SUMMER ALBUM ROUNDUP : HOT & COOL SUMMER SOUNDS : * * * * <i> Great Balls of Fire</i> * * * <i> Good Vibrations</i> * * <i> Maybe Baby</i> * <i> Running on Empty : </i> : PRINCELING’S POP TARTS
* * “WENDY AND LISA.” Wendy and Lisa. Columbia. Like errant nuns casting off the veil, two of the Purple Princeling’s ladies-in-waiting strike out on their own--and it looks as though they may strike it rich. On their debut LP, guitarist Wendy Melvoin and keyboard player Lisa Coleman, formerly of Prince’s backing group the Revolution, whip up a creamy dream of breezy fusion funk that’s as enjoyable as it is forgettable.
A collection of throw-away pop songs, “Wendy and Lisa” is the ideal sound track for a yuppie dance club. Shimmering with a veneer of glamour, it says absolutely nothing--and after a hard day struggling up the corporate ladder, isn’t that what we’re all in the mood to hear?
Wendy and Lisa have gone solo but they continue to preach their mentor’s manifesto, which basically boils down to “no more war/everything’s groovy/your place or mine?” More often than not their lyrics are deeply stupid. “Stay, stay baby stay/Love me/Don’t go away” is fairly typical.
And yet a few of the songs here work brilliantly. The standout cuts --”Waterfall” and “Honeymoon Express”--whoosh effortlessly along with every hair in place, lipstick perfect. In the tradition of KC & the Sunshine Band, this is first-class trash music.
On the down side we find a bombastic Barry-White-meets-Isaac-Hayes instrumental (wah-wah pedals rule!), a soppy song of thanks written to Prince, and the previously quoted--and hopelessly maudlin--plea for love, “Stay.”
A final note: Before the battery of interviews begins, Wendy and Lisa better get their rap together. Their record company bio finds them spouting a load of pretentious blather that sets them up to be shot down. “I started composing when I was 5,” says Lisa, “and performed my first composition--written in the style of Bach--at age 7,” while Wendy explains that “when I’m feeling melancholy I’ll play a minor 9th with a 13th harmonic.”
They fail to grasp that there’s more to musical genius than an occasional minor chord and, what’s more, that there’s no shame in being pedigreed pop tarts--which is exactly what’s produced at Prince’s musical finishing school (much as his crowd like to tout themselves as “serious” artists). Wendy, Lisa, forget the highbrow blab and go for the gusto.
It's a date
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