Picks and Pans Review: Play Me Out

UPDATED 06/29/1981 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/29/1981 at 01:00 AM EDT

Helen Reddy

In the nine years since she became a major U.S. recording star, Reddy has amply demonstrated her verve and the technical strength of her voice. She has shown, however, a near total inability to project warmth or any other kind of feeling. The strident, acerbic edge that served her well on I Am Woman is not always useful, and on this LP she sounds snarly at times. She and producer Joel Diamond have also chosen a subpar group of songs from such usually reliable writers as Becky Hobbs, Lesley Gore and Neil Sedaka. The arrangements show a remarkable penchant for vapid refrains. On Let's Just Stay Home Tonight, there's a chorus that goes "Let's just stay home tonight/Ooooh, I'm gonna get you alone tonight/ Pull down the shades, turn off the lights/Just you and me in sweet harmony." Does this extended silliness seem worth repeating six times in a three-minute song? Reddy thinks so. And at the end of the standby You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, she implores, "Believe me. Believe me. Believe me." We think the lady doth protest too much.

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