Still caustic after all these years, the 41-year-old British pop-rocker has made his best album since 1979's landmark Squeezing Out Sparks. A veteran of the mid-'70s new-wave scene, Parker blended rock and R&B with acerbic lyrics to patent the smart-aleck singer-songwriter routine. It's a role he still plays best. Burning Questions boasts several of his trademark, back-to-basics rockers, like "Release Me" and "Short Memories." And there are plenty of ticked-off lyrics, such as "They tell you the preacher was hypocritical/ What they don't tell you is that he's typical/ And what he stands for is totally mythical," from "Here It Comes Again."
But for every snarl there's a gentler love song, like "Long Stem Rose" or "Just Like Hermann Hesse," that shows all sides of the man. It's nice to see a guy who could have coasted pushing himself to the next level. (Capitol)"