Picks and Pans Review: Straight to the Sky

UPDATED 05/15/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/15/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

Reading boys the riot act can get a girl a tough reputation, but whoever thought you could make a career out of it? New York singer Lisa Lisa (Lisa Valez) has. The recurring theme in her lyrics runs something like this: I trusted you; you behaved badly and/or stupidly; you're history; you're sure gonna miss me. That's pretty much the message on "U Never Nu How Good U Had It" and "Just Git It Together," the two best songs on Straight to the Sky. Both are lively and smart jams provided by the Brooklyn writing-production-weight-lifting team of Full Force. (Cult Jam is Alex "Spanador" Mosely and Mike Hughes—two guys who jump around behind Lisa Lisa onstage and carry her luggage through airports.)

Full Force provides Lisa with a sassy style that might be termed hip-hop pop, with a few '60s and '70s soul hooks thrown in for sweetening, as on the title track and "Give Me Some of Your Time." As always, the rhythms are street smart, but the percussion tends to get aggressive and stiff at times. The band gets a little too ambitious on "Little Jackie Wants to Be a Star," a silly song-story in the vein of Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City." There's also the obligatory simpy ballad, "Kiss Your Tears Away." Meanwhile Lisa Lisa's voice continues to improve and grow more convincing, even if it is still too fruity at times. The music of Lisa, Lisa and Cult Jam in any case provides a valuable dual purpose for listeners of either sex. Not only can you dance to it, but the ladies get some assertiveness training, while the gentlemen learn how to accept a good—and probably well-deserved—dressing down. (Columbia)

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