes the phrase "Free Your Mind" to be pointlessly polite.


Queen (Hollywood 61311)

Though there's nothing new about rock musicians getting more attention after their deaths than before, it's hard not to feel at least a little rage over "Classic Queen," the collection of Queen singles rushed into print after Freddie Mercury's death. Apart from "Bohemian Rhapsody," the bombastic bonbon "Wayne's World" has pushed back into the Top-40, and "Under Pressure," which Vanilla Ice pilfered for "Ice Ice Baby," most of the album is given over to lesser-known material, particularly from the group's last three albums. And while it would be nice to think that listeners will at last be able to appreciate these tunes, it's hard not to wonder why they weren't promoted as diligently when Mercury was still alive.


Boogie Down Productions (Jive 1241-41470)

Great teachers don't merely convey information -- they challenge their students, making them think instead of merely letting them parrot facts. That's why KRS-One of Boogie Down Productions deserves to be considered as such. Because even if you happen to disagree with some of his thinking on "Sex and Violence," the points he makes are sure to make you reconsider your own opinions, whether the subject is taxation ("Who Are the Real Pimps?"), social economics ("Drug Dealers") or sexual politics ("Say Gal"). And if his boasting about his own rap ability seems a bit overstated, it's only because you need to learn a little about hard-core hip-hop, too.

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