Picks and Pans Review: Medusa

updated 03/20/1995 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/20/1995 01:00AM

Annie Lennox

Greek mythology's serpent-haired Medusa had a killer face that turned men to stone. Although Annie Lennox has named her second solo album after the snaky shrew, the former Eurythmic really has a closer affinity to King Midas—her touch turns other people's songs into gold. Throughout Medusa, her grand alto floats over producer Stephen Lipson's dreamy soundscapes, managing to make tunes by such diverse talents as Al Green, Paul Simon and Neil Young sound as if they belong together. Lennox and Lipson bring a hip-hop backbeat and lots of gospel attitude to the Clash's "Train in Vain (Stand by Me)"—even Clash fanatics might swear they're hearing the punk-popper for the first time—while they put a light flamenco spin on Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain" that underscores the longing and resignation in Lennox's tearful vocal turn. And in the album's standout moment, Lennox tackles the Persuaders' "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" with a razor-sharp rage that's been missing from previous versions of the fable about a wronged wife driven to violence. It's chilling enough to give old Medusa herself a case of the shivers. (Arista)

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