Ringo Starr's 'Time' uses the past to its advantage

May 22, 1992|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,Pop Music Critic

TIME TAKES TIME

Ringo Starr (Private Music 82097)

Is it redundant to describe the work of a former Beatle a "Beatlesque"? Maybe so, but it's hard to think of a better way to describe the sound of Ringo Starr's "Time Takes Time." It helps, of course, that no one else sings quite the way Ringo does, but the appeal here has less to do with his inimitable delivery than with the songs he's singing. Whether it's the way the chiming guitars in "Weight of the World" recall the instrumental sparkle of "Rubber Soul," or how "Golden Blunders" coyly plays off "Golden Slumbers," it's clear that Starr is both completely comfortable with his past, and eager to make the most of his future. All of which combines to make this his best album since "Ringo."

HYPOCRISY IS THE GREATEST LUXURY

The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (4th & Broadway 162-444 043)

What makes a rap act worth hearing is usually a matter of sound, be it an infectious beat, a startling sample or an ear-grabbing voice. What makes a rap act worth heeding, however, is invariably a matter of content, and that's what lifts "Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury" by the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy well above the average rap album. That's not to say the album wants for aural interest; between the pounding intensity of the beats and the booming power of Michael Franti's voice, the Heroes are rarely hard up for hooks. But this group is more concerned with making a point than making hits, and that's why the best tracks here -- like anti-video "Television, the Drug of the Nation," or "Language of Violence," which artfully dissects the nature of name-calling -- are likely to make you think as well as dance.

THE GREAT WHITE WONDER

The Pooh Sticks (Zoo 72445-11029)

NTC

In Britain, where albums are as much a matter of aesthetic theory as mass entertainment, much thought is given to the difference in "pop" and "rock." According to the current wisdom, "pop" is wimpy, tuneful and heavily commercial, while "rock" is raucous, ragged and deeply countercultural. All of which explains why Welsh rockers the Pooh Sticks are seen as such a big deal over there. To English ears, the blend of blaring, heavy guitar and bleating, winsome singing offers a daring interpolation of pop innocence and rock daring, peppered with hip references to schlocky '70s bands. Whereas to American ears, it simply sounds inept.

THE STORY OF NEPTUNE

Tony Williams (Blue Note 98169)

One of the reasons many of jazz's young neo-traditionalists have a hard time recapturing the groove of those great Miles Davis bands of the '60s is that they only know them from what they've heard on albums. Tony Williams, on the other hand, played on most of those recordings, and as such, not only understands the original dynamic, but knows how to update it without diluting it. Perhaps that's why the music he and his current quintet make on "The Story of Neptune" seems so rich and resonant, for from the giddy extrapolations of "Neptune: Fear Not" to the carefully arranged ensemble work of "Blackbird," the playing here is never less than excellent.

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