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.