'Incesticide': It's the sound of Nirvana, more or less

POPULAR MUSIC

December 18, 1992|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,Pop Music Critic

INCESTICIDE

Nirvana (DGC 24504) There are only two kinds of rock fans -- those who love specific albums and those who adore certain artists. Album fans tend to have limited loyalty, and will maintain their support only if an act stays within the boundaries of its initial success; artist fans, on the other hand, buy anything and everything their idols record. As such, those whose interest in Nirvana runs no further than the songs on "Nevermind" are likely to be disappointed with the odds and ends that make up the group's newest album, "Incesticide." Hardcore Nirvana-philes, on the other hand, will rejoice over rarities like "Been a Son" or "Sliver," and previously unreleased material like the wry, metallic "Aero Zeppelin."

BREATHLESS

Kenny G (Arista 18646)

It would be easy to sneer at Kenny G for the lack of jazz content in his latest album, "Breathless," but it would also be wrong. Because the G-ster is a melodist at heart, and his strongest solos here -- "Forever In Love," "End of the Night" and the Aaron Neville duet "Even If My Heart Would Break" -- find him focusing on melodic expression instead of improvisational invention. And even though his taste in pop tunes tends toward the prosaic and pretty, he's hardly the first to make millions off America's craving for things both sweet and bland.

IT'S YOUR CALL

Reba McEntire (MCA 10673)

Because she's been blessed with a voice that manages to balance the pop-oriented power of a Barbara Mandrell with the classic heartbreak quaver of a Tammy Wynette, Reba McEntire would seem ideally suited for the contemporary country market. So why does "It's Your Call" seem such a wrong-headed `D muddle? Some of it has to do with the almost schizophrenic split between the quiet understatement of ballads like the title tune, and the raucous, rock-oriented kick of tunes like "One Last Good Hand" and "Take It Back." But mostly it's because of the sound-alike monotony that make "Straight Back From You," "Will He Ever Go Away" and "Lighter Shade of Blue" seem to blur into

an endless replay of the same song.

LOSE CONTROL

Silk (Elektra 61394)

Given the recent resurgence in soul harmony singing, it was probably inevitable that some shrewd producer would find a way to combine the suave sensitivity of a Boyz II Men ballad with the street-savvy beats of Bell Biv DeVoe dance tune. And on that level, Silk's "Lose Control" is everything an R&B fan could have wanted. Not only is the group's ensemble work smooth and enticing, but the lead work is so strong that the cameo by producer Keith Sweat (on "Happy Days") is mere icing on the cake. Even better, the beats are supple and soulful, providing enough punch to keep the groove going without overshadowing the songs. But as much as the music creates a lush, lover-man mood, the boldly lascivious lyrics make it clear that romance isn't quite what this crew has in mind. Next time, guys, put a little more poetry in the songs, OK?

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