T-R-O-U-B-L-E spells a winner for Tritt

September 11, 1992|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,Pop Music Critic


Travis Tritt (Warner Bros. 45048)

Garth Brooks may represent the commercial future of country music, but if you want to hear where the music itself is going, listen to Travis Tritt's new album, "T-R-O-U-B-L-E." Like many of the genre's younger generation, Tritt's roots include a lot of Southern rock, something that comes through loud and clear on tunes like the boogie-driven "Blue Collar Man" or his searing cover of Buddy Guy's "Leave My Girl Alone." But Tritt also has a sentimental side, and it's his ability to seem as believable singing sad songs like "Can I Trust You With My Heart" as when he's rocking out that makes "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" a winner no matter how you spell it.


Hi-Five (Jive 41474)

There's nothing hard to get about the appeal of Hi-Five's current single, "Hard to Get"; between the crisp, new-jack groove and the lush, old-style vocal harmonies, it's clear that the group understands what it takes to cook up a contemporary R&B hit. So you might think that merely repeating the formula would be enough to make the rest of "Keep It Goin' On" just as enjoyable as the hit. Unfortunately, you'd be just as wrong as Hi-Five is. Why? Some of it has to do with the fact that, despite their ensemble polish, these five lack the vocal versatility necessary to stretch a simple approach to album-length. But mostly it's a matter of thematic redundancy -- meaning that by the sixth or seventh sweetly harmonized broken heart song, you'll be wondering if your stereo got stuck on the repeat cycle.


M.C. Serch (Def Jam/Chaos 52964)

When former 3rd Bass-man M.C. Serch calls his solo debut "Return of the Product," he doesn't mean "product" in the sense of pre-packaged or predictably commercial. No, Serch is talking about being the product of his environment -- specifically, the old-school hip-hop scene in New York. How that affected his taste, sound and attitude ought to be evident in the good-natured give-and-take of group raps like "Back to the Grill," which find him trading rhymes with the likes of Red Hot Lover Tone and Chubb Rock. But "Return of the Product" isn't just a return to roots; in fact, its best moments are those that look to the future, like "Daze in a Weak" or "Social Narcotics."


The 25th of May (Arista 18712)

Taken as a matter of style, there's nothing on the 25th of May's American debut that hasn't already been done by B.A.D., EMF or Jesus Jones. But then, it isn't the band's ideas that make "Lenin & McCarthy" worth hearing, so much as its execution. Instead of bTC the vague, attitudinal politics favored by most pop-savvy English rock acts today, the 25th of May has a definite program with some very specific gripes. And while that sometimes lumbers their lyrics with more politics than most Americans will find necessary, it does add enough edge to give a genuinely #F anthemic quality to songs like "Answer Back" or "Go Wild."

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