Picks and Pans Review: Letters Never Sent

updated 11/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Carly Simon

Song sleuths who detected an open letter from Carly Simon to Warren Beatty in "You're So Vain" 22 years ago will be delighted by the arrival of her latest album, which is drawn from missives the singer wrote but thought better of mailing. Lines like "What about a holiday, just the eight of us/ You and me and all the Stones" in "The Reason" and "If you break, speak and call me your lover/ I'll lie, I swear, I'll lie, and it will be over" in "Private" should have the lyric-sifters rolling up their sleeves.

The album is less intriguing for music fans. Simon's supple, distinctive voice can't salvage songs that, however heartfelt, seem half-formed. Even one of the most appealing cuts, "Like a River"—a lovely tribute to her late mother—founders when a chunk of Romulus Hunt, Simon's attempt at writing opera last year, is tossed in at the end. With impulses like that being indulged, no wonder Letters Never Sent doesn't deliver. (Arista)

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