Picks and Pans Review: Karma

updated 05/17/1999 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/17/1999 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Rick Springfield (Platinum)

Well, Dan Quayle is running for the White House again, Hollywood's bringing back The Mummy, so why not resurrect the career of '80s soap star and post-teen idol Springfield, now 49? "Resurrect" seems an appropriate word, since Springfield's first studio album in 11 years is so heavily freighted with religious overtones. The songs, all at least cowritten by Springfield, include "Religion of the Heart," "Prayer," "Act of Faith" and "His Last Words," in which Springfield, his brother and his two sons talk, all but inaudibly, about the death of his father. Even the less explicitly reverential tracks are on the heavy side. "The White Room" tells of a woman who knows "all the bottles and pills won't heal her heart." As a singer, Springfield always sounded like a road-company John Mellencamp, and he hasn't improved with age. Although his acting career has gotten a boost from some guest spots on TV's Suddenly Susan, with this album he may be pushing his luck.

Bottom Line: Tepid comeback

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