Picks and Pans Review: Tropico

updated 12/17/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/17/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Pat Benatar

Far subtler and more modulated than her recent albums, Tropico maintains Benatar's hell-bent-for-rock energy while also demonstrating her ability to explore some less bombastic approaches to pop music. There are some tinges of old Bo Diddley R&B on We Belong. Synthesizer effects mixed with a thoughtful lyric create a quiet mood on Painted Desert, written by Benatar's guitarist husband Neil Geraldo and drummer Myron Grombacher. A Crazy World Like This has some echoes of the Caribbean. Benatar's success has as much to do with style as with substance, and she doesn't sacrifice any of her aggressively sexy tone in slowing down enough to do some experimenting. There's one substantial gaffe, Suburban King, an embarrassing ode to unemployment: "The union man said/You would be recalled/But the company up and moved/To Taiwan." Chalk that one up to experience, though. This enterprising album otherwise demonstrates that Benatar has the courage to try something new and the talent to pull it off. (Chrysalis)

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