Picks and Pans Review: Larger Than Life

updated 05/22/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/22/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jody Watley

Winning the Grammy for Best New Artist doesn't guarantee a distinguished recording career: Has anyone heard from Debby Boone or Men at Work lately? Well, Watley, the most recent winner, is likely to be with us for a while if she continues to put out strong, sassy records like this, her second release. Want to test your reflexes but don't have one of those tiny rubber tomahawks handy? Put on "Real Love." If this pushy little piece of work doesn't have you on your feet doing the funky chicken, it's time to make an appointment with a neurologist. Hear the pulsing percussion of "L.O.V.E.R.," sahib? The natives aren't just restless tonight; they sound downright ferocious. "Everything," a torcher by Gardner Cole and James Newton Howard, compares favorably with vintage-era Diana Ross. "Lifestyle," which echoes Prince with its diminished chord progression, rolls along on a wave of sound so strong you could bodysurf on it. Watley's voice, though limited, has a sultry edge. Andre Cymone has done an admirable job of producing. The music throughout is rich, crisp and clear.

Of course if your tastes don't run on the express track to vibrant contemporary dance music, then don't bother picking Larger than Life out of the New Releases display at the record store. Stroll on over to the remaindered table. There's still plenty of Debby Boone and Men at Work music available. Cheap. (MCA)—D.H.

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