Picks and Pans Review: Undiscovered Soul

updated 03/09/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/09/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

Richie Sambora

Superproducer Don Was won that title by helping rockers of a certain age rediscover their passion. Resurrecting the brilliant careers of Bonnie Raitt and Brian Wilson is one thing; helping a well-known arena rock band's lead guitarist step out on his own proves a bit much even for Was, who demonstrates here that not everything he touches turns to platinum. Like his longtime band leader, Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora has an appealing persona, an inoffensive vocal style and an eager embrace for every cliché in the rock-and-roll thesaurus. Judging from this effort, Sambora's copy is much thumbed. The songs are mostly love and power anthems full of vague imagery and emotion ("Nothing else matters when you're in it for love/ Together we can only go higher"). Also, like Bon Jovi, Sambora makes music that you can't really dance to, although it would be a great accompaniment to swaying back and forth on the floor of a concert hall. He does, however, have someone going for him that Bon Jovi does not: His wife, Heather Locklear, joins a backup chorus on one track. (Mercury)

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