Picks and Pans Review: Marilyn Martin

updated 03/10/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/10/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Marilyn Martin

Martin's first break out of the vast herd of talented unknowns came with her 1985 duet with Phil Collins on Separate Lives, the lovelorn ballad from the movie White Nights. That single remained in the Top 10 for four months. This debut album has the feel of a test run, at best an entertaining one. Executive producer Arif Mardin enlisted the help of six other producers, including Phil Ramone, Gary Stevensen (Go West) and John Astley and Phil Chapman (Corey Hart). Fifty musicians were called on too. Martin, who has recorded with Stevie Nicks, Kenny Loggins, Tom Petty and Joe Walsh, possesses an emotional and vocal range capable of delivering a heart-melting plea for love one moment and a butt-kicking ultimatum the next. That's appropriate. Although her voice bears the mark of the pining-for-love country singers that she grew up listening to in Kentucky, she says she has always gravitated toward the raw energy of such bands as the Stones and the Kinks. On this LP, Martin charges through such hammering rockers as Body and the Beat and Night Moves, already a hit single. (Like most of the album, they are dominated by the kind of relentlessly repetitive drum programming and baselines that make for sweaty dance-club fare.) She gets to play down-home macho woman on Here's the News, which is built around one riff that is reminiscent of the Beatle's acid-inspired I Am the Walrus. Two tunes, Too Much Too Soon and Move Closer, display Martin's vulnerable side. Both emphasize subtleties in her voice that are otherwise buried beneath the synthesized mountain of sound created by her seven producers. The thumping Beauty or the Beast, co-written by Martin, asks, "Is it the beauty or the beast in me that keeps you coming back for more?" In the case of this album, the answer is: Both. (Atlantic)

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