Picks and Pans Review: Bang!

updated 04/09/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/09/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Corey Hart

With his fifth release, Canadian pop rocker Hart continues to grow as a writer and arranger, if not as a singer. The album starts off with—there's no escaping it—a bang. "A Little Love" has a rocking verse and soulful chorus, boosted by Ruby Turner's backing vocals and a guitar foundation as tough and taut as a barbed wire fence, courtesy of session man extraordinaire Michael Landau.

"Rain on Me," with lyrical allusions to Bob Marley and Bruce Springsteen, has a sound like Sting's, a similarity emphasized I by Gerald Albright's soprano sax tootlings. But it's Sting with big boots on, the heft provided by the hailstorm-on-a-tin-roof drumming of Kenny Aronoff, John Mellencamp's steady basher.

Then there's—also no escaping this—the voice. Hart's phrasing and articulation can still be gratingly precious on slower songs. That isn't to say that the bluesy lament "Can't Stand Losin' You" isn't pretty. It's just that you're forced to put up with Corey's Hart-on-his-sleeve emotional theatricality. You picture him in the studio, singing with the back of his hand pressed to his forehead, fighting the urge to exclaim "Woe is me" after each line. Fortunately for Hart, because his music and studio craft continue to improve, it becomes easier to overlook his ongoing vocal excesses. (EMI)

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